Volume 15, Number 1, Jan. 1993, pp.29-32

Technical Exchange

Walter Henry, column editor


The May "Technical Exchange" (WAAC Newsletter, Vol. 14, No. 2) included a notice that the vinyl acetate-ethylene copolymer Elvace 1875 is available in small quantities from the manufacturer, Reichold Chemicals, Inc. It has been erroneously reported (Materials column, AIC News, Vol. 17, No. 6, Nov. 1992) that Elvace 1875 is no longer available from the manufacturer. A telephone call to Reichold confirms that nothing has changed, and the material is still available from Reichold. For more information, get in touch with: Janelle D. Brown Sales Coordinator Sales Service Team Emulsion Polymers Division Reichold Chemicals, Inc. 800 Capitola Drive Durham, NC 27713 800/441-6461 and P.O. Box 13582 Research Triangle Park, NC 27709


Museum Lighting

A new lighting system has been installed in the Romance Gallery of the Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum in Los Angeles. When the museum was designed, all of the galleries used a variety of incandescent fixtures, primarily in tracks. As most conservators and exhibit designers know, that type of lighting turns yellowish when lowered with a rheostat to reduce light levels. Improper color rendition and complaints from visitors that the light levels were too low indicated the need for a new system. Designed by Nouvir Research in Pasadena, the new system provides pure white light with no ultraviolet or infrared. In addition, substantial energy savings are realized. This provided an incentive for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to provide a generous grant for the installation. Make it a point to come by and see this new lighting system.

Robert McGiffin, Conservator
Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum
4700 Heritage Way
Los Angeles, CA 90027
213/667-2000 ext. 215

Filtered Fluorescent Lamps

Verilux UVX series fluorescent lamps filter ultraviolet radiation to 388 nm thereby making a separate filter sleeve unnecessary. The manufacturer claims that lamps operate at lower temperature than a sleeved conventional lamp and will not yellow with age. In addition, the lamps, like others in the Verilux line, are "full spectrum" and should provide good color rendering (the CRI is 88 and the color temperature 5775 degrees). The lamps are coated with Dupont's Surlyn, a material familiar to golfers as the outer cover of golf balls. Low handicappers will be sorry to know that I have not been able to find a source of Balata coated lamps.

Verilux Corporation
626 York Street
Vallejo, CA 94590
fax: 707/554-8370


Wei T'O

Because the Environmental Protection Agency is proposing a ban on chlorofluorocarbons, users of methoxymagnesium methyl carbonate and methoxymagnesium ethyl carbonate may find themselves at a loss, since Freon TF is one of the solvents essential to their use. At this time, no substitute exists. Richard Smith, manufacturer of Wei T'o deacidification products, has asked that people in the library, archives and museum communities write to the EPA suggesting that these materials be exempted from the ban. Those wishing to express their opinions on the matter should address them to:

David Lee
Chief, Stratosphere Ozone Protection Branch
Environmental Protection Agency
401 M St. SW
Washington, DC 20460.
fax: 202/233-9577.

It is interesting to note that the CFC crisis has led at least one non-U.S distributor, Ajax Chemicals, to withdraw from sale methoxymagnesium methyl carbonate solutions, which they are no longer able to obtain from their suppliers.

Vapor Barrier Bags

Bags, Inc. makes bags from a variety of vapor barrier films and will sell to small customers like museums. Manager Jim Hiller wrote to me that Bags, Inc. makes bags from all of the materials listed in the recent WAAC Newsletter feature article "Vapor Barrier Films," by John Burke (Vol. 14, No. 2, May 1992). The films listed in that article were: Bell Fibre's Foil-O-Rap 2176, Film-O-Rap 7750, and Film-O-Rap 3300; also, Ludlow Corporation's Marvelseal 360. The article noted that Ludlow's Marvelseal 1177, which has been reported in other articles, is no longer in production; Hiller states that Bell Fibre's Film-O-Rap 7750 is identical.

Some bags are made in stock sizes, from 2 inches square up to 12 inches square. Bags, Inc. will manufacture any size bag up to 18 ft. by 18 ft. Rolls or sheets of Marvelseal 360 are also available. A 36-inch-wide roll 200 yards long costs $155. They also will sell rolls in 25- to 50-yard lengths. Minimum order is $30. Orders are shipped within 3 days. For more information:

Jim Hiller, Manager
Bags, Inc.
2310 Apollo Circle
Carrollton, Texas 75006
telephone 214/416-3767
fax 214/416-8299

Elizabeth C. Welsh

Commercially Available Pigment Ground In B-72

Quaker Color in Quakertown, Pennsylvania (215/536-3520) makes pigment dispersions. They currently grind about 30 different pigments (from Ciba Geigy, etc.) in Acryloid B-72 using a differential roll mill, aiming for a 7-8 grind (Hegman gage) or about 6.4 microns. This is much finer than pigments can be ground dry. These pigment dispersions are sold as dry chips of pigment in varying percentages of B-72. They are soluble in acetone, however, a few drops of toluene will dissolve them more completely, producing transparencies without flecks of pigment. Quaker Color will send samples and color swatches (contact Charles Dubree). They will also make custom orders using other resins and other pigments. Doug Adams at Conservation Material is currently investigating buying bulk quantities and repackaging for our needs.

Sasha Stollman
Glenn Wharton & Associates, Inc.
549 Hot Springs Road
Santa Barbara, California 93108

Temperature Loggers

Network Wizards offers a low cost temperature monitor/recorder The WizTemp-2. Designed for machine room applications, the unit runs with Unix systems via RS-232 ports at speeds up to 9600 bps. Unlike other data loggers that have been discussed in this column, the unit is meant to be used for active monitoring and can be used to activate alarms when the temperature reaches a dangerous level (very high or low, increasing or decreasing rapidly). Alarms can trigger programs and shell scripts. Reports current or previous day include Low, high, average and last temperatures and graphs can be produced either for the screen or postscript printers.

Using an X-terminal (a Unix workstation running X-windows), the WizTemp-2 can be used for real-time monitoring. The basic cost of the WizTemp-2 is $179, with small additional charges for a power supply (Sun 3's). For more information, get in touch with: Network Wizards

P.O. Box 343
Menlo Park, CA 94026
fax: 415/326-4672

Hobo-Temp miniature temperature loggers is a small, low-cost instrument providing long-term recording for both the Macintosh and IBM PC compatibles running under DOS or Windows. Using a lithium battery that lasts up to 4 years, the unit can record up to 1800 measurements at intervals between 0.5 seconds and 4.8 hours, for a recording time ranging from 15 minutes to 360 days. The recordings are stored in EEPROMs (Electrically Erasable Programmable Memory), a non-volatile storage medium, so that in the event of battery failure, all existing measurements are preserved.

The unit comes in several models, each intended for a particular temperature range. The software, called BoxCar, handles downloading the readings to the micro through the RS232 port (an operation that takes about 20 seconds), and graphing. Graphs can be displayed on the screen (except in the DOS version) or can be printed. Data can also be exported for use in a spreadsheet or database.

The cost of the unit is $99, the software $49, an external thermistor (optional) $18, and a cable $9, making this an attractive package for conservators with tight budgets, especially those who need to monitor multiple locations. If you're wondering what the 'hobo' motif is about the promotional material quotes "Steam Train" Maury thus: "A hobo is a man of the world, who travels to see and observe and then shares those views with others."

Onset Computer Corporation
536 MacArthur Boulevard
Pocasset, MA 02559
fax: 508/563-9477


Integrated Pest Management Consulting

James D. Harmon, of Harmon Preservation Pest Management, has been designated AgriSense Western States Museum Pest Management Advisor. He provides interior and exterior assessments to museums and collections using an integrated pest management approach. AgriSense is a joint venture between subsidiaries of Phillips Petroleum and Dow Corning, specializing in pheromone-based insect control products for agriculture. Three years ago, AgriSense purchased Biological Control Systems, an English company. AgriSense has become interested in providing integrated pest control products and services for museums, and Harmon has been selected to represent them.

James D. Harmon
Harmon Preservation Pest Management
1837 S. Olive Avenue
Alhambra, California 91803

4230 West Swift-Suite 106
Fresno, California 93722

I have no personal experience either with Harmon or with products made by AgriSense, but they can give references to past clients in museums with whom you can discuss their suitability for your situation.

Elizabeth C. Welsh

Polyethylene Cartons

Designed to provide a lightweight, water resistant container for salvage of wet books, Rescube is a carton constructed of high density corrugated polyethylene. The carton, with a capacity of 1 cubic foot, folds flat for storage, can be cleaned and reused, and can be used under extreme temperature conditions (-60° F to +160° F). The carton has double-layer floors with drainage holes. The polyethylene is similar to that used in post office mail trays. The cost of the cartons ranges from $4.40 to 6.30 each, depending on quantity. For more information, get in touch with:

3515 Leland Street
Bethesda, MD 20815
fax: 301/654-6153


"Formaldehyde-Free" Fiberboard

Medite II is a medium density fiberboard (MDF) that is manufactured without adding any formaldehyde. That is, the only formaldehyde in the product is that naturally present in wood. It exceeds European (E-1) and American (HUD 24) standards for low- formaldehyde boards. Formaldehyde emissions are claimed to be lower than ambient outdoor levels in much of the rural U.S. The board is made from a blend of western softwoods. The interior grade is intended for cabinets, furniture etc., and the exterior grade for signs. However, the exterior grade has been used for display cases at the Dallas Museum of Art. Unlike conventional MDF, which is bonded by a ureaformaldehyde resin, Medite II uses a polyurea resin matrix. As a wood product it is acidic (pH approximately 5.5), but less so than many woods commonly used for building display cases.

Medite Corporation
P.O. Box 4040
Medford, OR 97501
fax: 503/779-9921


Software for Library Repair Units

Benchmark is a database package for Library repair units. It offers basic record-keeping facilities for recording treatments as well as reporting, creation of job tickets (work orders), production statistics, and graphing. The package sits on top of PC-File:DB, a shareware database manager so you will need to license that program as well.

Benchmark runs on IBM PC compatibles with 640K ram, a hard disk with 5 Megabytes free and any 80 column printer. For graphics, a graphics adaptor is also necessary. The cost of Benchmark is $395.00, with a 30 day money-back guarantee, and includes 13 months of updates and phone support. The extra month is to insure that clients get support the first time they do year-end processing. The cost of PC-File:DB is $89.95.

Logic Associates
1433 W. Thome
Chicago, IL 6060-1819


Macintosh Software

Being a long-time DOS user, I suspect that may have shortchanged Mac users during my time on the Technical Exchange. Lest my chauvinism go unchecked, here are a few goodies for the Macintosh, all very low-cost.

1.1 Hypercard stacks

1.1.1 Periodic Table of the Chemical Elements, Version 1.3 (1991 Release) and Table of the Isotopes, Version 1.3 are a pair of hypercard stacks written by John Cramer, a physics professor at the University of Washington, Seattle. They are designed to be used together. When you click on an element in the table you get very detailed information about the element including atomic number, atomic weight, density, atomic volume, melting point, boiling point, covalent radius, atomic radius, atomic volume, first ionization potential, electrical conductivity, specific heat, thermal conductivity, heat of fusion, heat of vaporization, electronegativity, crystal structure, shell orbit diagram showing the filling of the electron shells, radioactivity, and information about isotopes.

The isotopes stack (which is called when you click on an isotope in the periodic table stack) contains data on 2,398 stable and radioactive isotopes. The data in the isotope stack was obtained from the National Nuclear Data Center at Brookhaven National Laboratory, which is sponsored by the Office of Energy Research of the U.S. Department of Energy and was current as of November 15, 1989.

1.1.2. Another periodic table is Periodic Table 1.2 HC2.1 (1992). Written by Weber Engineering, this stack displays a somewhat different set of data than the Cramer stack. In addition to most of the information above, it shows relative hardness, linear thermal expansion, modulus of elasticity, tensile strength, and oxidation states. This shareware stack costs $5.50.

1.1.3 Temperature Conversion is a unprepossessing stack that converts between temperature scales (Celsius, Kelvin, Fahrenheit, Rankine). Written by Don Zolinski, this shareware stack costs $5.

1.2 Other Mac software

1.2.1 Probability Calculator, by Michael E. Miller is a useful tool for anyone who does any statistical work. given a value the program will calculate the probability of obtaining a value from a Normal, Student's T, Chi-square, F, or binomial distribution, that is as extreme or more extreme than that value. The program is shareware and costs $5.

1.2.2 MacFormula, written by James E. Deline of the chemistry department of the University of California at Davis, takes a chemical formula and calculates the molecular weight. The program is shareware and costs $5. Registered users can also obtain a Desk Accessory version of the program from its author.

Where to get them:

All of the shareware and freeware programs should available from bulletin boards (BBS's) but it will take some digging to find them. Those on the Internet can obtain them via anonymous ftp from the Macintosh archives at the Macintosh archives at mac.archive.umich.edu.

John Cramer's Periodic Table of the Chemical Elements and Table of the Isotopes stacks:

The Weber Engineering Periodic Table stack:

Temperature Conversion:

Probability Calculator



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