Paul L. Benson
Common environmental sources of sulfur pollution in museums are well documented. Less well-known are sources of sulfur that may have been incorporated into the artworks themselves or built into the fabric of the building. Historically, sulfur has had a multitude of uses, including as a strengthening material in hollowware jewelry, as an adhesive in ceramic repairs, and as a cement to anchor iron rods in stone. More recently it has been used as a joining material for cast iron pipes in the plumbing trade, as a binder for graphite in pencils, as an electrical insulator, and as decorative inlays in furniture and musical instruments. Several examples of these unusual occurrences will be highlighted, and a case history of building construction-related corrosion of ancient bronzes while on display will be presented along with remedial measures taken to prevent future contamination of these objects.