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Re: Cosmoline

   >Uhhh, don't mean to sound stoo-pid here, but just what the hell is 
   >"cosmoline" anyway?

   Cosmoline is the waxy green coating that is sprayed onto the engines
   and the whole damn engine compartment at the factory. It is supposed
   to slow down the oxidation of the aluminum parts, as well as
   preserving the rubber parts. After a little while it starts to look
   pretty bad.

Cosmoline -- trade name for petrolatum

petrolatum -- a neutral unctuous oderless tasteless substance obtained
from petroleum and used especially in oitments and dressings.

Basically, it's "glop" that's used as a preservative. It preserves real
well! It's used for long-term storage of (especially) metal widgets in
potentially corrosive environments (damp warehouses in tropical salty
climates, etc.). The military love it -- they use it to keep rifles and
other toys in "mint" condition forever, or until needed for use. Kind
of a pain to remove, as I recall it really needs a solvent (e.g., kero-
sene) and serious scrubbing to clean it off whatever it's protecting;
it shrugs off water, soap, etc.

I am surprised that it would be used in engine compartments, as I didn't
think it stood up to "high" termperatures that well. I'm also not sure
of how it would react with rubber and other chemically-interesting ma-

On the other hand, "cosmoline" also gets used (like "kleenix" or "coke"),
as an improper noun, to cover a whole range of generic preservative coat-
ings of assorted pedigree (and brand name, like "Kleenix" or "Pepsi").