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Re: [ARSCLIST] humidification treatment for acetate tape (was Re: [ARSCLIST] old acetate tapes - curling/tape tension remedies?)
jeez Richard, have you ever done that? I feel safer with the old gauze-in-the-head-can trick. Yes,
it wears extra-heavy on the head but it's OK for the occasional reel on a properly-aligned and
polished head. I dunno if I'd try this trick with anyone else's tape, or for that matter any of my
old curled tapes that are of value to me. But then I was very skeptical about baking until I finally
worked up the nerve to try it with something that I cared about but couldn't play and lo and behold
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Richard L. Hess" <arclists@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Tuesday, June 06, 2006 11:11 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] humidification treatment for acetate tape (was Re: [ARSCLIST] old acetate
tapes - curling/tape tension remedies?)
I think this is the post you MIGHT be looking for. I have some more acetate-based Magnetophonband
up for treatment - most in FAR worse condition than the one I treated.
I would be very curious to hear Steve's approach.
Date: Thu, 6 Oct 2005 14:37:35 -0400
From: "Richard L. Hess" <ArcLists@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] old acetate tapes - curling/tape tension remedies?
At 11:37 AM 10/6/2005, dave n wrote:
Hello all -
I'm looking for information about how anyone here on the arsc-list has handled and transferred old
acetate tapes that have begun to curl?
Friedrich Engel, the retired BASF historian, gave me a present in a phone conversation (yes, to
Germany, his English was far better than my German). You can re-hydrate acetate tapes.
The procedure I used, based on discussions with Engel, was to place the tape in a 100% humidity
atmosphere for about 24 hours.
The subject in question was a 1935 Carbonyl Iron tape from the Jack Mullin collection. Too bad,
there were only a few tones on it, but it played.
When I first got it, it behaved much like a carpenter's steel tape measure and you could hold a
foot or more of it extended. After the treatment, it felt like a satin ribbon.
I placed the tape in an open container inside a sealed container. The sealed container had about
an inch of water in the bottom. The tape was up on spacers in the open container. This was room
I tried this again with a tape that spent several years behind a woodstove and it did soften it a
bit, but the tape was too blocked (adhered layer to layer by edge melting) and too fragile to play
either before or after this treatment, although the fragile pieces were much softer even after
I would suggest trying this with one reel that is not as important to get the "feel" of the
If it works, thank Herr Engel, if it doesn't please let us know here and let us know your
I would think this is safer than trying to force the tape into contact by either tension or
I make no warranties as to the long-term effects of this treatment.
Richard L. Hess email: richard@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Aurora, Ontario, Canada (905) 713 6733 1-877-TAPE-FIX
Detailed contact information: http://www.richardhess.com/tape/contact.htm
Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.