These Scifi-Looking Incubation Chambers Help Libraries Save Old Newspapers

By Sidney Fussell on at

Today in helpful objects that maybe look like alien incubation chambers, we have a lovely gadget that’s being used to digitise old newspapers.

The University of Connecticut is undergoing a restoration project to revive 19th century Chilean newspapers documenting the years leading up to the war between Chile and an allied Peru and Bolivia. Over the centuries, the newspaper has become brittle and awkwardly creased in ways that make it difficult to read, even tearing when you try to turn the page. The above humidification machine relaxes the pages, allowing for a series of follow-up techniques to restore and eventually digitise the print. The process lasts about 15 minutes.

The process to restore the newspaper involved even more Dexter’s Lab-esque machinations, including an electrostaticlyly charged table with an adjustable downward “pull” that lets restorers jigsaw torn pages back together before scanning them. And there’s something oddly soothing about the series of videos where the librarians just fix pages:

Mmm, yes. Good. [PetaPixel]