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How to remove old photos from album

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Old 07-20-2010, 05:58 PM
MEP MEP is offline
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Question How to remove old photos from album

Advice please. I have my mother's photo album from 1910 to 1920. Photos have been pasted (adhesive unknown) onto the soft black album paper. There are also quite a few postcards which have been pasted address/writing/stamp side down. Unfortunately nothing was written next to the photos to identify people or places. Does anyone have ideas on how I can safely lift these to see if anything is written on the reverse? I would especially like to read what is written on the postcards, but I suspect it might be in water-soluble ink. Any ideas greatly appreciated. Thanks, Mary
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Old 07-28-2010, 11:10 AM
BigDon BigDon is offline
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Re: How to remove old photos from album

I would not try to physically remove the photos from the page they are on unless you have no other option.

If you don't mind having the album pages themselves destroyed, you could try cutting the photos out of the album and then carefully cutting away the album paper that has not been adhered to the photo, giving you a chance to look at the back.

The downside to this, of course, is the album pages will be destroyed and if there are photos / cards on the reverse side of the page, then you run the risk of damaging them.

If the glue is really old, it may be brittle enough that you can slip a thin piece of plastic beneath the photo and VERY gently try to persuade the glue to give way. You must be very careful to not pry too hard or too quickly or you risk damaging the photo itself. Opt for tearing the album page rather than the photo in any event. You will probably still damage the album pages to the extent they will need replacement.

Just my opinion on how I would approach the problem rather than trying to use any solvents to remove the adhesive which most certainly will damage the prints...
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Old 07-28-2010, 01:03 PM
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Flotsam Flotsam is offline
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Location: Diamond Harbour, New Zealand
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Re: How to remove old photos from album
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Old 07-29-2010, 10:59 AM
MEP MEP is offline
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Re: How to remove old photos from album

Thanks to "BidDon" for advice, and "Flotsam" for the link which has lots of good info. I have tried (on one of the least important photos) to gently ease it away with thin spatula, but gave up quite quickly as it was causing more damage than it was worth. I also tried gently warming photo with iron set on low (protected by layer of silicone paper) and it worked to loosen a bit around the edge, but not in center. Will now be away for a couple of weeks, no time to experiment further at the moment, but will study the info in the link and will certainly try the dental floss idea. As my mother and her brothers were fostered out to three different families when they were quite small, I am hoping to find out more about their childhood(s) from the photos and postcards. Again, thanks for replying.
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Old 07-30-2010, 10:46 AM
spotter spotter is offline
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Location: England
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Re: How to remove old photos from album

You might have some luck using methylated spirits or better still rubbing alcohol (which is colourless).
Try just one unimportant pic.
You need to use a paint brush and soak the paper the picture is adhered to and just keep it wet as long as you can while at the same time working something thin and hard like a blunt knife blade, underneath.
This is what the mounting room guys would do at work if the photo was inadvertantly stuck to the wrong background.
It is a pains-taking procedure however and no guarantee of success.
The aim is to soften/dissolve the glue (and not soak the photo) just enough for the glue to let it go.
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Old 07-31-2010, 08:52 AM
MEP MEP is offline
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Re: How to remove old photos from album

Thanks to "Spotter", I wondered about meths, will try.
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