Jump to content

Today's movie tip: Radium Girls


Recommended Posts

  • 2 weeks later...

watched it awhile back. tragic and fascinating at the same time. I have a few dollar watches that have the radium. I don't touch em and they sit in sealed plastic bags. you can really tell the difference when I hit them with a UV light. even some at 100 years old they light up like nothing we use today. I've been told you can work on them with gloves and a mask, in a well ventilated area. But to wash your hands and clothes after. nah. I'll just leave them where they're at to look at them. 

good flick. .

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just Googled this topic and learned that "almost every watch between 1917 and the early 1970s used a form of radium paint", and that "the easiest way to tell if a watch is radioactive is to pick up a simple Geiger counter". However, the article also mentions other ways or hints to determine if a watch uses radium.

I didn't realize how dangerous radium is until I read the article and considering that many of the watches we enjoy working on are pre-1970s, I'm going to be more cautious in the future. 

Here's the article.

Edited by VWatchie
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is true that our 'radium girls' developed cancer as a result of unknowingly ingesting quantities of radium. But 'other girls' have died from tobacco.

If you have a fine watch with a well preserved radium dial, such as my Longines cal 18.88Z,  relax a little and realse that you are in no danger unless you eat the dial.

Radium itself in the quantities used on dials does not glow. It was the incorporated fluorescent zinc sulphide that glowed. But over the years this has been degraded by the radiation. Perhaps into zinc oxide. I asked Dr. Roland Ranfft to do a little experiment by painting zinc sulphide onto the non-glowing ancient dial numbers and hands. The newly applied zinc suphide glowed giving the dial its original look. He now supplies activated zinc sulphide for anyone who is a good painter or who can outsource the work. Alternatively, the modern phosphors such as Luminova will also glow permanently, and more brightly than zinc sulphide, when applied to old radium dials. But the 'look' will be less authentic.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

46 minutes ago, Jack75 said:

 Other girls' have died from tobacco.

We are all different mate and all prone to different diseases depending on our genetics. Cancers , heart diseases, respiratory issues, overactive immune illnesses,  underactive immune illnesses,dementias etc, etc.  Its about edging your bets mate, if cancer runs in your family then smoking is going to run your risk that bit closer. If heart disease then try to eat a healthy diet. Only fair to state the obvious that one person can be more susceptible to radium effect than another person. Precautions should ALWAYS be taken when working on old radium dials, but the risk of the individual should always be down to the individual and not influenced in any way.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

14 hours ago, Jack75 said:

I asked Dr. Roland Ranfft to do a little experiment by painting zinc sulphide onto the non-glowing ancient dial numbers and hands.

So, was that done without first removing any of the old fluorescent zinc sulphides? I guess that goes without saying, but I thought I'd ask nevertheless.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

The old zinc sulphide is mixed with the radium and cannot itself be removed. The fresh zing sulphide was just layered on top of the old mixed lume.

On 10/28/2022 at 12:25 AM, Neverenoughwatches said:

We are all different mate ...

Thanks for the genetics lesson, but off topic.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry N-E-W, I was called away to dinner. What I was going on to say is that the radiation sensitivity to animals including humans (the LD50/30 - 50% die within 30 days) is species dependent (elephants are more sensitive than humans) but does not depend upon the genetic makeup of the animal. We can all safely wear radium watches whatever the condition of our hearts.

btw did the dog die?

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Jack75 said:

Sorry N-E-W, I was called away to dinner. What I was going on to say is that the radiation sensitivity to animals including humans (the LD50/30 - 50% die within 30 days) is species dependent (elephants are more sensitive than humans) but does not depend upon the genetic makeup of the animal. We can all safely wear radium watches whatever the condition of our hearts.

btw did the dog die?

🤔 are you saying that we all react equally to radium ?. Interesting . Lol no the gorgeous husky is having a crazy moment,  eyes open and teeth showing. 😄 . I may be wierd at times but why would i have a photo of a dead husky for a profile picture 🤷‍♂️🤦‍♂️🙄.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share



  • Recently Browsing

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Topics

  • Posts

    • 👍👍 Thankyou for the advice, you are right these youtube vids are as I like to say.. very shiny but not a true representation, but hey they got me interested so not all bad, I am going very slowly with this watch it wasn't super expensive but not silly cheap either I have to be carful what I do here as I would still like to use the watch and also learn. I might look for a larger pocket watch next time as the movements seem a little bigger, better for my sausage fingers!! lol Cheers Scott..  
    • Normally in fields other than watch repair people like to practice on something disposable first. Or something bigger like a 6497 clone relatively cheap off eBay. But how hard could watch repair be? Yes others have noticed that the videos make watch repair looks so the simple or so fast. Somebody recommended a video for me to watch to evaluate so I won't say what and it just so fun and fast and so the person skipped over a whole bunch of steps. But the person had a huge following whole bunch a likes on the video and was probably making money. The videos are not necessarily a true representation and as an added bonus just because you do a YouTube video doesn't mean you actually know what you're doing. Oh and it's not just YouTube videos on watch repair. I've seen YouTube product reviews like a CNC milling machine I purchased where the one that was reviewed versus the one that I got was a little bit different but you always expect that with Chinese stuff. But the person reviewing it made everything like to watch repair videos looks so a simple the first time you did something it worked. As why like some of the YouTube tells I watch for the show the bloopers of whatever were at least I'll tell you took them 10 tries to get this right versus everything looks perfect. I've even tried to convince somebody with YouTube channel to show a video of these of the watches I can't fix but they won't because that doesn't look fun and exciting. So yes watches are really tiny and it takes practice to do things and unfortunately practicing on live patients doesn't always have the desired outcome but who knows we won't know until you try just be careful when you take the balance wheel out not the stretcher break the hairspring anymore than it already is. You also want to look in preferably with a loop carefully between the balance wheel hairspring and see what you seek is angle for your video isn't right you might see something that I can't to the video.
    • Hi. I have an old Bulova Watchmaster ultrasonic cleaning machine that I have used for years. One thing that has always bothered me is the drying unit. While drying, the rinsing fluids drip into the guts of the machine. Very messy and I am always wary of potential ignition.  Was looking for a dedicated dryer and came across the Elmadry series. A unit like the Elmadry TD30. Cousins has there here: https://www.cousinsuk.com/product/hot-cold-air-dryer-elma  When the heat is on, these units dry at 70°C (158°F). That feels pretty hot to me. Looking for opinions or experience with this as a solution. Regards, Stu
    • Ha Ha, you think its screwing up your brain!! This is the first watch I have ever pulled apart and I cannot get around how small everything is!! I'm used to screwing big things together, you watch a few vids read a few walk throughs and the pictures look normal but when your actually doing it is Sooooo small!! I'll pull the balance out tonight and get a couple of pics and report back, thanks for taking a look Cheers Scott..
    • Yes that's an extremely weird video as they hairspring is not moving at all. Which is basically normally impossible. And the easiest way to figure out what's going on would be to take the balance bridge off and see what happens. Normally I'm a big believer of leaving the balance in to make tweaking on the hairspring etc. but I think we actually need to get the balance wheel out to see how things look. Then another video I can't really see what I need to see for one thing the video I think is upside down as screwing with my brain right now.
×
×
  • Create New...