The Alkaline Paper Advocate

Volume 1, Number 3
May 1988


Preservation Officers Tour Glatfelter

On March 15, a group of interested people from Washington, DC, had a field trip to the P. H. Glatfelter Co. mill in Spring Grove, Pennsylvania. The day-long visit included a mill tour and some good informative sessions in the board room, as well as introductions to the top officers. The group included Pat Battin and Peter Winterble (Commission on Preservation and Access), Linda Nainis (Georgetown University Law Library; she was one of the authors of the "Why GPO..." article in the March issue), Margaret Child (Smithsonian Institution Libraries), Margaret Byrnes (National Library of Medicine), and Lee Jones (Mid-Atlantic Preservation Service, a large preservation microfilming facility). Most of them get this Newsletter.

Spring Grove was one of the first fine paper mills in the country to convert to alkaline papermaking.

Art Librarians Endorse Permanent/Durable Paper

The Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA) met in February and passed the following motion:

... That ARLIS/NA endorse the use of permanent/durable paper in art publications, including those by ARLIS/NA, that we applaud those publishers now using this paper, and that we encourage the others to actively pursue the use of permanent/durable paper in their publications.

Fire At Appleton's Roaring Spring Mill

A brief announcement over public radio May 7 said that "toxic fumes had forced police to evacuate the town of Roaring Spring, Pennsylvania, overnight," because of a fire in a paper mill. Appleton's is the only mill in town, making carbonless paper. A company spokesman said May 10 that the mill was up and running the following day, so it was not a very serious fire.

Appleton's three mills (Roaring Spring; Combined Locks, Wisconsin; and West Carrollton, Ohio) are all alkaline mills, but they make carbonless (NCR) paper, which is not a fine paper, so they are not in the list of alkaline mills. Appleton also sells two book paper lines and a large number of cover paper lines, all coated; but they do not make the base stock themselves, and when they buy it, alkalinity is not one of the specifications.

Non-Permanent "Permanent" Paper

All is not gold that glitters. A letter received last mouth and written on "Permanized Artesian Bond, 50% Cotton Fiber" tested acidic with chlorophenol red. Timeless Bond, produced for Dixon Paper Company in Salt Lake City for permanent records, is sometimes acidic and sometimes alkaline; and checks that dissolve three or four hours after they are deposited were used in a scam in at least two states in March. Newspapers carried the dissolving check story on or around March 27. The AP story in the Deseret News said, "In most cases, someone opens a new account at a bank with a small amount of money and later makes a large deposit with a dissolving check. Then the money is withdrawn before the bank learns the big check was bogus. The check's decomposition leaves little for evidence.... The scan has cost banks about $70,000...."

Myth And Rumor Control Department

Outside the paper industry, one frequently encounters the belief that conversion to alkaline papermaking involves buying a new paper machine, "retooling," or shutting down for extended periods of time. International Paper's Ticonderoga mill was said by someone to have shut down for two weeks when it converted to alkaline. The Editor asked someone who was there at the time if this was true, and he said no; it was only 12 hours. The only modifications to the equipment that were necessary were minor ones, to make tie-ins for the carbonate and the size. That was in November 1986.

Ticonderoga is International Paper's first and (so far) only alkaline mill in the Northeastern U.S. Others in the IP complex that converted earlier are Ward and Grays Harbor.

Calcium Carbonate: Who's Making Their Own

An informal poll of four informed people has turned up the names of five paper mills with on-site precipitated calcium carbonate plants, and the names of four more that will be in operation by next year this time. Existing plants are:

International Paper at Ticonderoga, New York
Consolidated at Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin
Ecusta at Pisgah Forest, North Carolina
Finch Pruyn at Glens Falls, New York
Champion at Hamilton, OH (for coating only; this is not an alkaline mill)

Pfizer, Inc., has four more planned for the next six months: Mead at Chillicothe, Ohio (by Aug. 15); Potlatch/Northwest at Cloquet, Minnesota (by June 15); mill at Erie, Pa. (by May 16, 1988); and Hammermill at Lock Haven, Pa. (by late November). And at least four more are planned for next year.

According to Jim Matters of Pfizer, on-site plants offer several advantages over buying calcium carbonate from suppliers, whether ground or precipitated is bought: They eliminate transportation costs (30% of the total) and cost of drying the carbonate before use (10% of the total), provide an assured supply, and maximize product flexibility (i.e., you can make whatever type of carbonate you want for different purposes). Waste carbon dioxide from the mill's operations is used as one of the raw materials.

The Search For Alkaline Computer Paper

It is important to use permanent paper for some computer printouts, because they will become part of permanent collections in libraries and archives; but since they will not be chosen for these collections until after they are printed, it is best to use alkaline computer paper for all purposes. There is a problem, though: it is not on the market, except at prices three or more times higher than normal, from mail-order and specialty suppliers. Several mills make paper suited for this purpose, but it loses its identity entirely when it goes through the converter retailer channel to the customer, assuming it does go through this channel. Perhaps only the high-priced paper is making it through. At any rate, a mail-order supplier (not listed with the rest in this issue) is working an this problem, and may be ready to announce a solution by the time the next issue of this newsletter comes out.

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