To render paper incombustible.—Pass the paper through a strong solution, of alum, and hang up to dry.
The following, taken from the “English Mechanic,” June 19th, 1874, is, I think, of great use to the professional restorer of old books, and will give the binder an idea of what has to be done sometimes:—
“DECIPHERING BURNT DOCUMENTS.
“M. Rathelot, an officer of the Paris Law Courts, has succeeded in an ingenious manner in transcribing a number of the registers which were burnt during the Commune. These registers had remained so long in the fire that each of them seemed to have become a homogeneous block, more like a slab of charcoal than anything else; and when an attempt was made to detach a leaf it fell away into powder,
“He first cut off the back of the book; he then steeped the book in water, and afterwards exposed it, all wet as it was, to the heat at the mouth of a warming pipe (calorifère). The water as it evaporated raised the leaves one by one, and they could be separated, but with extraordinary precaution. Each sheet was then deciphered and transcribed. The appearance of the pages was very curious—the writing appeared of a dull black, while the paper was of a lustrous black, something like velvet decorations on a black satin ground, so that the entries were not difficult to decipher.”
Insects.—A library has generally three kinds of enemies to be guarded against, viz.: insects, dampness, and rats or mice.
Everyone is supposed to know how to guard against dampness and rats or mice. Several means are known how to keep insects at a distance. The first consists in the
- Blades, in his “Enemies of Books,” includes bookbinders.