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Engineers' Case Protects America's Birth Certificate

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Author Topic: Engineers' Case Protects America's Birth Certificate  (Read 162 times)
Superhero Member
Posts: 41646

« on: November 03, 2008, 09:19:16 pm »


Engineers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology built an encasement to protect
the Waldseemuller map, produced in 1507.

It was the first to show both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and an outline of the land separating
the two.

The frame is about ten feet by six feet, and made from two solid pieces of aluminum. It also includes
a double sheet of non-reflective laminated glass and interior environmental monitoring devices, along
with valves that allow preservationists to control the gases inside the case. Additionally, the engineers
designed a system to raise and lower the map for display and maintenance.


This map, which marked the first use of the word “America” as a designation for the continents now
called North and South America, is over 500 years old. Like any other old map, book, or scroll, it re-
quires special care. If not properly protected, the ink will fade and the paper will break down.

Filling the encasement with inert argon gas flushes out all the oxygen and stops the chemical reactions
that can damage both the ink and the paper. NIST expects the seals to remain effective for more than
twenty years.


This story and accompanying video were originally produced for the American Institute of
Physics series Discoveries and Breakthroughs in Science by Ivanhoe Broadcast News.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2008, 09:20:14 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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