Friday, 11 January 2013
As all good metrologists know weights can change with deposits from muck and other debris in the air and guess where all that carpet dirt has gone? Teapot is careful not to risk the accuracy of these weights by disturbing dust through dusting but carpet cleaning is like a debris tsunami.
Teapot must now use her skills in the lingua franca to speak to the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures in Sevres near Paris. They are the custodian of a small cylinder of platinum iridium alloy weighing just one kilo. In fact The Kilogram. The ultimate reference standard for all kilos. Yet over time pollutants add to its mass requiring a delicate cleaning operation. Not just a bit of spit and polish but the touch of a chamois leather soaked in ethanol and ether along with a subtle application of steam. Dozens of replicas of The Kilogram are found around the world but all are shipped back to Paris from time to time to have the special authentic French cleaning treatment. Too gentle a clean leaves contaminants behind whilst too much of the elbow grease makes matters worse or erodes the metal itself.
So task one for the week ahead is for Teapot to search out the secret formula of this operation and gently restore the pristine quality of the pounds and ounces. No more cleaning. No more dusting until all is well with them again. Even if that means a trip to Paris......
What an incentive?!
Posted by Stephen Sellers at 22:50