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Thread: Flattening Rolled Up 1898 Instruction Manual

  1. #1
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    Flattening Rolled Up 1898 Instruction Manual

    I literally stumbled onto a very nice 1909 handcrank 28K in a coffin-style portable case today. When I looked in the wood compartment in the lid I found not only a black cardboard accessories box, but an instruction manual printed in Great Britain in 1898 that had been rolled up and stuffed in the smaller of the two sections in the storage compartment for who knows how long.

    So, I now have the challenge of deciding whether to attempt to unroll and flatten the booklet, or just leave it as it is. I've seen videos online, even from the Smithsonian, about using humidity in a closed container to slowly rehydrate and soften the old paper, allowing it to be opened and eventually flattened. But all the information I found was pointed towards single sheets of paper. I'm not sure how to handle this booklet that seems to have 15-20 pages. The booklet looks like it is about 6 inches wide and maybe as much as 10 inches tall (see photo).

    Does anyone have any experience with flattening paper like this?

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  2. #2
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    The paper looks in pretty neat condition and it being late 19th century it has the same "quality" as modern paper. I am no specialist but I'd stay clear of humidification of any kind (the staples may rust). What I'd do is flatten it gently by hand and let it rest in the middle of a pile of heavy books wrapped in acid free tissue paper (to avoid any markings) for a couple of days.

  3. #3
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    I would call the Northeast Document Conservation Center in Massachusetts for advice. They have an extensive website with info (https://www.nedcc.org/).

  4. #4
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    On closer inspection, the paper did not seem as brittle as I had originally feared, And, I noticed that the staples were already complete rusted! My wife delicately unrolled it, and we were able to open it out enough to to place it between a couple of boards, protected by sheets of paper, weight it all down with a piece train rail I use as an anvil. I’m hoping that will do the trick. Thanks.

  5. #5
    Power Poster
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    ​Lovely hand crank and hopefully the manual will flatten out.

  6. #6
    Super Member lawsonmugs's Avatar
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    This is such a beautiful machine. Looks almost new. Such gorgeous decals. Sorry no help for you though.
    Mary

  7. #7
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    P.S. The owner (both of the machine and the store) was motivated and let it go for less than half the price on the tag. Just one of those days. My wife is in love with the "Victorian" decals. I'd never seen that before, or the casket case.

  8. #8
    Super Member luvstoquilt's Avatar
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    Wish I could stumble up on one like that! Lucky you and lucky wife��.
    "You must do the thing you think you cannot do"....E. Roosevelt

    Sharon
    Yorkville, IL

  9. #9
    Senior Member
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    Just yesterday I took my manual to the copy store and photocopied it. I found that I was using it mostly for the oiling instructions and of coarse I would sometimes get a bit of oil on my hands. I doubt if I could ever replace my manual and it is a lot newer than yours. I copied my FW manual also.

    Wonderful find. Your decals are incredible.

  10. #10
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    Copying the manual is a really good idea. I'll have to do that.

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