On Nov. 7, 1898, the New York Times reported that an enormous explosion had rocked the Capitol Building. A subterranean room exploded after a gas line had been left open. The damage was extensive. Even on upper stories, windows were blown out. Doors were knocked off their hinges. And water, smoke and fire damaged countless historical documents. One badly hit area: the library of the Supreme Court, where about 20,000 legal volumes were housed. Moreover, the records of the Supreme Court from 1792 to 1832 were rendered completely useless. As the Times reported, “The loss on the library and the records can scarcely be estimated in dollars and cents. A million dollars could not replace them, because many of them have no duplicates in existence.”
Archive for the ‘Restoration’ Category
Document restoration is an art. The historical objects we often hold most precious – documents, manuscripts and paper works of art, for instance – are by their very nature susceptible to damage. For example, consider that in 1998, conservators replaced the 1950s casement previously surrounding the U.S. Constitution. Upon opening the casement, conservators discovered insect damage, flaking ink and pockmarks created by humidity. Only world-leading document conservation experts could be trusted to craft a new casement, restore the flaking ink and properly handle the Constitution throughout the restoration process. It took an artist’s attention to detail and a creative restoration approach to restore and properly display this founding document.
Isn’t it interesting how some relics of popular culture fall out of fashion, while others enjoy continued popularity among retro enthusiasts? Old 8-track tapes, for instance, are basically worthless, while vinyl record collections can retain their value for decades. Vinyl LPs can even gain value as time goes by – assuming, of course, they’re in good condition. Our experience providing disaster recovery services has turned up many examples of mildew- and mold damaged records. Left long enough, mildew and mold can render a vinyl record totally unplayable. However, if your mold damaged records aren’t too dirty to salvage, you can follow the instructions below to restore them to their previous vinyl glory. (more…)
Over the last few years, flooding has increased enough to spur scientists in the Northeast and elsewhere to ask if this paradigm is the “new normal.” Government officials, engineers and insurance companies are vested in this query, as its answer determines how they will need carry out their duties. Moreover, residents of zones that were previously considered dry havens are now advised to purchase flood insurance. And, of course, businesses are struggling with how to protect their assets, including crucial documents, from flooding
When it comes to deciding how to dry wet documents, vacuum freeze drying is the best recognized method in the restoration industry. A vacuum freeze drying chamber blast freezes wet documents to a temperature of 0 to -20 degrees Fahrenheit, then uses precise temperature and pressure control to vaporize the ice, bypassing the melting stage. A high-tech sensor monitors the rate of weight reduction within the chamber to signal when the drying process is complete and prevent secondary damage from over-drying.