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Re: arsclist Deterioration of Acetate TAPES and FILM

In a message dated 07/09/2001 4:41:40 PM Eastern Daylight Time, 
sgreen@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx writes:

>  I was just going to add that the most serious (or maybe just the most 
> obvious) cases of audio vinegar syndrome I've encountered were also with 
> Kodak brand acetate tape. It's usually just been the odd reel here and 
> showing up in collections of primarily other brands, which may be why it 
> memorable. Will be curious to learn if other list members have found Kodak 
> particularly noticeable in this regard.  
I worked for Kodak in the mid '60s so used and have a lot of Kodak tape. It 
had an incredible number of problems from the user's point of view so 
fortunately little was used, relative to the major brands.

It smelled strongly of acetic acid when new.  Everything at Kodak Park did!

About two years ago I opened a virgin reel of Kodak 21A12 (1mil. Durol) that 
had been sealed in its poly bag since manufacture.  It was as if I had 
spilled a bottle of vinegar in the room.  However the physical properties of 
the tape were the same as I remembered them from 30 years before.  I recorded 
some unimportant material on it (music service transcriptions) and returned 
it to the cardboard box without the bag in an unconditioned upstairs room 
(upstate NY).

I just pulled that tape.  It still has a moderate acetic smell and enough 
edge curl to be noticeable.  Quarter track playback on a Sony TC-353D of the 
original half-track 3-3/4"/s. recording is impossible because of the edge 
curl.  On a Technics 1506 half-track head the level variation is definitely 
noticeable at the start.  By about 1/4 into the reel it improved 
considerably.  I suspect that playback on the Ampex PR-10 it was recorded on 
might be acceptable because of the high tape tension.  A machine that uses 
head pressure pads would probably have no problems either. 

I found another elderly looking Kodak reel of 31A (1-1/2 mil).  The 1/4 track 
7-1/2 inch recording on it played well on the Technics, considering that it 
had been scatter wound.  However the yellow Kodak leader had turned into a 
swizzle stick! That reel too had a very faint acid smell.

I spot checked some other brands of tape I have had on the shelf since the 
mid '50s, Scotch, Audiotape, Knight, and can detect no acetic acid smell. 

Mike Csontos

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