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Blackhard Rubber - Preventing The Oxidation? Maybe This Works...


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Hi All,


Here's a neat question. I just read a thread from 2005 where the late Dr. Donahue stated with his usual scientific eloquence that black hard rubber morphs to "brown" due to "sulpherization." (not his terminology, that's mine of course)


Having just bought my wife her first solid sterling flute (she plays fairly well), I read on some flute internet-threads that pros use a product that 3-m makes called 3-M Silver Protective Stips (google them, they're on Amazon). You put the strips of paper right on your cherished solid silver flute in its case. and the paper absorbs sulpher from the air, preventing the flute from tarnishing.


  • The question: Would this same paper product absorb sulpher in the air preventing hard rubber pens from changing from black to brown if the strips were kept in the pen's environment?


Appreciate all of those sterling flute-playing pen collectors who chime in :lol:


All the best,




p.s. Anyone interested in my Esterbrook V-Clip black hard rubber pen? PM me - excellent condition.

"My two fingers on a typewriter have never connected with my brain. My hand on a pen does. A fountain pen, of course. Ball-point pens are only good for filling out forms on a plane"

-Graham Greene, author and world traveler

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I don't think that it would work. Unlike your flute which is tarnished by things in the air, the oxidation is not caused by exposure to air. Hard rubber has sulphur IN it. It's part of the process to vulcanize rubber, and how they make hard rubber.


A number of things contribute to the oxidation including exposure to UV light and water. Your 3M strips aren't likely to do anything to slow down or prevent a pen from turning brown.

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I've used 3M Tarni-Shield products for years to slow the formation of tarnish on metal pens, the appearance of which can be hastened by proximity with hard rubber pens that tend to release some sulfur into the air. I don't think there would be any positive effect with regard to the discoloration of hard rubber pens, however.



"The greatest mental derangement is to believe things because we want them to be true, not because we observe that they are in effect." --Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

Daniel Kirchheimer
Specialty Pen Restoration
Authorized Sheaffer/Parker/Waterman Vintage Repair Center
Purveyor of the iCroScope digital loupe

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