Here is a little quiz to hopefully brighten your day.

What do you call the following?









A.  Rubbers

B.  Erasers










A.  Plasters

B.  Band-Aids/Adhesive Bandages










A.  Clothes pegs

B.   Clothespins














B. Ethanol










A.  Perspex

B. Plexi










A. Melinex

B. Mylar


If you picked the first option then you would have no problem being understood in a British conservation studio.  If you preferred the second, then like me you will need to learn some new vocabulary when you go to study in Britain.

Surprisingly, it was the third item in the quiz that tripped me up one day.  Camberwell has seen its fair share of Americans, so people usually knew what I was talking about when I asked for a piece of plexi or an eraser.  In general, any confusion was on my part, until the day I asked the technicians for some clothespins.

The conversation went something like this:

-Why do you need clothes pins?

-To pin down the plastic sheeting on my humidity chamber.

-But we never use clothes pins for that.

-Why not?  I used them last week, and it worked well.

-But they’ll leave holes in the plastic.

-Why would they do that?

And then it dawned on me that they thought I was asking for straight pins.  And that is how I learned that the British hang their laundry with clothes pegs.

Many of you will note a problem with my final quiz question.  Dupont  used to produce an archival-grade polyester film with the brand name Mylar-D.  With the increasing use of non-archival Mylar, Dupont stopped producing Mylar-D and replaced it with Melinex, which is the brand name used by Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) for their polyester film in Britain.   (Dupont and ICI have a long history that I will not bore you with.)  Conservators in the US purchase Melinex for their studios, but most of them still refer to it as Mylar.

Our loyal reader, Beth Heller, posted a link to a wonderful video that Dupont produced about the wonders of Mylar.  It is twenty-four minutes long, but I think you might enjoy it if you have the time.