Type or lead rot

Good Morning,
I am new to letterpress and am working as an apprentice. The woman I am working with pointed out that some of the lead type has a bloom on it that she believes is lead rot and she has set me to investigate. I see articles about lead rot in lead miniatures but nothing about lead type. I am hoping someone has information about how to treat this issue or advice on where to go from here. Thank you.

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B. Q.C. Welcome to this (Still) amazing world.!- - Author 1953 and counting.!!

Generally lead (printers or plumbers) does not *rot* it just oxidises, usually in damp atmosphere.!!

Disposable masks for any such operations are advisable in any case.???

Cleaning/decontaminating is not very difficult, even left in its original containers/cases to save any inhalation of fine spores, just *baste* the whole with spirit, = white spirit, turpentine, etc. etc allow to drain down, if it impregnates the case/container >no problem< it will annoy the woodworm dry-rot, etc, if any. it is fairly normal practice, to cover the whole case or container(s) with muslin, mutton cloth, fine mesh (old style) perforated zinc as in *Grannies* meat safe, and gently “blow dry” any remaining spirit residue, the muslin cover just to stop the thin spaces migrating.!!!
Decanting, locking up the whole, and cleaning as with printed forme, from the machine, is AN option, BUT is/would be time consuming and locked up, would prohibit spirit from reaching every facet of every piece of type.

Good Luck. Mick.

Not a Eureka moment, just an after-though! You may have inadvertently stumbled across the well recorded syndrome, (H.& S.) in U.K. probably stateside as well,? whereby lead miniatures were originally coated with Red Lead or Red oxide as a base coat, and then painted with appropriate colours, when sucked by children did cause forms of lead poisoning.
This side of the turn of the Century, cheap replica figures, were responsible for lead poisoning.
Safe replicas still in demand, not so much for children, more for the Table Top Re-enactment devotees.

Thank you Mick

The typeset is old and has been in a building that is not heated in the winter. Is there a way to protect it and the wood cabinets they are in? I was wondering about an oil like linseed oil or something on the cabinets.

I am learning on a Chandler and Price that is 119 years old. It is fun but a lot of work.

Barbara. Q.C. If you have managed to clean (en masse) all the type still in case, but with cases out of the frame/cabinet your *linseed oil* would be a good long term protection plan, BUT not in NEAT form, thinned 50/50 with spirit, *Methylated Spiit* for example, is a good propellant and evaporates reasonably slowly, to allow the Linseed to penetrate gradually.!!

Used this process, a long time ago, NOT to protect and preserve Type Case rack, but to protect A PIANOLA (player Piano with American Chase and Baker action) that had by virtue of its size and weight to stand in a Barn, Still around and pumping out, amongst other pieces of music, our favourite, *Scott Joplin,s Maple leaf Rag* >When one *puts The Hammer down, or The pedal to the Metal*< on an eight octave Piano and with an 88 Note Ribbon, “”” spooled up with the LOUD pedal down the sound is (as Don Williams would say) *OUTA SIGHT*

””” The 88 Note or 88 Chanel Pianola ribbon makes the Pathetic 31 Channel Monotype Spool look/sound tame, and the Pianola sounds better as well (JUST).?

One little additional trick, if the rack with type in case, has to return to semi long term storage, the first reaction is to protect/cover with waterproof sheeting, BUT should have semi absorbent primary cover on first,?? Horse winter rug or Blanket, waterproof sheet(s) tend to sweat in damp atmosphere, PLUS if possible even one or two little Sachets of, Silica Gel, sat on the flat top of the case rack and warmed up, De-moisterised, help enormously,… 90 Secs in the Microwave. . as found in machinery crates on delivery.!!! or a tiny amount from good hardware stores, possibly.???


Mick, Thanks so much. The work I am doing is part of a restoration project for a museum. We want the print shop restored and protected as well as being able to actually use the machines that are there. I have a lot of photos that I will post in the days to come. I am hoping the members will be able to identify them for me. Thank you again, I heard that Briar Press was the go to site for this kind of thing and it seems I heard right!

Barbara Q.C. With your learning curve stretching out before you,! and you think it is fun NOW? Hopefully in a comparatively short time and when you can hit the ground running, I.E. treadle-ing and/or hand feeding, beautiful traditional Impressions/Prints, (Like first time around) You will be flying with REAL Fun at 35,000 feet.!!!!!

Re Your Restored, Protected and Usable, project, Our Local Museum Print Shop (U.K.) is doing exactly that, with several dedicated volunteers with a wide spectrum of accumulated knowledge, and a Machine shop under the same roof, virtually every Machine is demonstrated operational.

By implication and after Your Stateside means of info etc. at the Click of the mouse via Briar Press there is a cornucopia of help not too far away.

Good Luck Mick.