Our new bench to deal with decomposed film materials
Nine years ago Catherine Cormon, the current head of the collections management department, had a dream to obtain a winding bench that would be suitable to deal with compromised and decomposed film materials. The purpose of such a table is to reduce exposure to noxious gasses that are created by both acetate and nitrate film materials and a purpose-built winding table would then allow staff and volunteers to work in relative safety.
The move of the collections department from Vijfhuizen to the Collection Centre has given the department the opportunity to finally commission a customized ventilated winding table. This commission was given to local craftsman Kees Malingré of Profgear who specializes in building equipment for audiovisual uses such as our winding bench.
To make the new table Kees reused materials from an old winding table and repurposed the plates, winding mechanism and the meter counter/ruler. He then created the body of the table from scratch and attached a Plexiglas hood to protect the operator. Kees also designed a ventilation system in the back of the table to suck the noxious air and filters the gasses up a separate ventilation shaft.
As well as installing the new ventilation system Kees added a frame counter and reader to the table. The counter reader was an old broken machine that was fixed especially for the table and the counter mechanism was also repurposed from another broken table. One of the greatest (and funniest) features of the table is that the counter mechanism can be switched in and out of the path of the winding film by simply rotating plates. This movement allows the operator the freedom to handle delicate films in the way they best see fit without encourage further perforation damage.
The key lesson learnt in the creation of this table is that old tables and broken technology can be repurposed for future film handling materials and technology. Therefore, it is necessary to hold onto those bits that can help in the creation of new interesting and helpful winding tables and more.
While a new ventilated winding table might not be the most exciting thing to happen to most people, for us in a the collection management department this is a great day. We will be able to better manage and process our materials in a safer environment as well as having a new shiny toy to play with. We thanks Kees for his diligent work and we look forward to attending to our ‘nasty’ nitrate collection in relative safety.
By Krystel Brown, student intern at the EYE Collections Management Department.