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#1 Corpsmancollector

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 03:31 AM

Ok guys, I've recently acquired some more space since moving into a house with my fiancée. Previous to this, all of my collection was stored at my parents place. We now have a study room which has a built-in closet with a hanging rail and a number of shelves. There's also the possibility of expanding out into the room, without being too obvious :lol: I'm looking for some general tips on storage and preservation, to make sure I'm doing the right things.

The majority of my collection is made up of uniforms, field gear and helmets for the most part. The usual kind of stuff. At present, my wool uniforms (forest greens, khakis, blues etc.) navy whites and blues, and a few HBT and cotton items are on hangers in my closet at my parents. For the most part, they are on wooden hangers and I'm in the process of putting them all in plastic suit covers. I've got a couple of questions in relation:

- Are wooden hangers appropriate?
- Do suit covers do any damage to an item? (they're just the normal ones you'd buy from a home store)

In addition to the above, a large quantity of my WWII HBTs are stored in large, plastic storage boxes (bought from your average home store) I lay them down on their front, fold the sleeves in and then fold them from top-to-bottom before they go in the box.

- Is it ok to store uniforms in large plastic boxes?
- Is it wise to fold field uniforms for storage, or are they better hung in the closet, or folded and stored on a shelf in the closet? (any need for storage boxes?)

Lastly, all of my field gear and webbing items are also stored in large plastic storage containers. I usually store them all together, with nothing separating the items.

- Is it ok to store field gear and webbing in large plastic boxes?
- If I was to display webbing, what would be the best way to do it, besides on a mannequin? Can webbing deteriorate (in the long term) if just displayed on the shelf?

I'm on a budget at the moment and can't afford any pricey solutions I'm afraid. The room I'm referring to is of an average size and temperature and the closet lets in very little light.

Any hints or tips would be most welcome and I'd love to hear how you store your uniforms and what success you've had with varying methods.

#2 Sabrejet

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 03:39 AM

Just two key words Will...."moth" and "balls"!! I use suitbags from IKEA myself but even so I pop a mothball into at least one pocket of each uniform (belt & braces approach!) I use the round, sandalwood types. They don't have that mothbally smell that my grandmother's wardrobe used to have! They're an orange shade and fade as an indication that they're losing their effectiveness. They're good for about three months, so you need to remember to refresh them. (I buy 'em in TESCO!)

Ian :thumbsup:

#3 Corpsmancollector

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 03:43 AM

Just two key words Will...."moth" and "balls"!! I use suitbags from IKEA myself but even so I pop a mothball into at least one pocket of each uniform (belt & braces approach!) I use the round, sandalwood types. They don't have that mothbally smell that my grandmother's wardrobe used to have! They're an orange shade and fade as an indication that they're losing their effectiveness. They're good for about three months, so you need to remember to refresh them. (I buy 'em in TESCO!)

Ian :thumbsup:


Thanks Ian, that's great advice! I might have to pop out and pick some up, especially for my WWII dress greens. That's a bonus that they don't have that mothball smell...So many items I've bought in the past have had to be hung outside for days as a result!

Having looked at the pictures of your collection in the displays thread, I am right in thinking that most of your web gear is displayed on shelves? Have you ever encountered any problems with this? Do you have a temperature controlled room?

#4 Sabrejet

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 03:50 AM

Hi Will. I use the Window, Mark I, for temperature control...if it's warm I open it, if it's cold I shut it. Highly sophisticated!! As for the webgear on open sheves...you're right! I have stuff in boxes too, but I like to see it and handle it...and smell it... rather than have it shut away out of sight! On the downside, it can get a bit dusty but I move it around quite often to alleviate that. Also, it's not in direct sunlight. It's been around for 65 years or more in a military enviroment..it'll last a wee while longer in my war room!

Ian ;)

#5 Corpsmancollector

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 03:54 AM

Hi Will. I use the Window, Mark I, for temperature control...if it's warm I open it, if it's cold I shut it. Highly sophisticated!! As for the webgear on open sheves...you're right! I have stuff in boxes too, but I like to see it and handle it...and smell it... rather than have it shut away out of sight! On the downside, it can get a bit dusty but I move it around quite often to alleviate that. Also, it's not in direct sunlight. It's been around for 65 years or more in a military enviroment..it'll last a wee while longer in my war room!

Ian ;)


Thanks for the re-assurance Ian, I had to re-read the bit about your sophisticated temperature control twice! I was close to 'googling' the Window Mark I... :lol:

I've always been of the school of thought that 'if it's lasted 60 years in a military environment...' then it can't hurt by putting it on a shelf for display, or folding it up and storing it in a cupboard. I know some collectors who have been involved with museum preservation and artefact handling who can be very strict on methods used in relation to handling/storing/displaying militaria.

Thanks for the hints and tips!

#6 Sabrejet

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 03:59 AM

Thanks for the re-assurance Ian, I had to re-read the bit about your sophisticated temperature control twice! I was close to 'googling' the Window Mark I... :lol:

I've always been of the school of thought that 'if it's lasted 60 years in a military environment...' then it can't hurt by putting it on a shelf for display, or folding it up and storing it in a cupboard. I know some collectors who have been involved with museum preservation and artefact handling who can be very strict on methods used in relation to handling/storing/displaying militaria.

Thanks for the hints and tips!



It's just what I do Will. There'll be other forum-ers out there with thermostatically controlled, sterile, acid-free environments, I'm sure! To each their own!

Ian :thumbsup:

#7 Corpsmancollector

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 05:42 AM

It's just what I do Will. There'll be other forum-ers out there with thermostatically controlled, sterile, acid-free environments, I'm sure! To each their own!

Ian :thumbsup:


Absolutely. I think there's merit in both approaches and I'd definitely be keen to know how other members display/store items :thumbsup:

#8 B229

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 06:32 AM

Absolutely. I think there's merit in both approaches and I'd definitely be keen to know how other members display/store items :thumbsup:


Well, it all depends on your idea of long-term preservation. The reason museums do what they do is because they are trying to preserve their collections semi-indefinitely.

Some useful tips:
-Avoid sunlight, humidity, extreme temperature changes and too much handling. I'm sure I'll get flak for this one, but the "too much handling" means you can't dress up in your stuff if you expect it to survive for very long.
-Don't use plastics that are unstable...which is most of them. Polypropylene is one plastic that is stable and won't off-gas (it won't emit potentially harmful gasses as it deteriorates).
-Use acid free paper/cardboard products for storage.
-Be aware that insect preventive chemicals can sometimes leave residue and/or stain as they evaporate, so place a buffer between them and your collection.
-Upper garments, such as service coats, are better hung up on padded hangers. This helps retain their shape.

#9 Corpsmancollector

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 06:53 AM

Well, it all depends on your idea of long-term preservation. The reason museums do what they do is because they are trying to preserve their collections semi-indefinitely.

Some useful tips:
-Avoid sunlight, humidity, extreme temperature changes and too much handling. I'm sure I'll get flak for this one, but the "too much handling" means you can't dress up in your stuff if you expect it to survive for very long.
-Don't use plastics that are unstable...which is most of them. Polypropylene is one plastic that is stable and won't off-gas (it won't emit potentially harmful gasses as it deteriorates).
-Use acid free paper/cardboard products for storage.
-Be aware that insect preventive chemicals can sometimes leave residue and/or stain as they evaporate, so place a buffer between them and your collection.
-Upper garments, such as service coats, are better hung up on padded hangers. This helps retain their shape.


Thanks for the very useful tips!

I'm not planning on running around in my gear any time soon, so I think I've got that one covered :lol: However, I think something for me to take away is the 'unstable' plastics tip. Do you know if it is common for storage boxes and/or suit covers to contain harmful chemicals? If so, how might you store an item which you would usually put in a storage box?

Edited by Corpsmancollector, 03 August 2010 - 06:54 AM.


#10 Bluehawk

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 08:24 AM

Well, it all depends on your idea of long-term preservation. The reason museums do what they do is because they are trying to preserve their collections semi-indefinitely.

Some useful tips:
-Avoid sunlight, humidity, extreme temperature changes and too much handling. I'm sure I'll get flak for this one, but the "too much handling" means you can't dress up in your stuff if you expect it to survive for very long.
-Don't use plastics that are unstable...which is most of them. Polypropylene is one plastic that is stable and won't off-gas (it won't emit potentially harmful gasses as it deteriorates).
-Use acid free paper/cardboard products for storage.
-Be aware that insect preventive chemicals can sometimes leave residue and/or stain as they evaporate, so place a buffer between them and your collection.
-Upper garments, such as service coats, are better hung up on padded hangers. This helps retain their shape.

Excellent advice.

This is the bible on all matters of artifact preservation - a good thing to have for those concerned:

MUSEUM REGISTRATION METHODS - 5th Edition
Publisher: American Association of Museums
Format: Paper
Number of pages: 516 pages
Date published: 2010
ISBN: 978-1-933253-15-2

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#11 Bluehawk

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 08:26 AM

Also, here can be found almost all known available products and services to assist in preservation of any kind or level:

http://www.usmilitar...showtopic=26375

#12 B229

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 09:33 AM

Thanks for the very useful tips!

I'm not planning on running around in my gear any time soon, so I think I've got that one covered :lol: However, I think something for me to take away is the 'unstable' plastics tip. Do you know if it is common for storage boxes and/or suit covers to contain harmful chemicals? If so, how might you store an item which you would usually put in a storage box?


All plastics, with a few exceptions, are prone to off-gassing. That would include those great plastic storage tubs that we all love to use. The only things I keep in them are modern field gear, which is itself made from synthetics such as nylon and plastic, and likely just as unstable in the long run. I'd rather all my stuff be in acid free boxes, but hey, nobody's perfect.

Oh, and I'm glad to hear your not dressing up as a Corpsman. Your uniforms will thank you in 50 years.

#13 15armyairforce

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 01:28 PM

Just a few tips that work for me both personally and professionally...

1) Be careful not to wrap things up to tight. Uniforms are made of organic material for the most part and that material needs to breathe. Placing them in a garment bag can cause problems if the bag is airtight or close to airtight. I prefer uniform covers and I have a local seamstress that makes them for me out of unbleached cloth. It is easy to do (two pieces of cloth sewn together with a re-enforced hole for the hanger) and she doesn't charge much.

2) Make sure your uniforms/military stuff is in a stable environment (which it sounds like it will be). You don't want your items subjected to wild changes in temp and humidity.

3) Be careful with plastic bins. I have seen white clothing (including a wedding dress) turn a horrible yellow from being stored in a plastic bin (these were items that a patron wanted to donate to our local museum). As mentioned in a previous post, that change happens due to the off-gassing that occurs in certain plastics. If you are going to use them (and I know we all do) refer back to number 1 - you don't want to make these tubs airtight!

4) As for hangers I prefer wood but I am gradually wrapping all of my wooden hangers with unbleached muslin. This prevents the wood from reacting with the uniform material and it gives more padded support.

5) In regards to chemical insect treatments...it is a personal choice. I tend to stay away from mothballs. If you are not careful, direct contact with cloth, leather, etc. can result in horrible damage. The smell, which is off-gassing, can also cause stains on certain things. Finally (and this is personal) I just don't like that smell.

6) Use our advice to do what works best for you!!!!!!!!

#14 J_Andrews

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 03:06 PM

Just a word on Those Plastic Tubs We All Love;

This is the season LOW prices. The retail stores (home, hardware, etc.) stock great quantities, in many shapes and sizes, to serve the Off-We-Go-to-College crowd. Years ago, when I noticed them on cutrate sale, I took my stuff out of cardboard and put in in the Tubs. In many cases, I lined the bottoms and sides with newsprint paper (as available from storage and moving outfits such as U-Haul). I also used (recycled!) the cardbaord tubes from rolls of paper towels (flattened a bit) for leather scabbards and such, to isolate them from webbing, etc.

Women know and appreciate METAL tins, such as commonly used for holiday cookies. I used these (rectangular where avaialble) for small items, including insignia. WARNING: Do NOT "steal" these from your women! Hell hath no fury like a female denied her CONTAINERS. Get your own! Thrift stores often have them (the cans, not the women!) at thrifty prices.

I abandoned true mothballs long ago and substituted cedar wood, which is available in various shapes and sizes. About once a year I would "restore" these by snading them (taking off the outer, used-up layer).

#15 Corpsmancollector

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Posted 04 August 2010 - 12:35 AM

Excellent advice.

This is the bible on all matters of artifact preservation - a good thing to have for those concerned:

MUSEUM REGISTRATION METHODS - 5th Edition
Publisher: American Association of Museums
Format: Paper
Number of pages: 516 pages
Date published: 2010
ISBN: 978-1-933253-15-2


Thanks for so many detailed responses! It's much appreciated.

Bluehawk, Thanks for the recommendation on the book. I'll head over to Amazon and see if I can pick up a copy, it would definitely be useful to have around :thumbsup:

#16 Corpsmancollector

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Posted 04 August 2010 - 12:42 AM

Just a few tips that work for me both personally and professionally...

1) Be careful not to wrap things up to tight. Uniforms are made of organic material for the most part and that material needs to breathe. Placing them in a garment bag can cause problems if the bag is airtight or close to airtight. I prefer uniform covers and I have a local seamstress that makes them for me out of unbleached cloth. It is easy to do (two pieces of cloth sewn together with a re-enforced hole for the hanger) and she doesn't charge much.

2) Make sure your uniforms/military stuff is in a stable environment (which it sounds like it will be). You don't want your items subjected to wild changes in temp and humidity.

3) Be careful with plastic bins. I have seen white clothing (including a wedding dress) turn a horrible yellow from being stored in a plastic bin (these were items that a patron wanted to donate to our local museum). As mentioned in a previous post, that change happens due to the off-gassing that occurs in certain plastics. If you are going to use them (and I know we all do) refer back to number 1 - you don't want to make these tubs airtight!

4) As for hangers I prefer wood but I am gradually wrapping all of my wooden hangers with unbleached muslin. This prevents the wood from reacting with the uniform material and it gives more padded support.

5) In regards to chemical insect treatments...it is a personal choice. I tend to stay away from mothballs. If you are not careful, direct contact with cloth, leather, etc. can result in horrible damage. The smell, which is off-gassing, can also cause stains on certain things. Finally (and this is personal) I just don't like that smell.

6) Use our advice to do what works best for you!!!!!!!!


Thanks for the detailed recommendations 15armyairforce!

1) I'm fairly sure the suit covers I'm currently using give the uniform space to breath but I will double check. They have a main zip front, which I leave partially open at the top and a large hole for the hanger to fit through which allows for ventilation.

2) The temperature and environment is a stable one, as of the current time. Not too hot, not too cold! :thumbsup:

3) This is something I'm going to have to seriously look into as it seems a complex issue. Maybe using some unbleached cloth as a liner and then putting the field gear in the plastic tubs might be an option.

4) I'm definitely going to go with your example here and pad the hangers with unbleached muslin.

5) I've not had any insect damage to my collection as yet (touch wood) thus there isn't a need for mothballs just yet, although it might be useful to have some on hand.

6) Thanks again!

#17 Corpsmancollector

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Posted 04 August 2010 - 12:45 AM

Just a word on Those Plastic Tubs We All Love;

This is the season LOW prices. The retail stores (home, hardware, etc.) stock great quantities, in many shapes and sizes, to serve the Off-We-Go-to-College crowd. Years ago, when I noticed them on cutrate sale, I took my stuff out of cardboard and put in in the Tubs. In many cases, I lined the bottoms and sides with newsprint paper (as available from storage and moving outfits such as U-Haul). I also used (recycled!) the cardbaord tubes from rolls of paper towels (flattened a bit) for leather scabbards and such, to isolate them from webbing, etc.

Women know and appreciate METAL tins, such as commonly used for holiday cookies. I used these (rectangular where avaialble) for small items, including insignia. WARNING: Do NOT "steal" these from your women! Hell hath no fury like a female denied her CONTAINERS. Get your own! Thrift stores often have them (the cans, not the women!) at thrifty prices.

I abandoned true mothballs long ago and substituted cedar wood, which is available in various shapes and sizes. About once a year I would "restore" these by snading them (taking off the outer, used-up layer).


We all love a good storage container! :lol:

As you say, you can buy them cheap and off-the-rack in just about any shape or size. However, I think the way to go might be to make a lining for the boxes prior to putting field gear/uniforms in them. My mom's a good seamstress and I'm into textiles, so I'm sure we can come up with something between the two of us! I often use metal tins too, for things like insignia or odds and ends :)

Edited by Corpsmancollector, 04 August 2010 - 12:46 AM.


#18 nkomo

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Posted 04 August 2010 - 02:21 PM

Since I collect mainly modern uniforms, moths are not a major problem. However, the uniforms that are stored in tote boxes are also stored with cedar. All my boxes are lined with either a bed sheet or muslin fabric.

A large portion of my DCU collection and gear are hung from commercial clothing racks. These comemrcial racks will occasionally pop-up at my local flea market for $15 or $20. They are difficult to get home when all you own is a small Nissan Altima, but I find them to be ideal. I can hang at least 50-100 uniforms on the circular ones. It may not be the best option for a person who owns wool uniforms, but it works for my cotton uniforms.

I know some people don't like dehumidifiers, but for my geographical location, they are a NECESSITY! Humidity where I live is extremely high for the better part of the year (60% or higher). I run a dehumidifer 24/7 most of the year and also have a floor fan going to keep the air circulating. I get anywhere between 3-5 gallons a day out of my dehumidifier.

#19 Alonzo

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Posted 04 August 2010 - 08:15 PM

I should mention here as well that in relation to shearling jackets.
NEVER hang them on a coat hanger...they need to be stored laid out flat!!!
It is a pain in the butt since this takes up a lot of space...though given the weight of the jacket it WILL tear out the shoulders if left on a coat hanger.

Another hint is air movement in your storage room. Have an oscillating fan running that keeps air moving...the moth does not like to be disturbed so any air movement will help.

I use garment bags for some of the stuff and put naphthalene balls in the bottom of the bag. I have no problem with a smell if it prevents moth damage, though admittedly if the smell is too strong it can be annoying...enter...the fan!!!

So far I have only had a couple of instances of moth s on the woolen garments...luckily nothing damaged bad enough to render worthless...it was an eye opening experience.

Cheers

#20 Corpsmancollector

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Posted 06 August 2010 - 12:33 AM

Since I collect mainly modern uniforms, moths are not a major problem. However, the uniforms that are stored in tote boxes are also stored with cedar. All my boxes are lined with either a bed sheet or muslin fabric.

A large portion of my DCU collection and gear are hung from commercial clothing racks. These comemrcial racks will occasionally pop-up at my local flea market for $15 or $20. They are difficult to get home when all you own is a small Nissan Altima, but I find them to be ideal. I can hang at least 50-100 uniforms on the circular ones. It may not be the best option for a person who owns wool uniforms, but it works for my cotton uniforms.

I know some people don't like dehumidifiers, but for my geographical location, they are a NECESSITY! Humidity where I live is extremely high for the better part of the year (60% or higher). I run a dehumidifer 24/7 most of the year and also have a floor fan going to keep the air circulating. I get anywhere between 3-5 gallons a day out of my dehumidifier.



Holy cow Arch! That must be a sucker for your electricity bill? :pinch:

I'm going to see if there are any spare 'dust sheets' (spare bed sheets that are no longer in use as my mom calls them) at my folks and I might attempt to sew a little elastic around the tops so it fits snug in a storage box.

Commercial clothing racks aren't a bad idea either and I may have to get one temporarily whilst I figure out space :thumbsup:

#21 Corpsmancollector

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Posted 06 August 2010 - 12:35 AM

I should mention here as well that in relation to shearling jackets.
NEVER hang them on a coat hanger...they need to be stored laid out flat!!!
It is a pain in the butt since this takes up a lot of space...though given the weight of the jacket it WILL tear out the shoulders if left on a coat hanger.

Another hint is air movement in your storage room. Have an oscillating fan running that keeps air moving...the moth does not like to be disturbed so any air movement will help.

I use garment bags for some of the stuff and put naphthalene balls in the bottom of the bag. I have no problem with a smell if it prevents moth damage, though admittedly if the smell is too strong it can be annoying...enter...the fan!!!

So far I have only had a couple of instances of moth s on the woolen garments...luckily nothing damaged bad enough to render worthless...it was an eye opening experience.

Cheers


Hey Alonzo,

In relation to shearling jackets; I've recently purchased a couple of WWII flight jackets (M-422A & AN-J-3A) which have moulton collars. Is it best not to hang them up?

Thanks for the advice gents!

#22 ColtM1911

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Posted 12 August 2010 - 07:36 PM

I use unbuffered acid free tissue paper to wrap all my old webgear. It works GREAT, and i would highly recomend it!

Here is where i got mine, its best to purchase a whole roll of the tissue paper as it is not that expensive and the roll will last you a very long time.

http://www.hollinger...mp;searchtype=C


David.

#23 Gregg

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 04:58 PM

I have my dad's ww2 navy uniform , laid out flat in a cedar chest with moth balls. It has been stored for over 60 yrs this way

#24 LtRGFRANK

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Posted 24 August 2010 - 11:23 AM

uniforms_896.jpg uniforms_897.jpg

I store My Uniforms in a free standing clothes closet made by Rubbermaid(Quit snickering Lewis) It zips up tight but has mesh to breathe. I lay Herbal Moth packets on the bottom. Never had a problem with Moths Etc. I have the room kept constant temp with low Humidity. My Canvas web gear is in WWII foot Lockers and a Metal Cabinet with Moth and Cricket protection. Robert

Edited by LtRGFRANK, 24 August 2010 - 11:24 AM.


#25 Bluehawk

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Posted 24 August 2010 - 02:45 PM

I use unbuffered acid free tissue paper to wrap all my old webgear. It works GREAT, and i would highly recomend it!

Here is where i got mine, its best to purchase a whole roll of the tissue paper as it is not that expensive and the roll will last you a very long time.

http://www.hollinger...mp;searchtype=C
David.

Perfect...


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