My Cart

Winterizing the Farm…

Yes, we do have a farm here at the Batten Conservation Laboratory!

Not a conventional farm, even though I believe most of us would not mind having a couple bovines, hens, rabbits, and canned vegetables on hand in preparation for a harsh Virginian winter… No, our farm is a “Tank Farm”, yes Ma’am.

This farm contains 6 steel tanks in which many bits and pieces of the USS Monitor are being treated with electrolytic reduction: copper alloy pipes, railings from the engine room, more pipes, stanchions, engine throttle elements, plates and other unidentified metallic parts of the vessel.

This past week and through the end of October (or later), the conservation (dream) team is working on maintenance of these tanks. We are cleaning them and assessing the objects’ conditions. We are deconcreting the pieces that really need it, as always, to allow the salts to be released more readily into solution. We are also cleaning the anodes, making sure the electrical connections are good, changing solutions and taking samples for chloride analysis.

We will continue to monitor the salt concentrations of the tanks over the coming year and the solutions will be changed when necessary… until we can isolate each piece for final treatment.

So, that’s our farm… we don’t raise chickens, goats, or vegetables, we raise… artifacts… and sometimes algae on them for authenticity…

Here are a couple action shots:

Will cleaning pipes removed from treatment tanks in the Tank Farm

Mike and Eric securing and cleaning objects’ connections

The picture below shows an inscription found on a copper alloy valve during deconcretion:

James Gregory


The valve manufacturer, James Gregory, was located on Cannon Street in New York City.

Always neat to find such inscriptions on a fragile original surface, 150 years after being buried underwater.

Hope everyone has a great week!

Scroll to Top