Re: Thanks for the link...moreDecember 15 2010 at 8:20 AM
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|Bill D |
from IP address 188.8.131.52
Response to Thanks for the link...more
The case that became highly publicized was the Waterbury dial painters but it was an industry wide practice to wet the brush with the lips to maintain a fine point. I personally know a lady in her 80's that worked in an aircraft instrument company that told me it was a common practice there also. I don't mean to downplay the seriousness of this, but some of the ex Waterbury ladies died in their 90's which was beyond normal life expectency of the time.
Having grown up in the era of lead paint, asbestos, cigarettes with no filters, and toys that would be banned today, and working as a young man in the telephone industry filing and brushing lead sleeving, I guess I would say to use precautions when working on these watches but I don't feel you need to avoid them at all costs. I would avoid long term exposure as with any hazardous materials.
Remember that is just one mans opinion.
As to radium burns on the dials versus sunlight, I would offer that I have NOS dials (with hands attached) that have spent their life in an envelope and some have the marks. Then again there are old watches with radium painted hands, worn for years, and without the burning. So possibly it depends on the dial coating?
BTW the Waterbury plant where the radium dials were made is now a public housing complex and has monitoring devices to detect radioactivity levels.