Archival Metal Staples — Isn’t There a Contradiction Here?

Recently we posted about a mixed three-section stab binding that was published in the early days of Soviet Russia. My question was: what would be a reasonable approach to digitization and preservation of the book?

Thanks to Facebook user Hans Christoph Ruber, I found out, that this type of cheap binding was quite popular in post-WWI Austria, Germany, and some other countries (and maybe even earlier). That’s quite understandable because it simplifies the binding process. And when the price is the primary concern, things like durability and easiness of use are often forgotten. We have the same issue with the modern paperbacks and even some hardbacks that are bound with hot glue.

However, let’s return to my main concern. The book in my possession was uncut, so one of the paths to digitize it was to remove the staple and to scan it as large printer’s sheets. After that, the next issue arises: what to do with the book after the digitization. The answer depends on what is your approach to the preservation of the book. Sewing it with thread is one of the solutions. But in that case, it will lose its initial structural peculiarity. The other option was to return the staple in its original place. But that didn’t seem reasonable from the conservation standpoint, as the staple had already begun to oxidize.

As it appears, there is a solution. Some of the conservation material vendors offer “corrosion-free staples.” Hans Christoph Ruber shared a link to these stainless steel archival staples. And later, I found staples made with Monel metal, which is a Nickel/Copper alloy that doesn’t stain the paper and is extremely resistant to corrosion (it is used in marine applications.)

So, here you are, if you want to preserve the original stapled structure, but don’t want the corrosion to spread, there are at least two solutions. If you know any other ways to achieve the Asme goal, please leave a comment below!

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