Dust Is Dangerous

To machines and their parts like bearings, to engines – that’s why there are air filters (at the end of WWII when they had to abandon vehicles and destroy them, it was a common practice to take away the air filters and shovel in sand with the engine running full throttle, don’t know why this pops up, the connection may be the filter), to humans, and of course to paper. Dust comes in a large variety, from corny remains when holes are gouged to fluffy mouse-like things you find in your living room.
When one works in a dusty environment and has to stir it up it sooner or later comes through the clothes, one can feel it on the skin, not only on the arms and legs but on the thorax and belly too. When I worked as a student on the ramp of a trucking business grey dust covered anything and after a week it was in the skin, in the hair, in the handkerchief, I coughed it up for some weeks afterwards.
This time the dust is not so corny, it’s thin, brownish, flour like, a thin flour, like in a mill. It sits on the books, on the shelves, on anything. I organized a vacuum cleaner that is continuously variable – I can’t use one of these industrial strength suck-it-all machines when carefully removing layers of dust from the Schnitt of a book – at this moment I am not even sure whether Schnitt is the right word, but I think so, I’m talking about the three sides of a book that are not bound together. And I’m too tired to look it up now, but in a blabbing mood.
The library is in a state of neglect, they carried it around from place to place over the last years (wie die Katz’ ihre Jungen). And at one point there was a major Wasserschaden, water damage, which is very very sad. It hurt some very interesting books. But at least I have found no mouldiness, someone took care to put them apart, give them space and gave them time to dry – a shock-freeze would have been better, but there seemingly was no time and / or space or capacity.
Books (buchbinderische Einheiten) are one thing, records (Archivalien) are another, and here things start to become a bit complicated. It’s not something you just store according to rules, it’s the heart of an institution, something that remains and lasts, and the place where an “It” wants to become manifest, so it’s an emotional place too.
Anyway, I’m much too knackered, and a bit angehievt (Sylvaner, Portugieser?) to speak about this in an adequate way, just want to say that I’m back. And if this magic stick we bought will work, I’ll be able to have internet access every day, mind you, even in Mittelfranken. I desperatly need it for research, hell no, not for reading blogs ….

5 thoughts on “Dust Is Dangerous

  1. Dear Mr Mags,
    I’m glad to hear that you made it home safely. I have a vision of you standing in a darkened room surrounded by shelving full of ancient tomes. Just a single shaft of filtered sunlight highlighting your envelopment a cloud of glittering dust motes. It is almost like one of those halo’s seen around religious figures in paintings done by the old masters… Vacuum cleaner in hand of course…

    Perhaps Miss Scarlet has a “crevice attachment” suitable to assist you in your employ?

    It is sad when books get attacked by the elements… At least some attempt has been made to dry them out…

  2. I also saw the single shaft of filtered sunlight and the cloud of glittering dust motes! Princess and I are such romantics!!
    Anyhow, you need the Multi-Angle Soft Brush Attachment, which will plug straight into the wand and can easily double up as a tickling stick.

  3. Multiple “its”, I expect, vying in the dust to be recognised and understood. What a precious task you have.

    Nice to see you back.

    I haven’t been able to comment as myself. Eryl, x

  4. Oh dear Princess! Next time I stand atop the stepladder Miele in hand I’ll remember this image and trry not to fall down laughin’ … :)

    I have a cheap one from paper, like medical persons use them. I use it when things are becomeing nasty, XL. But thank God, no mould.

    Yes, I have a single shaft, MsScarlet. I wonder how it would work with the Multi-Angle Soft Brush attachement of yours?

    Oh, I know about the Palimpsest, dear Eryl. I think in the (a bit) long(er) run they need a kind of archive …

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