Search Results for 'minter welder'

Recently I worked on the book The New School Reader:  Embracing a Comprehensive System of Instruction in the Principles of Elocution by Charles W. Sanders, A.M.  Fourth Book 1860 and when I opened to the book I found lots of eight pointed tissue stars, feathers, and slips of papers.  Each time I work on a book that contains ephemera I like to “catalog” where I have found it in the book by recording the page number on the encapsulated piece.  The ephemera may have been put there randomly or it may have some significance to the page.  This particular book contained several pieces of tissue items, two feathers, and several pieces of papers with typed phrases on them.

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Here in the Preservation Lab at Iowa State University we have two very important machines when it comes to encapsulating with Mylar.  First is the Ultrasonic Welder for Polyester Encapsulation Model OT-D4 by William Minter and secondly is the Polyweld B-20 Desk-Top Sealing Unit by Conservation Resources International.  Each can be used alone with encapsulating and then there are times I like to use both welders on a project.IMG_0836 IMG_0835


When using the two welders I work with the Minter Welder first to secure the items on a sheet of Mylar and leave space to identify the page number it was found on along with the call number and plate number in case it gets separated from the rest of the items and book.  Then when done I use the Polyweld to weld the outer edges so they are not as “sharp” to handle and it gives it a more finished look.  Next all of the plates are put into a folder along with the call number and note stating how many plates are housed in the folder.  In this case the book needed some minor tissue repair inside yet the rest of the book is in really good shape for 1860 so I constructed a phase box for all to be contained safely together.



Bill Minter and his sons at the ISU Library Conservation Lab.

ISU Preservation owns one of the first protoypes of William Minter’s Ultrasonic Encapsulator machine.  For quite some time, the lab had been making do with a Polyweld machine because the ultrasonic encapsulator motor had burned out, among other issues.  The Polyweld works well, but it has three distinct disadvantages compared with the ultrasonic encapulator: it relies on heat to melt the polyester film together; it can weld a seam only at the very edge of the film; and it has a rather limited width (60 cm).

Polyweld Machine

We were finally able to send the encapsulator back to Bill for repair and an upgrade early in the summer.  He provided us with instructions on how to detach the weld head and motor, which we sent to him along with the anvil, which also needed to be remodeled.  Our original model had a pointed weld head and a flat anvil surface; the upgrade has a flat weld head and a raised ridge along the weld-line.

Kristi and Henry disassembling the ultrasonic encapsulator.

Our summer interns, Henry and Kristi, disassembled the unit and packaged it in a large, wooden crate (also provided by Bill) for safe shipment.  Bill worked with his machinist to repair and remodel the machine’s parts, which he and his sons drove out to Iowa to reinstall.  We spent a very informative day and a half watching Bill reassemble the encapsulator, and receiving detailed training on the varied subtleties of its use.  I’ve been using various models of the encapsulator for years, but now realize I had considered only a fraction of its versatility.

Bill explaining the way the weld head works.

A big thanks to Bill and his sons for their visit!  We’re delighted to have a working ultrasonic encapsulator again.


Recently we received a Special Collections brown leather book titled Familiar Lectures on Botany, Practical, Elementary, and Physiological by Mrs. Almira H. Lincoln (1842).  As I was adding this book to our departmental inventory, I noticed a couple of areas with “leafy” items pressed in between some pages.  So, after discussing treatment with our conservator, Melissa Tedone, we agreed that I should note the page numbers where the ephemera was located and encapsulate each item with the Minter welder.


Well a “couple of pieces of ephemera later” ended up being 38 items with a lot more documentation and encapsulating on my part.  And if you haven’t worked with dried plant material between two pieces of Mylar and static electricity, you will find it a real challenge. It’s very hard to control the leaves, flowers, and seeds, as they go where they want.  Careful handling on my part with tweezers and a microspatula got them where I wanted them on a backing of University Products Permalife text weight 70# paper, and enclosed between Mylar and welded together.


I was very pleased with the finished project and it will be much easier for future visitors to handle and look at the ephemera.  However, I will never say just “a couple” again when referring to ephemera!


While growing up in Boone, Iowa, my Dad was always telling me about historical facts that had happened around Iowa.  The stories were fascinating and I am amazed today at local people who know nothing of them.  The earliest one I was told about, The Cardiff Giant, happened in 1869. Other stories included World Heavyweight Champion (1908-193) Frank Gotch, the 1881 railroad heroine Kate Shelley, the famous bandmaster and composer Karl King (1891-1971), the First Lady to President Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-1961) Mamie Doud Eisenhower, and the December 18, 1846, death of 12-year-old Milton Lott, followed by the Spirit Lake Massacre on March 8-12, 1857.


Worn case showing damage on the spine, especially at the head cap and tail cap.

One day while I was at work in the Conservation Lab, a book was sent up for repair titled The Spirit Lake Massacre by Thomas Teakle.  The book was worn, as the case had seen better days and needed a new case built for it.  Inside, there were greasy fingerprints, lots of pencil marks, water stains, soft paper pages with tears, and an old yellowed newspaper clipping with brittle tape adhering it to a blank page in the front of the book.  Someone had felt it was important enough to add this newspaper article to the book.  Upon looking at it, I found a penciled date of 10/12/38 with a title caption reading “1857 Veteran’s Widow is Dead.”  Further investigation beyond the information provided from the newspaper clipping revealed that Mr. Frank R. Mason, who was a Second Lieutenant of Company C from Webster City, Iowa, in 1856, is mentioned in The Spirit Lake Massacre. His wife, Belle, had passed away at age 84 as the last surviving widow of any soldier on the Spirit Lake Expedition in 1857.  Frank Mason is mentioned several times in this book, so that probably explains why the clipping was attached.


Acidic newspaper clipping and failing pressure-sensitive tape.

I decided I wanted to remove the newspaper clipping, remove the adhesive, deacidify the clipping, mend it (as it was torn in half), and then encapsulate it with our Minter ultrasonic welder.  While re-assembling the book, I then sewed the encapsulated clipping in to the book.  I then built a new case in red book cloth to finish it.  This book is special to me with its history and all the work I needed to do to it.


Marginalia and dirty fingerprints.

However, when I decided to do my blog post on this book, I didn’t mean it to be about Frank Mason and the Spirit Lake Massacre, as you can read more about that on your own, but about Milton Lott, a 12 year old boy who was the first death among the settlers of Boone County, Iowa, and whose death was one of the key starting factors of the Spirit Lake Massacre.  I remember when I was very young my Dad would take me down by the river and show me a little grave site with a white picket fence around it.  Was it still there?


Milton Lott’s grave site by the Des Moines River.

Last fall, on a beautiful day, I drove down by the Des Moines River to see, and there it was. There was also another sign telling about the Milton Lott Tragedy, and how Sioux Indians raided the Lott homestead while Milton’s father, Henry Lott, was gone, and young Milton ran down by the river in the snow and succumbed to the bitter cold.  When his father returned three days later, he and a search party found Milton’s frozen body.  They hid his lifeless body in a hollow log until a proper burial could take place.  Milton’s mother died a week later from stress and exposure, the first woman settler to die in Webster County.  Eventually, Milton’s father and several men headed north and murdered Indian Chief Sidominadotah and his family after seeing that they were in possession of Mrs. Lott’s prized silverware set.  Later Indian Chief Inkpaduta, brother to Sidominadotah, retaliated resulting in the Spirit Lake Massacre.


Fifty-seven years after Milton perished, the location of his burial was identified by two remaining men, and in 1905 a permanent marker was placed close to his grave site by the river.  It was a peaceful journey to view Milton’s grave site last fall with the trees changing color, the rustling of the leaves, and the swift flow of the Des Moines River, and it got me thinking of a scared young boy trying to flee from the raid on a freezing December day in 1846.  He died alone, and I felt sad for him. I will be back one day to visit Milton again.

Special Collections has asked us to encapsulate multiple over-sized photographs in polyester film. The goal of the project is to minimize handling damage, in particular damage caused by sliding the photos between layers when removing and returning them to a drawer. I’m spending a lot of quality time with our Minter Ultrasonic Encapsulator. I’m sure it will get boring eventually, but I have to say that the photos are pretty cool. It is especially satisfying to see older photos of campus after all my work on the old campus maps.

Morrill Hall

Morrill Hall with Old Main in the Background

The photo above includes Old Main, a building that once held the entire college and has a pretty interesting history which can be read about here. For our purposes today though, we are a bit more interested in what is on the other side of the photo.


“What the heck?”

I was a bit surprised when I turned the photo over to discover the back covered with what at first appeared to be the brown gummed tape often used by framers. A more careful examination revealed that it isn’t gummed tape, but just brown kraft paper like the kind used to make paper bags. As you can see in the photo below there are even fold lines in the paper.


Not gummed tape

I showed the photo around the lab and asked if anyone had an idea why someone would “tape” the back in such a manner. The resounding response was variations on “What the heck?” The best theory we have is that someone applied the paper to try to prevent the photo from bowing. I can say that the photo is flatter than some similar photos I encapsulated but not the flattest in the group.


Flat, but not the flattest

So, we are perplexed and were wondering if any of you have seen something like this or have any idea what the intention of the “taper” was.