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Subject: Ball-point pen ink on canvas sneakers

Ball-point pen ink on canvas sneakers

From: Clint Fountain <cfountain<-a>
Date: Friday, May 16, 2008
A professor at the local university called to ask about a pair of
canvas basketball sneakers that were signed around 36 years ago in
blue ballpoint pen by a member of the Boston Celtics team (before
Larry Bird).  He has noticed that the signature on the canvas, never
very dark, appears to be fading or is at least not as dark as he
remembers. The sneakers have never been in any sort of protective
case, they just sat around in the open in various offices, usually
under fluorescent lighting.  He wanted to know if there was anything
that could be be done to "restore" the signature to more legibility.

>From what I have read, ballpoint pen ink from the 1970s was
oil-based, finely divided particles, not water-based dyes; I don't
recalI reading that it was particularly prone to fading. I don't
know the composition of the canvas (cotton, hemp, jute, synthetic,
blend), but I mentioned to him the possibility that the canvas had
darkened as well.  I can't think of any treatment to lighten
yellowed canvas that would not risk the signature.  I suggested that
he have a display case made that blocks UV.

In fact, I'm not sure why I'm writing, except that he asked me to
try. Any ideas?

Clint Fountain
The Museum of Florida History
Tallahassee, Florida


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Received on Friday, 16 May, 2008

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