Posted: Jan 22, 2013 1:03 PM by Katy Harris KXLF News
BUTTE-Several ghost signs in Butte are around 100 years old and there is a secret ingredient that has allowed them to last so long.
Historical Preservation Officer Jim Jarvis says lead paint was used to create ghost signs around town.
Back then lead was used as a paste, then pigments or colors were incorporated to create a range of colors.
White lead was the base element.
Now that the ghost signs are aging the lead paint is a bit of an issue.
Jarvis says lead paint ghost signs that will be restored will have materials captured on site and disposed of properly.
Jarvis says, "That's why the signs have lasted as long as they have. In fact in many cases the older signs bleed through the newer signs. I believe that was a function of the older signs used a lot of lead in their application and a lesser amount in the newer signs."
Jarvis adds that white lead would be dissolved into a linseed oil matrix to create the signs.