Author Topic: White mold on plastic?  (Read 10813 times)

Offline guitar1580

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White mold on plastic?
« on: January 11, 2011, 12:19:40 AM »
This may have been covered before, but has anyone else found white mold growing on the plastic number bezels of 1950's era 500 & 5302 models?  My house isn't large enough to display all of my phones, so some are packed in boxes in my basement.

It's not overly damp, and I do run a dehumidifier when needed, but when I get the phones out to clean them, sometimes I find the mold.  It is usually only on the plastic dial bezels.

It seems to clean off easily enough, but it's odd how it likes that particular plastic.  I'm thinking of putting something like coffee, baking soda, charcoal, soap powder, etc, into a cheesecloth bag to put into the box, to try to ward off the mold.  Maybe those homebrewing / hop bags can have another use, packed with the phones. ;D

Has anyone else had this mold problem?

Josh P

Offline Brinybay

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Re: White mold on plastic?
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2011, 04:49:41 AM »
One of my 5302s was coated with it.  I gave it a good soak in Oxiclean, it hasn't returned, but it's not stored in a basement either.    
« Last Edit: January 11, 2011, 04:52:49 AM by Brinybay »
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Offline LarryInMichigan

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Re: White mold on plastic?
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2011, 06:26:23 AM »
Tenite (soft plastic) is made of cellulose, so it is a nutrient source for mold.  You need to use Oxyclean or bleach or something to eliminate the mold spores to keep mold from regrowing when moisture is present.

Larry

Offline Dennis Markham

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Re: White mold on plastic?
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2011, 08:35:35 AM »
I have soaked the plastic in a bleach/water mixture after I've cleaned the mold.  I was told by a long-time collector that the bleach "kills" the mold from growing back.  It usually seems to be with the black phones.  The soaking doesn't effect the color.

Offline Wallphone

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Re: White mold on plastic?
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2011, 08:53:19 AM »
As with Brinybay the only phones I have had this happen to was with two 5302's that I had in storage in the basement. The mold was on most of the phone but seemed to be worse on the dial bezel. I cleaned them up with dish soap & water and it started to return. So I cleaned them again with a spray bottle of 4 parts water and 1 part bleach and that did the trick. One of them was used with Russ Cowell's article on the 5302 in the Nov. TCI Singing Wires Journal. So it went from an oldie moldy to celebrity status.

Offline Brinybay

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Re: White mold on plastic?
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2011, 05:22:55 PM »
As with Brinybay the only phones I have had this happen to was with two 5302's that I had in storage in the basement. The mold was on most of the phone but seemed to be worse on the dial bezel. I cleaned them up with dish soap & water and it started to return. So I cleaned them again with a spray bottle of 4 parts water and 1 part bleach and that did the trick. One of them was used with Russ Cowell's article on the 5302 in the Nov. TCI Singing Wires Journal. So it went from an oldie moldy to celebrity status.

Dang, I always get "shiny phone envy" when I see phones like that!
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Offline HarrySmith

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Re: White mold on plastic?
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2011, 06:35:23 PM »
I have had a few with the mold issue, mostly 302's. As I have stated before my usual procedure for cleaning a phone is to take it apart and soak the plastics in a bucket with Oxiclean and hot water. I use a very string mixture, approx twice what is recommended.  This removes it easily and I have not had the mold return but I also do not have a basement to store them in.
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Offline HobieSport

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Re: White mold on plastic?
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2011, 07:10:52 PM »
I have a lot of moldy phones this winter. I've been cleaning them with regular Windex (ammonia, I assume).

I don't know if the Windex will kill the mold permanently. Does anyone else use Windex?

-Matt
-Matt

Offline JorgeAmely

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Re: White mold on plastic?
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2011, 07:44:28 PM »
Mold??

I thought it was powdered sugar ...

http://picasaweb.google.com/Amelyenator/EarlyNorth541PhoneWithAluminumBase#5350758335672190370

Addendum:

This is the dial bezel of a North 541 from October 1956. I think it was used for 5-6 years and then stored in a shed in the state of Maine (Heck, now we buy iPhones to be later replaced in a year or two!). The fact that is very difficult to clean under the finger wheel is probably why it turned like as shown in the picture. Under the hood is all WE, except for the ringer and dial.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2011, 12:22:27 AM by JorgeAmely »
Jorge

Offline Adam

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Re: White mold on plastic?
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2011, 07:51:50 PM »
I've heard of molded plastic, but that's ridiculous!

;D
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Offline guitar1580

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Re: White mold on plastic?
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2011, 09:48:33 PM »
Wall, that's a beautiful 5302.  Thanks for posting the pics.

Good to know about the bleach.  I was wondering if it was used on black as well as white, so I won't be afraid to use it now.

I got a good pic of the mold, and it looks really odd, but camera batteries are dead at the moment.  Will try to post a before & after pic later.  It's odd how it's on the dial bezel only, I thought the housings were tenite also.

Josh

Offline JorgeAmely

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Re: White mold on plastic?
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2011, 12:25:07 AM »
As with Brinybay the only phones I have had this happen to was with two 5302's that I had in storage in the basement. The mold was on most of the phone but seemed to be worse on the dial bezel. I cleaned them up with dish soap & water and it started to return. So I cleaned them again with a spray bottle of 4 parts water and 1 part bleach and that did the trick. One of them was used with Russ Cowell's article on the 5302 in the Nov. TCI Singing Wires Journal. So it went from an oldie moldy to celebrity status.

I like your second picture a lot. The handset looks like made of black granite. Very nice shot.

PS: (There used to be a guy in the forum, fishlover or something like that, that used to show his beautiful, shiny collection to us. I wonder what he is doing these days.   ??? ??? ???  )
« Last Edit: January 12, 2011, 12:28:02 AM by JorgeAmely »
Jorge

Offline Doug Rose

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Re: White mold on plastic?
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2011, 09:52:37 AM »
Jorge....Finlover....cars not fish. Greg pops on now and then. He is the master of plastics. His work is top notch. ....Doug
Kidphone

Offline jsowers

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Re: White mold on plastic?
« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2011, 10:31:40 AM »
It's odd how it's on the dial bezel only, I thought the housings were tenite also.

Josh, the dial bezels were made by a supplier and not at the Indianapolis Works, at least to begin with. It was rather high tech for the 1950s, molding two different color plastics together like that. If you look closely on the early bezels, you'll see MPCo molded into the back, in a circle.

Whether the plastic recipe was different or maybe the care of the molds (by that I mean what the bezel was formed in) was not as scrupulous as at WE or what--we'll never know--but the mold does seem to come more from the bezels. Maybe the factory was damp? It's nice to wonder about why things happened the way they did.
Jonathan

Offline AE_Collector

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Re: White mold on plastic?
« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2011, 10:44:47 AM »
Jorge....Finlover....cars not fish. Greg pops on now and then. He is the master of plastics. His work is top notch. ....Doug

No...I think it was fishlover.

(Jorge is in a quirky mood these days...needs another sanding project)

Terry