Red decay

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The so-called red decay or red rot is a phenomenon that occurs mainly in libraries with very old vegetable-tanned leather book bindings. The tanned leather suffers from hyperacidity caused by the influence of sulphur dioxide in humid air, which was particularly abundant due to gas-lit lanterns in earlier times. Sulphur dioxide is converted into sulphuric acid and this attacks the leather and pulverizes the surface. Such damages are irreversible.

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Red decay - Red Rot


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Red decay, seen in the DLM - German Leather Museum in Offenbach.


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