Samstag, 29. Dezember 2012

Compact Cassette

Ueber dieses Utensil haben wir auch schon mehrmals sinniert... klar gibt es schon eine ganze Generation, die NIE mit der Tatsache zu tun hatte, das gerade das Lieblingstonband vom Autocassetteplayer verwurstelt wurde, neiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiin, es gab damals keine Backups, keine USBs etc... alles Futsch, wääääääää... habe das selber oft erlebt, das war immer ein übles Gefühl, weil es ja meist nur bei SEHR WICHTIGEN Tapes passierte.... der berühmte Tonbandsalat. Nun denn, als wir seinerzeit bei der Galerie Apropos Mail Art gemacht haben, da hatten die benamsten Künstler wie Just, Manon, Schill, Gaglione, Silver ihre Postkarten schon draussen, da kam dann noch Tape Art dazu... da habe ich heftig mitgemischelt, obwohl nur lokal in der Schweiz. Hier ein später Vertreter

Multiple édité par Astérides en 10 exemplaires numérotés et signés dont 2 épreuves d’artiste, cassettes d'occasions et mémoire flash,11,5 x 6,5 x 1,3 cm dans coffret plastique 14 x 3 x 3,5 cm, 2008. En collaboration avec Bertrand Planes.

Sur la cassette, face A : Adieu à DieuNon Non NonLittle Honda(vidéoclips) et face B Pour les prochaines vacancesLa petite vieille la plus gentille du Mondeet Les Mains Sales (chansons), l'ensemble par Elvire et Séverin.

Wahnsinn, wenn man bedenkt dass dieses Viech bereits 1963 von Philips entwurzelt wurde... und das DOLBY bereits 1968, ich glaub es nidd. Hier sozusagen der erste Wustelplayer ein EL3302

hier etwas Nostalgie... geilo, ahhh ich erinnere mich, hatte diese Endlesskassetten von Sony, 30 Sekunden, 1 Minute, bis max 6 Minuten, wo ich laaaang vor dem CD Endless-A-B Play meine most favourite Moments verewigte... da hatte es üble Sachen drauf.. erinner mich grad an mein 2 Minuten Tape auf dem Anrufbeantworter in Genf, wo ich - zum grossen Aerger aller Leute die anriefen und etwas sagen wollten - nur die Abspielfunktion hatte, ohne Antwortmöglichkeit... und der Herr himself sang "Ich bin nicht dahahahaha, ich bin nicht da-ha-ha-ha... etc zum Marsch von Mozart aus Cosi fan Tutte... übelst
hier kann jeder selber nachlesen was war und was nie mehr sein wird:


The Compact Cassette is a plastic case containing a spool of 3.81 mm magnetic tape spooled between two reels. The tape is run at a rate of 4.76 cm/second. A tape head in the tape player or deck, in contact with an exposed portion of the tape, interprets an analog signal from the tape's magnetic surface.

The dawn of magnetic recording (1878-1930)

~1878Oberlin Smith (Mechanical engineer) develops a theory of magnetic recording after a visit to Edison's lab.
1888The Electrical World publishes Smith's "Some Possible Forms of Phonograph" September 8. The paper describes a machine with an electromagnet and a string covered with iron filings.
1898Valdemar Poulsen discovered the magnetic recording principle while working as a mechanic in the Copenhagen Telegraph Company (1894). In 1898 he patented the telegraphone, the first successful magnetic recording device (USF patent 661,619)
When Poulsen's patent expired in 1918, Germany led efforts to improved magnetic recording. Between 1920 and 1945 series of machines using wire and steel tape were developed (Germany, UK and Japan).

Magnetic recording on tape (1930-58)

1928Fritz Pfleumer is granted a patent for applying magnetic powder to film or paper strips. (In 1936 the German National Court declares that Pfleumer's patent was covered in Poulsen's original patents of 1898 and 1899.)
1930Allgemeine Elektrizitatsgesellschaft (AEG) in Berlin decided to develope a magnetophone machine.
1935AEG presents Magnetophon K1 and Magnetophonband Type C at the Berlin exhibition in Summer 1935. The machine created instant sensation.
Magnetophone K1
1935BASF developes first tape for AEG Magnetophon: "The tape consisted of a foil of cellulose acetate as carrier material, coated with a lacquer of iron oxide (carbonyl iron: light-gray, metallic pure iron) as magnetic pigment and cellulose acetate as binder".
Magnetophone C1 tape
1936BASF replaces Carbonyl Iron with Magnetite Fe3O4 (black, cubicular iron oxide).
1936The first public recording using the AEG Magnetophon was held on Nov. 19, 1936. The London Philharmonic orchestra conducted by Sir Thomas Beecham played at BASF's own concert hall in Ludwigshaven.
1939BASF researchers had advanced the tape quality far beyond its 1936 debut. In summer of 1938 BASF introduced the gamma ferric oxide tape, γ-Fe2O3, with red iron oxide particles, a formula dating back to a 1935 BASF patent. It was not until thirty years later, in 1971 with chromium dioxide tape, that anything fundamentally better would replace it. The γ-Fe2O3 magnetic particles were considerably smaller than the original Fe3O4 formulation, which resisted erasing by the permanent magnet erase heads then in use. With DC-bias AEG Magnetophons, the new tape achieved a signal-to-noise ratio of little more than 40 dB and a frequency response remaining 50 Hz to 5 kHz.
1940AC bias is discovered. Reichs-Rundfunkgesellschaft (RRG) engineer Walter Weber discovered the AC-bias application through a combination of systematic research and a bit of luck. Patent DE 743 411. With new tape and AC Bias AEG Magnetophon had achieved 60 dB dynamic range and a frequency response of 50 Hz to 10 kHz.
1943BASF produced Tape LG (γ-Fe3O4 on a plastic base film)
1945German patent rights on the technology are seized by the U.S. Alien Property Custodian
1946Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing ( later 3M Corp. ) introduces Scotch No. 100, a black oxide paper tape.
Scotch 100 tape
1947Bing Crosby agree to audition tape recorders brought in by Jack Mullin and Richard Ranger record Crosby's Philco radio show. Bing Crosby was a big proponent of tape recording. He did not like having to perform his radio broadcasts twice a day, once for the East Coast of the United States and again a few hours later for the West Coast. He figured that if it were recorded (and edited to remove any bloopers or to add different advertisers), he could perform just once.
1947Ampex corporation, using Armour Research Foundation and German expertise and designs, produces its first professional tape recorder, the Model 200
1947Scotch types 111 and 112 acetate-base tapes are introduced.
Scotch 111 boxScotch 111 tape
1953BASF launched its famous LGS tape series.
1957Stereo recording comes of age.
1961BASF launched PES-18 tape.
BASF PES-18 tape
19623M introduces Scotch 201/202 "Dynarange," a black oxide low-noise mastering tape with a 4 dB improvement in s/n ratio over Scotch 111.
The marketing in USA and Europe had learned that home tape recording was a very attractive function for consumers, but that reel-to-reel would never exceed the very limited market of those who have technical skills. Consequently, from around the mid 1950s trials to get the tape in one or another case started (Tefi cassette for Tefifon in 1955, Dictet cassette for Dictaphone in 1957, Saba cassette for Sabamobile in 1958). Below we present the most successful attempts.

Cartridges and Cassettes (1958-65)

Launch of tape cartridges by RCA spurred companies worldwide into developing tape cartridges, cassettes and "magazine tapes" under various names and based on different standards. The common feature of these products was, unlike manually threaded reel-to-reel systems, simply inserting the encased tape into a tape player and pressing a button could operate the new systems. People without technical backgrounds could operate it very easily. Naturally, the machine itself could also be miniaturized.
1958RCA cartridge. It was the first attempt to put reel-to-reel tape in cartridge form. Dimensions: 5 x 7 1/8 x 1/2 inches (127 x 197 x 13 mm). The cartridges were reversible and either side could be played. Tape speed was either 3.75 ips resulting in 30 minutes of audio on 0.25 inch tape or 1 7/8 ips selected by a small lever. RCA Records made an early attempt at making this a popular pre-recorded music format. However it turned out to be a major "Flop" in that regard. Cartridges would have prices ranging from $4.95 for a 20 minute tape to $9.95 for an hour RCA was slow to produce machines for the home market and to license recorded music, and the format disappeared from the market by 1964.
RCA cartridge player RCA cartridge
1959Fidelipac (NAB cartridge). Introduced in 1959 by Collins Radio at the 1959 NAB Convention. The cart tape format was designed for use by radio broadcasters to play commercials, bumpers and announcements. It will be used until the late 1990s and is on the direct path to the first popular consumer tape format. It was originally a 1/4-inch-wide (6.4 mm) audio recording tape, two-track format at 7.5 ips. Fidelipac cartridge was later adapted by Earl "Madman" Muntz in 1962 for hisStereo-Pak cartridge system (run at 3.75 ips). Muntz also sold a library of 3000 titles licensed from 40 record companies. In the 1960s, Muntz sold about half of the 700,000 Fidelipac-type players.
fidelipac cartridge playerfidelipac cartridge
1963Compact Cassette Philips introduced a prototype in Europe in August 1963 (at the Berlin Radio Show). Philips cassette was 1/4 the size of the Fidelipac or Lear cartridge, making possible small battery-powered versatile players that could be carried anywhere. It had a reversible housing with maximum tape protection allowing 30 or 45 minutes of stereo music per side. Tape speed: 1 7/8 ips (=4.76cm/s). Tape width: 0.15inch (=3.81mm). In US Philips was using the name NORELCO. Below is the picture of the first cassette player (EL 3300) and the first cassette (it had BASF PES-18 tape inside).
First Philips recorder and tape
1965DC International. In 1965 during Berlin Exhibition Grundig together with Telefunken and Blaupunkt introduced "DC-International" cassette. The cassette was available in 2x 45 or 2x 90 minutes and run at 5.08cm/s, allowing a 40Hz to 10Khz frequency response. The first recorder was Grundig C 100 L.
Grunding CD International recorder
19658-track. (known also as STEREO 8 and Lear Jet). The cartridge was designed by Lear Jet Corporation in 1964 (by Ralph Miller while working under Bill Lear) for the Ford new car models of 1965, with a tape library provided by RCA Victor. The major change to Fidelipac was to incorporate a neoprene rubber and nylon pinch roller into the cartridge itself, rather than to make the pinch roller a part of the tape player, reducing mechanical complexity. It used only one single reel containing a continuous endless loop of recording tape specifically prepared so that the tape were able to slip out from its inner round of the tape spool. Tape speed: 3.75 ips. Tape width: 0.25 in.
8-track recorder8-track tape

The King emerge: Compact Cassette

The rather stiff license fees demanded by the creators were the reasons why Philips and Grundig decided to jointly develop a "Euro" cartridge system. The cooperation did not last long and Philips introduced a prototype in Europe in August 1963 (at the Berlin Radio Show). Scarcely any product has drawn more attention of Japanese industry visitors then the Philips cassette. No doubt it was the most photographed product of that event.
When the cassette was developed there were only three tapes in the world which enabled Philips to get it right, 3M's low-noise cartridge tape, KODAK's triple-play tape P 300 and BASF's PES-18. Of these only BASF tape was perfectly balanced in all its properties, in particular also the mechanical characteristics. Consequently, BASF had the honor to make the very first tapes for the compact cassette.
Grundig was preparing war against the Philips compact cassettes. In 1965 during Berlin Exhibition together with Telefunken and Blaupunkt they introduced "DC-International" cassette system and planned not to ask any license fees. Philips wanted the common license fee for hardware, nothing for music cassettes.
One day in September 1963, at the opening of the Berlin IFA Exhibition, Fredrich Lachner of the German company Grundig proposed to Ohga that the two companies cooperate in developing a DC International Standard for cassette tapes, a standard conceived by three German manufacturers. While Ohga considered this possibility, another proposal came from Wisse Dekker, manager of the Philips Electronics Far East Division and later president, and L.F. Ottens, a technical expert also from Philips. They came to Japan and proposed the co-development of the compact cassette to Ohga. Philips had already developed a compact cassette in 1963. The advantages of both the Grundig and Philips formats were weighed and considered. In the end, Ohga chose the Philips compact cassette because of its smaller size.
A problem over royalties arose during the contract stage. Philips initially suggested that it receive a payment of 25 yen for each unit sold by companies in Japan. Ohga thought this was excessive and did not agree to it. A few days later, Philips showed some flexibility and asked for 6 yen per unit, a figure it said other companies had agreed to. Masanobu Tada, Operations Division manager, recommended that Sony accept the offer, but Ohga still refused, insisting that unless Philips waived royalties altogether, Sony would collaborate with Grundig. Finally, Philips agreed to waive royalties, but did not give Sony exclusive rights to the technology. In 1965, based on a patent that guaranteed compatibility, Philips made the technology available free of charge to manufacturers all over the world.
During first two years everybody has its own name. Sometimes cartridge, sometimes cassette. A uniform name was necessary. The result is well known. Since 1965 the cassette carries the name compact cassette.

The reign: Compact Cassette (1965-90)

The Compact Cassette format initially offered fairly poor fidelity and was marketed for voice recording and dictation. Technology improved quickly, and advances in noise reduction technology, its ability to play stereo tapes, and new tape formulations soon assured high-quality sound from the compact format. Here we present the milestones in Compact Cassette development:
1963First Compact Cassette. It was loaded with BASF PES-18 tape.First Philips Compact Cassette
1968TDK SD. First cassette marketed for Hi-Fi market. TDK Super Dynamic.
First Hi-Fi cassette. TDK
1968First C120.
1970Dolby B reduction system Based on professional Dolby A. Used a single-channel approach and a viariable high-pass filter controlled by the level in a differential signal path. Dolby B reduced tape signal-to-noise by 9-10 dB.
1970DUPONT 'Crolyn' CrO2 tape DuPont invented chromium dioxide, and BASF licensed the technology from DuPont and brought the oxide to its greatest stages of development. Sony got an exclusive right to distribute the pigment in Japan
1971Advent Model 201 It was was the first "hi-fi" cassette recorder. It combined Dolby type B noise reduction and chromium dioxide (CrO2) tape, with a commercial-grade tape transport mechanism. This resulted in the format being taken more seriously for musical use, and started the era of high fidelity cassettes and players.
Advent 201 Cassette Recorder
1971Equalization of chromium dioxide (CrO2) tape set 70 μs by the DIN committe. The only reason for different equalization was to reduce noise by 4.5 dB - but that came with the cost of reducing SOL. It took more then 10 years to partialy revert that decision. Chrome tapes at 120 μs equalization was used by A & M Records to release high quality recored albums (The first release was Supertramp’s “Famous Last Words” in 1982. The follow up release was the Police’s “Synchronicity,” a huge hit world-wide. )
1972SCOTCH High Energy Cobalt dotted cassette
Scotch High Energy Tape Scotch High Energy Tape Add
1972First C180. TDK C-180LN
First C180. TDK
1972TEAC A450
1973MO 2228 pigment of Pfizer. Produces new generation of Ferric tapes (AGFA, AMPEX, BASF, MEMOREX). Japanese companies did not follow that path and that created chaos - we have "normal bias" and "high bias" setting for type I tapes.
1973Nakamichi 1000
Nakamichi 1000 cassette deck
1975Sony Ferrichrome. Sony developes double layer Ferrichrome tape (thiner chrome coat lie on a top of gamma ferric pigment). Since SONY had exclusive right to chrome pigment in Japan. Maxell, TDK and FUJI decided to purse other possibilities to replace chrome pigment with cobalt dotted ferric. It took Japanese chemists to fix the cobalt ions to the outside crystalline structure (epitaxial) or within the structure (adsorptive Avilyn) to stabilize the pigment and get away from having to pay Sony for American oxide. As a result TDK develops AVILYN, Maxell developes EPITAXIAL and FUJI develops BERIDOX. Also TDK, Maxell and FUJI are not able to produce FerriChrome tapes.
1978Scotch Metafine. Metal tape is produced by coating a plastic film with metal powder (MP tape). MP tape needs a new heads made from the magnetic material which will not saturate with its own flux before the tape records the signal. Only amorphous metal or Sedust alloy could cope. Matsushita makes a ME metal tape by evaporating metal in a vacuum so that a vapour deposits itself on the plastic film. ME proved to be difficult and expensive to mass-produce.
1978IEC type I,II,III and IV classification was approved. BASF made two IEC I reference tapes. The first was a former DIN tape adopted by the IEC, and it was superseded by a better ferric oxide formula later on. There were three IEC II reference tapes: 1) was a former DIN chrome; 2) the second was a significantly improved chrome; and 3) the last was a ferric-cobalt tape. Sony made the IEC Type III reference tape, and TDK made the Type IV reference tape. The idea for reference tapes originated with BASF in the very early days as a way to compare improvements. The standards became part of Deutsche Industrie Normen (DIN) and later the IEC (International Electro-Technical Commission). This was important for consumer compatibility (in theory, because in practice the Japanese companies set their equipment up for the Japanese tape) and essential for high-speed duplicators who ran hundreds of miles of tape per day on each machine.
1979SONY Walkman. Model TPS-L2. The first truly self-contained portable music system, the TPS-L2 Walkman cassette player. 37. The Walkman's real innovation was its size, measuring only slightly larger than a cassette tape itself. Featuring a pair of portable, lightweight headphones and operating on AA batteries, it ushered in a new era of portability. The original Walkman retailed for 33,000 Japanese Yen
1979Noches for automatic tape type recognition were introduced.
Noches for automatic tape recognition
1980Dolby C. Basically using two Dolby B in series. Dolby C reduced tape signal-to-noise by 20 dB.
1984Sales of recorded compact cassettes (audio cassettes) exceed LP sales for the first time.
1990Dolby S. Based on an advanced profesional spectral recording system. Dolby C reduced tape signal-to-noise by 24 dB.
1990Super metals. High end metal cassettes were introduced: TDK MA-XG, Metal Vertex, Sony Metal Master, That's Suono.
Super Metals
Over the years the improvement of tape itself and better shells made compact cassettes high fidelity source. Advances have been made in all areas of compact cassette manufacturer, from the magnetic particles of the tape itself, to the material used to bind material in place and to the cassette shell itself. TDK says it has reduced particle size by almost a factor of 10 over the years, while magnetic energy of each particle has almost doubled.
TDK AVILYN Particle size
Unfortunatelly it was a start of a decline as CD start taking over. It was just cheaper to produce good sounding CD and CD player then cassette deck and compact cassette. The sales declined but they well still high for 10 or so years. The global sale of blank cassettes in 1996 was 2.098 billion pieces. In 1997 this decreased by 4.5% to 2.003 billion.
Reference and Contributors:
  • Terry O'Kelly (email exchange)
  • Willem Andriessen, `THE WINNER'; compact cassette. A commercial and technical look back at the greatest success story in the history of AUDIO up to now. Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials, Volume 193, Issues 1-3, March 1999, Pages 11-16
  • AES Society files.
  • Magnetic recording: the first 100 years (Edited By Eric D. Daniel, C. Denis Mee, Mark H. Clark) Wiley-IEEE Press (August 17, 1998).
  • Philips:
  • SONY:
  • "sowa_pszemodzala" for picture of the first Compact Cassette.
  • Wilhelm from "Tapeheads" for picture of Magnetophon K1 recorder and Magnetophonband Type C tape.

Urpszzxz, hier noch was seriöses dazu:

Preserving Treasures After a Disaster

Safety Precautions

Wear protective face gear or masks, latex gloves and long sleeves.
If mold and/or contamination is present, wear a respirator. Some mold species and/or contaminants are toxic; if any health effects are observed, contact a doctor and/or mycologist. When cleaning items with dry mold, make sure the mold spores are drawn away from you, i.e. by the use of a vacuum cleaner.
Wash your hands with anti-bacterial soap after handling materials with mold or contamination.


Paper Documents, Maps, Posters, etc:

Paper is very fragile when wet and must be handled with care, provide adequate support.
Blot excess water off the documents.
Do not attempt to separate individual items while very wet. You may leave them in stacks no higher than 1/4" to dry.
If pages can be separated safely they can be interleaved using absorbent paper towels or separating materials, such as waxed paper. Change interleaving materials until item is dry.
Clean, rusted-free window screens stacked with bricks or wood blocks between them will provide a drying surface with maximum air circulation.
If drying items on a hard surface, cover area with absorbent materials and change when wet. When items are almost dry, place them between protective sheets such as blank newsprint and put a lightweight on them to flatten.
Note: If the item is too wet when placed under weights, you may create an environment for mold. Check frequently.


Books that are more than half wet should be allowed to drain. Place the book on its top edge on a sheet or towel. Place small pieces of sponge under the fore-edge of the book to allow water to drain. Do not fan open the pages. Continue until water is no longer draining. The book can now be frozen.
Freezing does not dry the book but it prevents further damage from water absorption. A book may safely remain frozen for weeks, even months. Wrap the book in plain waxed paper and place in the freezer. Frost-free freezers can dry out wet books by the same process that produces “Freezer burn” in food. The process however can take weeks to months depending on the moisture in the book.
Video demonstration on how to wrap a book for freezing
(video only, no sound; 45 seconds)
After the books have frozen, the ice can be brushed off and the books can be thawed slowly. During the thawing process blot all excess water and then air-dry as described below.
Photograph showing use of a fan to air dry a book.
Using a fan to air dry a book.
Books that are half wet have the best result when be air-dried. Fan books open and stand on top or bottom edge; never stand them on the front edge. Stand books on driest edge first as it is the strongest. As the book dries turn it upside-down to the opposite edge every few hours.
Place a sheet of white paper towels larger than the pages between the front and back cover and adjacent page before standing on edges. Replace the interleaving as it becomes saturated.
Video demonstration of interleaving
(video only, no sound; 59 seconds)
When the book is no longer wet, but still cool to the touch, close and place on a solid surface with a slight weight such as a brick to keep distortion to a minimum.
Check frequently to ensure that no mold is growing.

Photographic Materials

Some historical photographs are very sensitive to water damage and may not be recoverable.
Photograph showing items drying on a clothesline.
Items drying on a clothesline.
Most prints, negatives and color slides can be air-dried. The emulsion (picture or image) side should be face up.
Avoid touching the front surface of wet or damp photographic prints or negatives. Note: The emulsion side often appears less glossy on negatives and color slides.
If photographic materials are covered with mud or dirt and are still wet, they may be gently rinsed in a bucket of cold, clean water, or a light stream of cold water, and then dried.
To speed drying time, dry items on a clothesline using wooden or non-abrasive plastic clothespins. Do not pin over image!
Air-drying Framed Photographs: Place the frame glass-side down and remove the backing materials.
Carefully remove object and air-dry. If the object is stuck to the glass, do not remove; instead dry frame with object inside, glass side down on a flat surface.
Photograph of backing being removed from framed object.          Photograph showing frames and objects drying separately.
Left: Backing is removed from framed object. Right: Frames and objects air drying separately.


Do not unfold delicate wet fabrics. Do not stack wet textiles.
Rinse, drain and blot items with clean towels or sheets to remove excess water. Block and shape each damp textile to its original shape.
If possible air dry indoors using air conditioning or fans, if not possible air dry outside away from direct sunlight.
Clean, rusted-free window screens stacked with bricks or wood blocks between them will provide a drying surface with maximum air circulation.

Wood Furniture

Rinse/sponge surfaces gently to clean. Blot. Air dry slowly.
Hold veneer in place while drying using weights or clamps. Protect surface with waxed paper.

Upholstered Furniture

Rinse off mud.
Remove cushions and other separate pieces. Wrap in sheets or towels to air dry, replace sheet or towel when damp.
Blot wood sections and air-dry slowly.


Remove from frames. Do not separate paintings from their stretchers.
Keep wet paintings horizontal and paint-side up with nothing touching the surface. Avoid drying in direct sunlight.


Rinse off mud and dirt with cool clean water. If dirt persists soak in a dilute detergent solution. Do not rub the disc.
Video demonstration on how to wash CDs
(video only, no sound; 22 seconds)
Dry vertically, in a rack if possible. If not place printed side down on clean sheet on wax paper.
Air-dry the accompanying paper insert as described in the air-drying of paper section.

Computer Diskettes

Remove diskette from casing and bathe in clean water.
Air dry on paper towels or lint-free microfiber towels such as glass cleaning cloths.
Place diskette into new casing and copy. Discard original after copying.

Video, Computer and Recording Tape

If the tape is wet, disassemble case and remove tape.
Leaving tape on reel, rinse in clean water.
Video demonstration of how to wash audio cassettes
(video only, no sound; 20 seconds)
Video demonstration of how to wash video cassettes
(video only, no sound; 22 seconds)
Support vertically on clean sheet or towel to dry.
Reassemble dried tape and case and copy. Discard original after copying.

Recording Discs Such As 45s, 78’s and LPs

Dry loose labels and sleeves as described in air-drying paper section.
Rinse discs in clean water if mud or dirt is present.
Air dry on a support or screen to permit good air circulation.

Computer Hard Drives

Computer hard drives cannot be allowed to dry out and be expected to be able to power up again. Do not blow dry the hard drive. Remove from the computer, do not shake out the water, simply place in a plastic bag, seal and send to a computer recovery company.
Back-up discs or tapes are much easier and cheaper to recover than hard drives.


During an emergency, family treasures can often become contaminated with sewage, fertilizer, gasoline, oils or other chemicals that have been released during a flooding.  These materials can be recovered, however, it can be more difficult to do and the contamination can be harmful to those doing the recovery.  Think very carefully if the items that are contaminated need to be saved.  It might just be easier and safer to throw them away if they are not replaceable.
If the pieces need to be saved and are irreplaceable, caution must be taken to protect the person doing the recovery.  Rubber gloves must be worn.  A respirator would be recommended, but if not available, only recover contaminated items outside in open space.  Safety goggles or something with a face shield should be worn to help protect the eyes, nose and mouth from splashing water.  Ideally the person doing the recovery should wear disposable white non-woven polyester suits, available from most hardware stores and used by painters and other building contractors.  If these are not available, then the person doing recovery should wear long sleeves and pants that can be disposed of after each cleaning shift. 
The actual removal of the contamination is relatively simple. Wash the items repeatedly in clean water until it is evident that the contaminant has been removed. Please follow the directions for washing in the above sections.


Check for active or dormant mold. Active mold looks fuzzy or slimy. Dormant mold is dry and powdery.
Remove the materials to a drier (but still cool) environment, and make sure that plenty of air is circulating around them. These conditions should render the possible biological growth dormant. If the mildewed materials are stored for an extended time under such conditions, the smell will eventually disappear of its own accord. The same technique can be applied to dry materials affected with active mold.
If you see mold growth, DO NOT attempt to clean it off until the materials are thoroughly dry. Premature cleaning attempts will grind the mold into the items and cause stains that are often impossible to remove.
A short exposure to sunlight and circulating air outdoors also may help to rid the books of the mildew smell. Remember, though, that light damages many materials. Placing items in the sunlight may result in some darkening or fading of materials, so select this approach only with items for which such damage is considered acceptable.

Smoke and Soot

Carefully wipe off items with a soft cosmetic brush to remove any dirt/soot particles etc. Dirt/soot holds the smell to the paper or other media. Place items flat on a table. If a book, place on the table as it would be positioned on a bookshelf. Fan the pages open and run a dehumidifier close to the table. Removing the moisture will also remove the smell. No dehumidifier? a small fan will also work well.
Try placing the items in a plastic garbage bag with an open box of baking soda. Tie the bag closed and let sit for a day or two. Remove the item and try again if the smell seems to have lessened. Caution: Doing this in high humidity area or in a damp part of your house such a as a basement could lead to mold growth.
A short exposure to sunlight and circulating air outdoors also may help to rid the books of the smell. Remember, though, that light damages many materials. Placing items in the sunlight may result in some darkening or fading of materials, so select this approach only with items for which such damage is considered acceptable.

Air Drying -- General Principles

Photograph showing use of a fan to air dry a book.
Using a fan to air dry a book.
Use fans to provide maximum air circulation but do not aim fans directly at the drying materials.
Absorb excess moisture using a clean sponge, paper, such as children’s drawing pads or blank newsprint pads or bath towels, sheets etc.
Do not blot on hand-written ink or fragile surfaces. Do not use printed newsprint for blotting; ink can transfer.

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