Restoring Old Paper Tape

Jason T silent700 at
Thu Jan 21 19:56:35 CST 2016

I'm tossing this out here as a conversation-starter more than a
request for help, although I may end up putting the knowledge to use.
Today I received a set of original HP paper tapes for the 2115a
machine.  I don't know if they've been archived or not - there are
dozens of HP tapes on bitsavers and I'll have to make a P/N list and
compare them.  The real problem is they're in horrible shape.  Decades
of basement moisture and likely a few critters have turned them
blackened, moldy and stuck together.

So, what to do?  How to get to the data without a bio-hazardous
payload along for the ride?  My thoughts go toward sunlight and/or U/V
light (like a hair salon sanitizer,) rubber gloves and a mask,
isopropyl alcohol, careful picking apart of layers, etc.  I'd think
one thing in our favor is that holes in paper are going to be easier
to read than ink on paper.  So Part 1 is getting them into readable
condition, with part 2 being the actual reading.

Any experience out there?


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