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Subject: Handling materials on television

Handling materials on television

From: Jim Moss <clkmkr>
Date: Tuesday, July 8, 2003
Several suggestions were recently passed on the list about the
potential damage that could occur when handling bound books with
cotton gloves. Many of the solutions suggested that washing and
drying ones hands prior to handling with bare hands would solve the
problem. I, however, disagree with this particular solution because
people tend to perspire at different rates and exude different
amounts and types of chemicals depending upon the levels of stress
being perceived by the handler, the surroundings, and by their own
body chemistry and makeup. So, even if one washes and dries ones
hands, the object (books as well as all other objects) still may not
be protected from damage and the damage could well be severe
dependent upon the rate of and the chemical composition of a
particular individual's perspiration. Perspiration is not stopped by
washing and drying: it looks good to the observer but it is an
ineffective protection.

If one translates a long term time factor into this exercise (say
2000 years), then even microscopic amounts of contamination could
cause serious damage to most objects over the long term.

I am a firm believer in an impregnable barrier: so my suggestion
would be to wear Latex or Nitrile or Vinyl gloves (fairly tight
fitting): their smooth surface will not catch on protrusions, they
should have less ability to pick up and retain abrasives and they
will certainly be a barrier to a person's perspiration.

No to Cotton!
Yes to protective gloves!
And *yes* to serious testing of all glove types to determine their
"Protection" quotient(see Will Jeffers comments in 17:10).

And, *yes*, the media needs to be educated about the methods used to
protect of historical objects and the reasons why these methods are
used. In turn, the media will, hopefully, be willing to use this
information to educate their public.

Jim Moss
Horological Conservator

                  Conservation DistList Instance 17:11
                  Distributed: Tuesday, July 15, 2003
                       Message Id: cdl-17-11-007
Received on Tuesday, 8 July, 2003

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