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Re: Combustion temp of leather and vellum

Further to Peter's enquiry yesterday and to Jack's response, the following
may be of interest.

The shrinkage temperature test is a test which checks for hydrothermal
stability and therefore requires the presence of excess water (and
occasionally added glycerine) for it to be carried out.  A high shrinkage
temperature is one of the parameters demanded of a good archival leather.
However, the shrinkage temperature of a particular leather does not have any
bearing on the combustion temperature of the same leather.  So for example,
a leather which combusts at a relatively high temperature may have a
relatively low shrinkage temperature.

As a general rule though, leather has a remarkable resistance to fire
damage. A few years ago there was a serious fire at Lennox Love House, a
Stately home near Edinburgh, UK,.  A chair in the main hall had caught
alight and by the time the fire brigade arrived the paintings on the walls
had all spontaneously combusted and the wood had turned to charcoal.  The
leather covered wall panels, although badly scorched, survived with very
little damage to the structure of the leather.

kind regards,


David Lanning
J. Hewit & Sons Ltd.
Tel: +44 (0)20 8965 5377
Fax: +44 (0)20 8453 0414

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