The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 24, Number 5
Feb 2001

Products & Supplies

I have been collecting information on supplies and products over the past year because the products described seemed interesting. Although we no longer have a Supplies Editor, I decided to publish something on them anyhow, before throwing the ads and information sheets away. -Ed.

1. Dustcloth

Preserve-It™, a "Magnetic" dusting fabric, attracts and holds dust like a magnet without sprays or chemicals. Guaranteed for over 100 washings (mild soap, no bleach). From Modern Solutions, 6370 Copps Ave., Madison, WI 53716 (800/288-2023 or fax 608/222-2704). Three for $12.75 + shipping, & so on up to 48 for $132 + shipping. 17" x 18".

2. Environmental control aids

UV monitors. In January 2000, Alan Miller asked on the Conservation DistList about recommendations for UV monitors, and five people responded. All but one were using models from the 760 series of Littlemore Scientific (ELSEC), and seemed happy with them. The 764 is the latest. It can log data and measure lux, temperature and humidity as well as UV. One person said he used an International Light IL 1400A that is reliable and portable, but requires a separate visible light reading if you want to get a figure for microwatts per lumen.

Data loggers. Last May, four people responded to an appeal for recommendations of data loggers. The first person used three kinds, and liked all of them: Veriteq (Spectrum 2000), ACR (Smartreader Plus 2) and Onset (HOBO Pro Temp/RH). The Onset loggers were seen as preferable because of the sophistication of software, cost and compatibility with a shuttle device that facilitates remote downloading. He also liked the Dickson TM121 for its onboard digital display, which provides the readings without having to download them.

Cornell wanted a web-based datalogger, but couldn't find one on the market, so they asked Pinnacle Technologies to develop one for them. The result was the ezLogger/TRH, which can be checked from any remote computer via the Internet, and which e-mails alarms whenever limits for temperature and relative humidity are exceeded. (It is described on p. 21 of Paper Conservation News for December. For details on this new instrument, call Mrs. Joan M. Brink at Cornell at 607/255-4877.)

The next respondent was impressed with the Onset BoxCar Pro 4.0, which he considered to be a big improvement over the previous version, BoxCar 3.6. He recommended checking out both the Dickson and the Veritec software before making a purchase. They are available through their websites: <> and <>.

The last respondent liked the Hanwell Humbug because the software is much more intuitive and handy. It lets you add the current week's record to that of the year, so that at the end of the year you will not have 52 little one-week records. You can download weekly, but still have a single file for all downloads from that location.

3. Gloves

Ansell Protective Products has a colorful four-page foldout guide to its seven types of gloves, in tabular form, showing how resistant to 46 chemicals they are, and referring to ASTM standards and Sax's Dangerous Properties of Industrial Materials. For more information call 800/800-0444 or fax 800/800/0445.

4. Glue sticks

Jane Down, Senior Conservation Scientist at the Canadian Conservation Institute, replied to a posting last November about glue sticks, saying that CCI does not recommend them for photographs or permanent gluing solutions. It was not any recent research that drew them to conclude this, but observations made in the mid-1990s that labels that had been glued using a glue stick only 10 years earlier peeled off extremely easily, and that photographs glued at the same time lost their gloss where they had the adhesive on the reverse side.

5. Paper and board

Two papers that can be written on even when it is wet ("for use in extreme weather conditions") were described last May on the Cons DistList by Judy Bischoff, conservation scientist at Harpers Ferry, who tested them to see what they were made of. The first, DURARite Waterproof Paper, is a composite of atactic polypropylene and calcite, plus an unidentified additive. The second, "Rite in the Rain," is a cellulose-based polypropylene sheet with a high calcite content; it sheds water but is not waterproof. Both papers are made by J.L. Darling Corp., Tacoma, WA 98424-1017 (253-922-5000; fax 253-922-5300).

A new acrylic coated tan or blue/grey barrier bard for making storage boxes and pamphlet binders was introduced early in 2000 by Metal Edge Inc. The acrylic coating makes boxes and binders clean, dry and attractive even after heavy handling. They are made of lignin-free 60-pt. board with a pH of 8.5 and buffered with 3% calcium carbonate. They also meet the ANSI IT9.2-1998 and ANSI IT9.16-1993 standards.

6. Weights

A DistList request for sources of soft covered weights received four replies, listing these sources and products:

1. Suede-covered weights with "FLAX" on them, from FLAX Art & Design in San Francisco (800/546-7778). (Kate's Papeterie in New York may have them too.)

2. Weight Bags covered with unbleached cotton are available from University Products.

3. Snake-shaped and round suede-covered weights are offered by the New Mexico Industries for the Blind (505/8841-8844).

4. Suede-covered weights used by architects and others to keep rolled-up drawings flat are available at most art supply stores, and certainly at architectural supply stores, like Arche on Jackson Street in San Francisco.

5. Soft covered weight bags up to 4 pounds can be ordered from Metal Edge Company (800/862-2228). They contain copper-coated lead shot, sealed into polyethylene tubing which is then covered with an unbleached, unsized cotton "sock."

7. Zeolite

An Australian conservator posted an inquiry on the DistList about something called "Argelac" (possibly used to absorb moisture) found in cloth bags inside travelling crates. It was answered by two people: a Dutch conservator and an Italian supplier.

The Dutch conservator, who worked at the Mauritshuis in Den Haag, said, "Argelac is indeed a moisture absorbing material. I have no personal experience with it, but know that it is produced in France, by Elf-Atochem.... According to Elf-Atochem, Argelac is sold by Ceca, one of the companies belonging to the Elf Atochem Group.... Their address is: Ceca, Immeuble Iris, 92062 Paris - La Defense Cedex, France. You can e-mail for information: <>."

The Italian, Ercole Gialdi <>, said, "For sure, Argelac is some natural zeolite: They are minerals extensively used in many industrial processes. The sedimentayr zeolites (clinocliptolite, mordenite, chabasite, phillipsite, erionite) are rocks of volcanic origin very common in Italy, USA, Japan. I do not know about Australia. They are aluminosilicates characterized by the property of adsorbing water and humidity (up to 30% in volume). Their cost is very low, less than 0.5 USD per kg. Once saturated they can be easily regenerated in ventilated oven at 250 deg C for 12 hours; then must be stored in a sealed metallic container filled full. There exist also synthetic zeolites (produced by UOP and Union Carbide) that are more efficient than naturals but the process of water adsorption in this case is exothermic."

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