Search the Site

A Higher Purpose for That "Old Book" Smell

Scientists in the U.K. and Slovenia have developed a new, new technique for dating old books that’s far less damaging than the typical methods which require destroying part of the book: it relies on everyone’s favorite “old book” smell. The researchers analyzed the gasses produced by dozens of 19th- and 20th-century documents and identified 15 compounds “that act as degradation markers used to detect decaying paper.” The process is considerably less invasive than current dating techniques and may be used to protect other antiques as well. As for that distinctive smell, the study’s authors described it as “a combination of grassy notes with a tang of acids and a hint of vanilla over an underlying mustiness.” (HT: Naked Capitalism) [%comments]