A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

a multi-faceted look at the middle east, and the middle west

vintage wonders: the AUB Vacufume

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on October 27, 2007

Earlier this week I snuck into the AUB library to rifle through a few old books. Books there were a plenty, although not many students, curiously enough.

As for “old”, I found something hiding beneath a stairwell that looked like it had begun its days when Lebanon was a newborn:


Of course, I had to take a photo – I couldn’t imagine what purpose this 1950s Space Age-style container might have.

Happily, as I was uploading the photo, curiosity prevailed, and I googled “vacufume”.

Thanks to several archivists’ listservers, I now know what a Vacufume is. Its a fumigation chamber, designed to kill library and archival pests – termites, beetles, silverfish, and lice, among other unwelcome critters. (If this sentence hasn’t already exhausted your interest in the subject, I highly recommend the Getty Conservation Institute’s Inert Gases in the Control of Museum Insect Pests. For more on vacufume chambers specifically, see pages 65-66.)

This made the “wash” cycle and pressure gauge more comprehensible – not a water wash, but a nitrogen (“anoxic”) wash.



The books I had hoped to find proved to be less useful than I had hoped – but the library excursion was very much a learning experience. AUB: where the “B” stands for “Bug-free” :).


One Response to “vintage wonders: the AUB Vacufume”

  1. Souraya said

    Oh wow. I wish I had seen that before, I’ve spent countless hours in that library and never encountered such a machine. I’m going to be returning home in the winter, so maybe I can check it out then.

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