Where does the smell of old books come from?

We all know that Familiar smell. We are visiting our Grandparents, Have had a collection forever, or are visiting the Library.

With Books and Manuscripts being printed in Boston since the early 1600's that givesBoston Movers an opportunity to see some really old books. I have been in so many homes, and Libraries as a mover in Boston and have packed many old, and special collections. I personally Love this smell and I was wondering why do they smell this way?

Here's the Science behind it all

By Lisa Winter Where Does The Smell of Old Books Come From? | IFLScience.

Old books have a distinctive smell that can make any book lover’s heart melt. Matija Strlic of University College London described it as “a combination of grassy notes with a tang of acids and a hint of vanilla over an underlying mustiness, this unmistakable smell is as much a part of the book as its contents.”

The secret to the scent is within the hundreds of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that make up the book’s paper pages, ink, and adhesive. Over time, the VOCs break down, releasing the chemicals into the air that are picked up by our noses. New books also have a trademark aroma, but it isn’t quite as developed as their older counterparts. Additionally, different materials used in manufacturing the book will alter the VOC profile.

Compound Chemistry reports that hints of almond are created by benzaldehyde, while vanillin emits notes of vanilla. Sweet smells come from toluene and ethyl benzene, and 2-ethyl hexanol produces a light floral fragrance. Additionally, the book can also retain some odors it has been exposed to during its history, such as smoke, water damage, or pressed flowers between the pages.

And there you have it. The Science Behind Old Smelling Books.

If you have Special Book Collections that need to be packed Professionally Please give us a call.

We will handle your books with care, we will use acid free paper to wrap each book individually, wear gloves so that the oils from our hands do not damage the sensitive bindings, and place the books properly in the box so the bindings are best protected during transit.

www.usamover.com 800-766-7724