|Re: Cleaning and Restoration: Good or Evil?|
Message #3 Posted by Glynn on 23 Oct 2000, 3:04 a.m.,
in response to message #2 by Tom Lianza
Hmm, yes, Tom, I deserve the criticism of my cleaning methods probably as much as the philosophical aim, I suppose....
Having cleaned some of my own calculators before with the same dilute Simple Green and q-tip method, and taking care in cleaning his HP-25c the way I would have if it had been my own, I was not particularly feeling I had taken any risks. If anything, I was confident that I knew HOW to do it well. (And I am certain, if you had watched me doing it, any fears you have regarding my use of water/SimpleGreen near electronics would have been allayed. I used about 150 q-tips to do it, and nothing ever went where I did not specifically WANT it to go...)
But I certainly did not mean to vex my friend, either, and perhaps you have hit upon all or part of his anger; that it was a concern over HOW it was done, and that I might have ruined it FUNCTIONALLY.
And certainly, you are right that I SHOULD HAVE asked his permission to clean it. I know that now. I shall apologize to him for having messed with his machine in a way he hadn't supposed I would when he let me borrow it. I hope he can get over my insensitive error-- I like him as a knowledgeable fellow calculator enthusiast, and someday hope to make up to him for my blunderous ways.
I guess I wish further guidance about the very issue of calculator cleanliness, though, and what "the collector community" thinks is valuable aesthetically.
Vintage dirt and flaws, or a detailed return to former glory?
Did I ruin anything of the HP25c's APPEARANCE, from a collector's perspective, in cleaning it?
Let me mention that desktop calc I told you previously I was trying to 'restore'.
I happen to have, among other things, a very old and imperfect 9100A. It was stored for years in a closet, back when I didn't even know it was more than just a particularly bulky desk calculator that stored numbers and held them even unplugged. (It used to bow the top of my desk with its weight, so in the closet heap of equipment it went!)
Now I want my calculators to be "as new" and perfect as they can be-- and so I got some with power problems fixed, have been locating accessories and "doors" and such for others, and testing things out on them. And yes, I have been cleaning them. The one I have been trying the hardest to really get "perfect" has been the 9100a.
I have been going to the trouble, for instance, of contracting to have a "D"-shaped wheel cast in 70-hardness silicone rubber specially made for the card-reader to work again (I just found out the cost: will be nearly $100 by the time I get it); of locating some thin transparent green glass (from a stained-glass supplier) so I can silkscreen the X-Y-Z register legends slide that was scorched and melted... and trying to get a broken bakelite incandescent bulb sconce re-made (in ceramic, since no one seems to do bakelite anymore), and buffing small scratches out of the acrylic screen area, etc.
All this stuff is meticulous and time-consuming and a lot like restoration of an antique car to showroom status. (A Deusenberg collector wants his pride to be correct, driveable AND shiny; but an antique furniture collector would be silly to refinish and reupholster that beat-up LouisXIV chaise, even by using antique materials and methods--- a philosophical difference in the collector value of "visible age" as a determinant of authenticity and collectability. I guess I am following the Deusenberg collector philosophy...)
And, believe it or not, I was actually debating whether to remove and sand-blast the 9100a's cast-aluminum cover and then give it a fresh coat of HP-beige enamel paint, to replace the yellowed, scarred, chipped, sticker-goo-marred surface I got it in.
I am trying to do this restoration first-class. I want it to be both AS FUNCTIONAL and AS BEAUTIFUL as the day it was delivered to the original owner.
But if any or all of this hurts the value of the calculator to the collector, I need to know this-- so I know at least whether I am actually "restoring" my baby, or merely "customizing" it.
(Maybe I should paint it metallic purple with orange flame-stripes down the body, if all I am doing is wasting the value anyway).
Any collectors here understand what I am talking about? Would any of you be doing the things I am to my 9100a, or do you think I'm foolish to try? The merits of the cleaning method being excluded for a moment, is it simply better to have, as my collector friend had, a scuzzy calc with its original dirt intact?
As a FUNCTIONAL issue, I believe that most of you would do at least some of what I am trying to do, even if it wasn't just "stock". If not, wrapping cracked posts in 41 bodies and looking for a replacement for Katie's printer gear and people using model-airplane tubing in a card-reader just wouldn't come up. You try to make it as good as new, FUNCTIONALLY. Do you collectors have a view, though, that painting the 9100a back to its original color would be a mistake?