Chartex: What is Known and What Remains a Mystery…

November 15, 2007

So far, I’ve found out the following regarding the Chartex cloth backing:

  • It’s cotton fabric permeated with a wax-based, low-temperature adhesive. Supposedly it’s also “acid-free” – I’m assuming they’re referring to the cotton.
  • It’s removable at 200ºF, according to the directions included with a box of Chartex. But it’s also said to bond at 150-175ºF, so the ideal temperature needed seems variable.
  • It was manufactured by Seal Products Inc. (also called Seal, Inc. in some cases), located in Shelton, Connecticut. Read the rest of this entry »

Currently Reading: Billers, Banners and Bombast

November 15, 2007

I checked out Fox and Parkinson’s Billers, Banners and Bombast: The Story of Circus Advertising from the PCL today. It is full of some great photos, especially of the posters in their “natural habitat” of building sides, barns, telephone poles and fences.


Charles Philip Fox and Tom Parkinson. Billers, banners, and bombast : the story of circus advertising. Boulder, Colo. : Pruett Pub. Co., 1985.

Photo of a lined poster…

November 15, 2007

This is the bottom right corner of one of the Strobridge Litho. Co. posters at the Cincinnati Art Museum. Note how flexible it is – all of the Chartex-lined posters were very flexible and in really good condition compared to the unlined or cotton-and-starch-paste lined posters.

Hurray for E-Bay!

November 15, 2007

I found a box of Chartex (made by Seal, Inc.) on E-Bay a few weeks ago, and promptly bought it. Well, it finally arrived in the mail and with it a helpful bit of information. On the instruction sheet included with the box, it was found that Chartex can be removed once it is heated to 200 ºF.Box of Chartex.


November 15, 2007

During my summer internship at the Cincinnati Museum of Art, and the Ringling Museum of Art, I worked with a collection of circus posters that had been lined with a textile lining (known as Chartex) applied with a wax adhesive. The quality of the lining application varied extensively – many posters had been lined nicely, but others had a lot of planar distortion, including air bubbles, caused by the lining.

From my discussions with the conservators on staff, the curatorial staff and my fellow intern, there is no consensus on the effects of the lining or the method of removing the linings. Solvents and heat were suggested as possible methods of removal, but neither of these seem wholly acceptable when considering the associated dangers to both the object and the conservator. In addition, to make things even more complicated, there was a smaller collection of the same type of poster that had been lined with a more reversible linen (or cotton) backing, using a starch paste. These posters were more brittle and yellowed than their Chartex-lined counterparts, leading me to suspect that the wax adhesive (and/or Chartex) has helped to slow down the aging of the support.

Therefore, in those posters that were lined satisfactorily with the Chartex, it could be preferable to leave the lining intact. In my research, I will explore the ethics and decision-making process involved when making treatment decisions about these linings. In addition, I will explore the existing removal methods and attempt to describe a removal method that is both object and conservator-friendly.Poster mending.