Thursday, May 24, 2007

Celluloid Rot

Some of you may have heard of celluloid rot, but never quite understood it... probably never saw what it looked like either. There might even be a few of you who knew of it, never saw what it looks like, and might not really understand it until it bites you.

To put it simply, celluloid rot is when the celluloid scales on your razor go south and the gasses emited from the breakdown of the composition causes the steel to rust quickly. It will even chew through light coats of oil to do its business. It's ugly and it can ruin a razor collection because it's basically contagious. That means that a razor with celluloid rot will stimulate the same process in the celluloid scales of your other razors that may be stored in the same box or container or whatever. *Addendum ~ that is what I had been told from other razor enthusiasts for many years. However, I think what is more likely is that the infected set of scales merely attacks the exposed steel of the other razors, especially if they are in a closed container together. So saying that it is contagious isn't all that wrong to say since the whole idea is to remove the infected razor before it damages the others in your collection.

I have noticed a couple of things. Black scales don't seem to ever get celluloid rot, and the ones that get it the most are the semi-transparent amber and orange colors. If any of you have had different experiences, please share them. I have found almost a perfect illustration of celluloid rot, as sad as it is, because I could have fixed this razor up really nice and added it to my site. Because of the "disease", it will be quarantined and be relegated to a life of experiments. Vile experiments.

The pic of this razor from the auction page is no longer available because it was quite a while ago. I forgot to copy it... my bad. There wasn't exactly a whole lot of info in the description, and the pictures the seller provided sure didn't show the detail I would like to have seen. I must admit that I might have missed the pattern of damage anyway, mainly because celluloid rot isn't running rampant through the razor population.

This first pic shows the razor closed. Notice that there isn't a whole lot of rust above the edge of the scales. This is one of the things to look for when trying to discover if the scales have rot, or not.

In this second pic you can see the areas of the blade that are affected by the gasses being emitted. Looking at the "stains", it's hard to tell that those are relatively rough areas well on their way to forming their own colony of pitting.

This third pic shows a little closer look at the damage. Can any of you spot anything different or similar about the pattern?

Picture 4 shows the detail on the other side of the blade. Look at the pattern closely and see if you spot what is going on.

OK, I will remove the mystery. Look at the areas I have circled in this last picture. Can you see the correlation between the colors and the rusting patterns? The white/yellow areas of the scales do not have the disease, whereas the orange shades have it bad.

Remember, the most prominent characteristic of celluloid rot is that the rust will be within the confines of the scales as opposed to the area exposed to air. The areas exposed to air usually would rust first. There will be a pop quiz on this subject at the end of the year, so remember it....