welding gas to preserve antiques?

I have an older (uncommon) Canon SLR film camera with an assortment of expensive lenses that I retired from service when I went digital. It's in mint condition (I bought it new) and the thought of trading or selling just isn't in the cards. I want to store it so that someday my grandchildren (or great grandchildren) can take it to the Antiques Roadshow and have an expert tell them it's worth a bazzilion dollars. I have this crazy idea to put it into a vacuum bag and suck out the air... then hook up an argon bottle from my tig welder or a mixed gas bottle from my mig welder and replenish the atmosphere with an inert gas. My thought is that the inert gas may help to preserve the non-metallic components like the shutter and screens.

Are there any chemists amongst us that can comment on the effectiveness of this little exercise? Could the inert gases have any deleterious effects on the camera and lens components? Or would I be better off just storing it in a vacuum?

If none of you wizards can give me a correct answer, should I ask Clinton, Obama, Huckabee or McCain (snicker).


Reply to
toolman946 via CraftKB.com
Loading thread data ...

Argon is inert, but unless your vacuum bag is perfect it will leak out. Some form of sealed tupperware bowl might work better, or best of all glass. Argon is heavier than air. If you fill the argon from the top, it will settle into the container, driving the air up.

You might want to pack it in bags of desicant to prevent any moisture from condensing. The moisture would come from air inside the camera. Potassium Permanganate makes a great desicant. When it is dry it is purple, when it has absorbed it's limit of water it turns clear.

Reply to
Ernie Leimkuhler

Unless you can put your camera and lenses in a tank, then purge the tank with argon, I'm not sure you could maintain and inert atmosphere for a significant amount of time. Do you have a way of testing it? I do not know the make and model of the machine, but our gas-free technicians use portable testers to check how much oxygen is in a space.

Ernie's right- put your camera in an air-tight container, fill with argon from the top down, seal the lid on.

To check atmosphere, try putting your container inside a larger container, put a lit candle next to it in the bigger container, then fill smaller container with argon. When candle goes out for lack of O2, close and seal smaller container.

Mixed gas isn't inert- the CO2 is slightly reactive. I'd stick to pure argon.

Good luck!

Reply to

Photography has long been one of the most popular of all hobbies, and the entire population is switching/haas switched to digital. Almost all their film stuff is now idle, and too good to throw away, so it will be a long, long time before it starts to gain value in the antique world. Cameras are designed to function in a normal atmosphere, with moisture, dust and oxygen. An an old camera that hasn't been used will probably develop a sticky shutter, due to gumming of the lubricant or collection of dust. In my opinion, the easiest way to counteract this would be to seal it in a plastic Food-saver bag. Include a note giving pertinent history on the camera, any provenance and maybe even a few snapshots. Then, "set it and forget it."

As Gunner will probably attest, the Food Saver is a wonderful thing. My avocadoes last for about three weeks after they are started in a vacuum sealed bag.

Reply to
Leo Lichtman

The Antiques Roadshow in the UK, about 2 weeks ago, was about future valuables. A guy had a collection of cameras, all or mainly Nikon IIRC, and the expert reckoned that the small part of the collection the guy had brought along was already worth a very considerable sum. The cameras in question were classics of their kind and were examples of many which had been used by photo journalists the world over covering wars and all sorts of things for decades. I somehow don't think my OM20 is in the same league.

Reply to
David Billington

And be sure to take out the battery.

However, be sure to write the number and specs on a paper and put it in with the camera.

This will help the archaeologists in years to come to turn on this High tech cool thing.

Mart> I have an older (uncommon) Canon SLR film camera with an assortment of

Reply to
Martin H. Eastburn

All very good comments. I'm embarrassed that I mentioned mixed gas 'cuz I know that it's not inert due to the oxygen component (blush), thanks for the reminder.

And great comments about provenance and inclusion of notes, details etcetera. I've seen many examples on the Road Show where an artifact is of considerably more value because of it's history being known and documented... and more importantly - someone kept the box! So I'm pretty good at pack ratting that stuff too.

The camera is an EOS 10s. It was the very first of the consumer line of EOS cameras and the second best camera in the Canon product line at the time. Its robust construction and feature rich menu made it the darling back-up for the working photog and the bread & butter for many studio shutterbugs. Mention a

10s to an older pro photographer and watch his eyes tear up as he reminisces about his youth. Beat up used ones still draw an attraction in the photo community.

I have a Food Saver vacuum system so I think I'll go that route. That had been my initial preference and many of you seem to agree that's the way to go. Especially you survivalist guys. And I know you've got guns buried out in the back 40 so I ain't gonna give you any reason to go dig'em up!

But I'm surprised that no one suggested I consult with Hillary or Barack. Hmmmmm... curious that...

Reply to
toolman946 via CraftKB.com

And when you bury it, use a post hole digger and bury the tube vertically. Preferably next to an existing metal pole or post. Then scatter some metal scrap around. . Nuts, bolts, rebar pieces....

Or down the center of a nice ornamental pipe.

It confuses the shit out of magnetometers and ground penetrating radar

I know one fellow who built a nice carport with 3" pipe legs, and soft flower beds around each leg. Sank the legs at least 5' deep so the wind wouldn't blow it down......

She and He who shall not be named.....


Reply to

When i was a kid my parents put dry ice in a trash bag with an antique piano stool to kill the worms. My CO tank could do the same, not many biologicals could survive without O2

Reply to
Stupendous Man

Good point. The camera has a sponge seal around the shutter that can deteriorate (mostly after repeated exposure to high temperatures) and become a tarry, oily mess on the curtains. Mine are still in mint shape.

I'll check around and see if the sponge is subject to microbial attack or not.

Thanks for the info...


Reply to
toolman946 via CraftKB.com

PolyTech Forum website is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.