Posted by: kbenoy | October 17, 2012

Reynolds – Articles of Partnership: Conservation #2

In my post last week, I explained the preliminary work that had been carried out on the Articles of Partnership document for Messrs Reynolds trading as R Chambers & Co. In this post I am going to explain how Jon Everall, the Conservator at Wolverhampton City Archives, has treated this document to make it more stable.

The paper had been stored in damp conditions before coming to the Archives and was too delicate to be used. Jon decided to use a technique called sizing to replace some of the gelatine in the paper that had been lost. The pages of the document were separated and laid out on plastic sheets before being sprayed with a gelatine solution.

The pages were left to dry and absorb the gelatine, which helps to strengthen the structure of the paper, before being turned over and sprayed with the solution on the reverse side.

Once the pages had dried and absorbed the gelatine solution they were less fluffy and soft and could be carefully handled. The gelatine gave the paper more substance and made it slightly more durable.

At this point Jon took the sheets and encapsulated them individually in polyester. Encapsulation is not the same as laminating as the polyester sheets are not adhered to the document but sealed around the edges. The polyester can be removed at any time by carefully removing the sealed edges, allowing the document to be removed fully intact. Encapsulation protects the document while it is being handled and stored and prevents further deterioration.

Next week I am going to explain how we have made this delicate document available to public by creating a surrogate.

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