But it's not just a "matter of degree" as if all hinges were equal to all other hinges. Using less moisture on common hinges available today is only a coping method. It's to make these fairly bad hinges less bad, to make them stick less aggressively to album pages and, more importantly, to stamps. Less moisture helps, but I'm not sure it helps all that much. And that's because of the glue on the hinges. It's aggressive and will not give way easily when the hinge is removed, certainly not in the old way Dennison hinges gave way. Because of its glue, the old Dennison hinges held relatively well, but also gave way when the stamp was removed -- a little miracle of modern glue science, in a way. Modern hinges, even with less moisture, do not do that. Less moisture makes the damage you are likely to get less damaging, but that's all it does.
And what is "less," anyway? My "less" may seem too slobbery to you. Or maybe it seems like not nearly enough moisture. "Less" is not a very scientific term, but just advice from one collector to another. I've seen "hinge moistening" pens with foam tips on them for sale, a new product. Maybe they're more accurate in the "measuring moisture" department. Who knows, but I doubt it.
As for recommending a particular brand of modern hinges (DennisEn or other), that's never going to work because all modern hinges, to the best of my knowledge, are made by the same manufacturer. They're the same hinges. That manufacturer of hinges is, or so I have been told many times, Prinz. If there are other manufacturers, I've never heard of them. I'd be happy to be corrected if there are. If it's true, however, that means all those "different" brands of hinges are the same hinges.
Not content to just "believe" something I'd heard (a common problem in an age where science is often rejected by those positive they know the truth), I ran some tests. Over a period of months, I purchased every brand of hinge commonly sold by modern stamp dealers, on Amazon
, and at stamp shows. Or I tried to, anyway, as I'm sure I missed a few. And I tested them. I just attached them to old album pages, lining up a dozen or twenty hinges of each brand and then labeling them. I let them sit for a few days to dry well. And then I gently removed each hinge, and I noted its degree of paper removal as well as how hard it was to remove. You want to know the result?
Well, stay tuned for the next episode of Hinges of Death brought to you by Crystal Mounts, the Stamp Mounts of Death!
Okay, just joking. Here's what I found. Every single hinge was awful. Simple. They all -- every brand -- performed in exactly the same way. Every single brand of hinge tore off paper badly, so badly that they would likely damage the back of stamps. And, yes, I moistened the hinges very lightly. No slobber was involved. The only exceptions were old Dennison (with an "o") and old Fold-O hinges. Both worked much better. Note that new Dennisen (with an "e") performed just as badly as the other hinges. So did new "Fold-O" hinges now sold in Canada by Unitrade. These are not the old Fold-O hinges of yesteryear. They are a completely different, modern hinge, no doubt sourced from the one hinge manufacturer Prinz. Both new Fold-O and new Dennisen (with an "e") removed from the album pages just as badly as all the others, so that's my proof. It's their modern, aggressive glue that makes this happen. And I am convinced all hinges have the same glue.
[How in the world anyone trust a hinge manufacturer that obviously steals the name of another hinge maker is beyond me. "Dennisen" is an outrageous attempt to appear to be the old "Dennison" hinges that are no longer made. If you're not bothered by this sort of thing, I have a beautiful "Ferraree" I'd be happy to sell you, as well as a nice "Rollex" watch. It's cheating, and nothing less. That collectors buy this stuff just floors me. Come on, people!]
As for comparing aging tests on paper products with saccharin tolerance tests on living mice, this makes no sense. No offense intended, but accelerated paper aging is entirely scientific and noting that sometimes medical science (which has nothing to do with paper aging) has over-reacted to the results of their tests on living creatures is just way out of the ball park as a way to raise doubts about paper aging testing.