acid transfer in paper

Posted 28 January, 2009 13:04 by Karla Baker

One of the problems with paper is the tendency for acid to transfer from one sheet to another. The images show a map printed on thin white paper that has been stained by acid transfer. The map was attached to a page that was bound in ‘direct-contact’ with the endboards of a volume. Usually, volumes have endpapers to act as a barrier between the endboards and the first folios of the text block. If the endboards are acid-laden, then over time, the acid can ‘migrate’ to the less acidic papers bound in the volume.

The map was folded over on one corner and the resultant staining from acid-transfer shows the damage that can occur. Too much acid can embrittle paper, and though acid can be removed in solution baths, it is a slow process.

(reference: NLS, Map Library, Bartholomew Print Record, Volume 61, 1921, folio 1)

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