The archives received two very useful tools for preservation last week. The first is a brand new, beautiful Frigidaire upright freezer. You might wonder why an archives would be excited about purchasing a freezer. Besides our love of Frigidaire’s history in Dayton (see the Frigidaire Historical Collection MS-262, and the Frigidaire TOM (Tired Old Men) Club Records MS-406), a freezer provides us a chamber in which we can virtually arrest deterioration in certain archival materials. In short, cold temperatures can prolong the life of most archival materials. The lower the temperature, the slower the chemical reactions that result in deterioration. Silent cellulose acetate film, otherwise known as SAFETY film, is a great candidate for freezing.
If you have ever opened a can or box of film, and caught a whiff of vinegar, you smelled the deterioration of acetate film. A new reel of film stored at 70° F and 40% relative humidity will take approximately 50 years before the onset of vinegar syndrome. If that same reel of film is stored at 35° F and the same relative humidity, the onset of vinegar syndrome will be dramatically delayed to approximately 700 years. That is why we are so excited about the freezer!
The second tool we received is a MEASUREpHASE book measuring device. The MEASUREpHASE enables us to accurately measure the dimensions of a book when making custom box enclosures. It not only makes measuring a faster and more fun part of the box-making process, it ensures accuracy, which can make for a much better box fit.
It is always fun to get new equipment that helps us do our jobs more effectively and efficiently.