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´╗┐Title: Forty Centuries of Ink
 - Or, A chronological narrative concerning ink and its backgrounds, introducing incidental observations and deductions, parallels of time and color phenomena, bibliography, chemistry, poetical effusions, citations, anecdotes and curiosa together with some evidence respecting the evanescent character of most inks of to-day and an epitome of chemico-legal ink.
Author: Carvalho, David Nunes
Language: English
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 - Or, A chronological narrative concerning ink and its backgrounds, introducing incidental observations and deductions, parallels of time and color phenomena, bibliography, chemistry, poetical effusions, citations, anecdotes and curiosa together with some evidence respecting the evanescent character of most inks of to-day and an epitome of chemico-legal ink." ***

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Forty Centuries of Ink by David N. Carvalho.







The unfortunate conditions surrounding the almost
universal use of the oddly named commercial and with
few exceptions record inks, and the so-called modern
paper, is the motive for the writing of this book.
The numerous color products of coal tar, now so
largely employed in the preparation of ink, and the
worse material utilized in the manufacture of the hard-
finished writing papers, menace the future preservation
of public and other records. Those who occupy
official position and who can help to ameliorate this
increasing evil, should begin to do so without delay.
Abroad England, Germany and France and at home
Massachusetts and Connecticut have sought to modify
these conditions by legislation and our National Treasury
Department only last year, in establishing a standard
for its ink, gives official recognition of these

There is no "History of Ink;" but of ink history
there is a wealth of material, although historians have
neglected to record information about the very substance
by which they sought to keep and transmit the
chronicles they most desired to preserve. From the
beginning of the Christian era to the present day,
"Ink" literature, exclusive of its etymology, chemical
formulas, and methods of manufacture, has been confined
to brief statements in the encyclopedias, which
but repeat each other. A half dozen original articles,
covering only some particular branch together with a
few treatises more general in their ramifications of
the subject, can also be found. Seventy lines about
"writing ink" covering its history for nearly four
thousand years is all that is said in "The Origin and
Progress of Handwriting," a revised book of hundreds
of pages of Sir Thomas Astle, London, 1876, and once
deemed the very highest authority.

The mass of ancient and comparatively modern documents
which we have inherited, chronicle nothing
about the material with which they were written.
The more valuable of them are disfigured by the
superscription of newer writings over the partially
erased earlier ones, thus rendering the work of
ascertaining their real character most difficult.
Nevertheless, patient research and advanced science have
enabled us to intelligently study and investigate, and
from the evidence thus gained, to state facts and
formulate opinions that may perhaps outlast criticism.

The bibliographical story of "Ink" is replete with
many interesting episodes, anecdotes and poetical effusions.
Its chemical history is a varied and phenomenal
one. Before the nineteenth century the ink
industry was confined to the few. Since then, it has
developed into one of magnificent proportions. The
new departure, due to the discovery and development
of the "Aniline" family of fugitive colors, is noteworthy
as being a step backward which may take years to retrace.

The criminal abuse of ink is not infrequent by evil-
disposed persons who try by secret processes to reproduce
ink phenomena on ancient and modern documents.
While it is possible to make a new ink look
old, the methods that must be employed, will of themselves
reveal to the examiner the attempted fraud, if
he but knows how to investigate.

How to accomplish this as well as to give a chronological
history on the subject of inks generally, both
as to their genesis, the effect of time and the elements,
the determination of the constituents and the constitution
of inks, their value as to lasting qualities, their
removal and restoration, is the object of this work.
There is also included many court cases where the
matter of ink was in controversy; information respecting
ancient MSS. and the implements and other accessories
of ink which have from time to time been
employed in the act of writing.

To make a comprehensive review of the past in its
relationship to ink has been my aim. In the construction
of this work recourse has been had to the so-
called original sources of information. In these, the
diversity of their incomplete statements about different
countries and epochs has offered many obstacles.
In presenting my own deductions and inferences, it is
with a desire to remove any impressions as to this
volume being a mere compilation. "Facts are the
data of all just reasoning, and the elements of all real
knowledge. It follows that he is a wise man who possesses
the greatest store of facts on a given subject.
A book, therefore, which assembles facts from their
scattered sources, may be considered as a useful and
important auxiliary to those who seek them." A prolonged
and continuous intercourse for over a quarter
of a century with ancient and modern MSS., with
books and other literature, with laymen and chemists,
with students and manufacturers, together with the
information and knowledge derived from experiment
and study of results may enable the author to make
the subject fairly clear. Effort has been made to avoid
technical words and phrases in that portion treating
of the Chemistry of Inks.

This work will no doubt be variously considered.
Criticism is expected, indeed it is gladly invited, for
thereby may follow controversy, discussion and perhaps
legislation, which will bring about results beneficial
to those who are to follow after us.


XXVI. INK UTENSILS (Quill PEN v. Steel Pen)
XXXI. MODERN INK BACKGROUNDS (Wood Paper and Safety Paper)
XXXII. CURIOSA (Ink and other Writing Materials)





THE origin of Ink belongs to an era following the
invention of writing. When the development of that
art had advanced beyond the age of stone inscription
or clay tablet, some material for marking with the
reed and the brush was necessary. It was not difficult
to obtain black or colored mixtures for this purpose.
With their advent, forty centuries or more ago, begins
the genesis of ink.

The colored inks of antiquity included the use of a
variety of dyes and pigmentary colors, typical of those
employed in the ancient art of dyeing, in which the
Egyptians excelled and still thought by many to be
one of the lost arts. The Bible and alleged contemporary
and later literature make frequent mention of
black and many colors of brilliant hues.

In tracing the arts of handwriting and dyeing,
some definite facts are to be predicated as to the most
remote history of ink.

The Hebrew word for ink is deyo, so called from its
blackness. As primitively prepared for ritualistic purposes
and for a continuing period of more than two
thousand years, it was a simple mixture of powdered
charcoal or soot with water, to which gum was sometimes

The Arabian methods of making ink (alchiber) were
more complex. Lampblack was first made by the
burning of oil, tar or rosin, which was then commingled
with gum and honey and pressed into small wafers or
cakes, to which water could be added when wanted for

About 1200 years before the Christian era, the Chinese
perfected this method and invented "Indian Ink,"
ostensibly for blackening the surface of raised hieroglyphics,
which "was obtained from the soot produced
by the smoke of pines and the oil in lamps, mixed
with the isinglass (gelatin) of asses' skin, and musk
to correct the odour of the oil." Du Halde cites the
following, as of the time of the celebrated Emperor
Wu-Wong, who flourished 1120 years before Christ:

"As the stone Me (a word signifying blackening
in the Chinese language), which is used to blacken
the engraved characters, can never become white;
so a heart blackened by vices will always retain its

That the art of dyeing was known, valued and applied
among early nations, is abundantly clear. The
allusions to "purple and fine raiment," to "dyed garments,"
to "cloth of many colours," &c., are numerous
in the Bible. In a note to the "Pictorial Bible, after
an allusion to the antiquity of this art, and to the pre-
eminence attached by the ancients to purple beyond
every other color, it is remarked: "It is important
to understand that the word purple, in ancient writings,
does not denote one particular colour."

Many of the names of the dyestuffs have come down
to us, some of them still in use at this time and others
obsolete. They were employed sometimes as ink, and
certain color values given to them, of which the more
important were blue, red, yellow, green, white, black,
purple, gold and silver. Some colors were estimated
symbolically. White was everywhere the symbol of
purity and the emblem of innocence, and, just opposite,
black was held up as an emblem of affliction and

Green was the emblem of freshness, vigor and prosperity.

Blue was the symbol of revelation; it was pre-eminently
the celestial color blessed among heathen
nations, and among the Hebrews it was the Jehovah
color, the symbol of the revered God. Hence, it
was the color predominant in Mosaic ceremonies.

Purple was associated as the dress of kings, with
ideas of royalty and majesty.

Crimson and scarlet, from their resemblance to
blood, became symbolical of life, and also an emblem
of that which was indelible or deeply ingrained.

Later, in Christian times, only five colors were recognized
as fitting for theological meaning or expression:
white, red, green, violet and black.

White was esteemed as being the union of all the
rays of light, and is often referred to as the symbol of
truth and spotless purity. Red was emblematic both
of fire and love, while green from its analogy to the
vegetable world, was indicative of life and hope. Violet
was considered the color of penitence and sorrow.
Blue was forbidden except as a color peculiarly appropriated
to the Virgin Mary, while black represented
universally sorrow, destruction and death.

The art of dyeing was also well understood and
practiced in Persia in the most ancient periods. The
modern Persians have chosen Christ as their patron,
and Bischoff says at present call a dyehouse Christ's
workshop, from a tradition they have that He was of
that profession, which is probably founded on the old
legend "that Christ being put apprentice to a dyer,
His master desired him to dye some pieces of cloth of
different colors; He put them all into a boiler, and
when the dyer took them out he was terribly frightened
on finding that each had its proper color."

This, or a similar legend, occurs in the apocryphal
book entitled, "The First Gospel of the Infancy of
Jesus Christ." The following is the passage:

"On a certain day also, when the Lord Jesus
was playing with the boys, and running about, He
passed by a dyer's shop whose name was Salem,
and there were in his shop many pieces of cloth
belonging to the people of that city, which they
designed to dye of several colors. Then the Lord,
Jesus, going into the dyer's shop, took all the cloths
and threw them into the furnace. When Salem
came home and saw the cloth spoiled, he began to
make a great noise and to chide the Lord Jesus,
saying: 'What hast Thou done, unto me, O thou
son of Mary? Thou hast injured both me and my
neighbors; they all desired their cloths of a proper
color, but Thou hast come and spoiled them all.'
The Lord Jesus replied: 'I will change the color
of every cloth to what color thou desirest,' and
then He presently began to take the cloths out of
the furnace; and they were all dyed of those same
colors which the dyer desired. And when the Jews
saw this surprising miracle they praised God."

The ancients used also a number of tinctures as
ink, among them a brown color, sepia, in Hebrew
tekeleth. As a natural ink its origin antedates every
other ink, artificial or otherwise, in the world. It is a
black-brown liquor, secreted by a small gland into an
oval pouch, and through a connecting duct is ejected
at will by the cuttle fish which inhabits the seas of
Europe, especially the Mediterranean. These fish
constantly employ the contents of their "ink bags"
to discolor the water, when in the presence of enemies,
in order to facilitate their escape from them.

The black broth of the Spartans was composed of
this product. The Egyptians sometimes used it for
coloring inscriptions on stone. It is the most lasting
of all natural ink substances.

So great is the antiquity of artificial ink that the
name of its inventor or date of its invention are alike
unknown. The poet Whitehead refers to it as follows:

     Hard that his name it should not save,
     Who first poured forth the sable wave."

The common black ink of the ancients was essentially
different in composition and less liable to fade
than those used at the present time. It was not a
stain like ours, and when Horace wrote

     "And yet as ink the fairest paper stains,
     So worthless verse pollutes the fairest deeds,"

he must have had in mind the vitriolic ink of his own

But little information relative to black inks of the
intermediate times has come down to us, and it is conveyed
through questioned writings of authors who
flourished about the period of the life of Jesus Christ;
the Younger Pliny and Dioscorides are the most prominent
of them. They present many curious recipes.
One of these, suggested by Pliny, is that the addition
of an infusion of wormwood to ink will prevent the
destruction of MSS. by mice.

From a memoir by M. Rousset upon the pigments
and dyes used by the ancients, it would appear that
the variety was very considerable. Among the white
colors, they were acquainted with white lead; and for
the blacks, various kinds of charcoal and soot were
used. Animal skins were dyed black with gall apples
and sulphate of iron (copper). Brown pigments were
made by mixing different kinds of ochre. Under the
name of Alexander blue, the ancients--Egyptians as
well as Greeks and Romans--used a pigment containing
oxide of copper, and also one containing cobalt.

Fabrics were dyed blue by means of pastel-wood.

Yellow pigments were principally derived from weld,
saffron, and other native plants.

Vermilion, red ochre, and minium (red lead) were
known from a remote antiquity, although the artificial
preparation of vermilion was a secret possessed
only by the Chinese.

The term scarlet as employed in the Old Testament
was used to designate the blood-red color procured
from an insect somewhat resembling cochineal, found
in great quantities in Armenia and other eastern
countries. The Arabian name of the insect is Kermez
(whence crimson). It frequents the boughs of a species
of the ilex tree: on these it lays its eggs in groups,
which become covered with a sort of down, so that
they present the appearance of vegetable galls or
excrescences from the tree itself and are described as
such by Pliny XVI, 12, who also gave it the name of
granum, probably on account of its resemblance to a
grain or berry, which has been adopted by more recent
writers and is the origin of the term "ingrain color"
as now in use. The dye is procured from the female
grub alone, which, when alive is about the size of the
kernel of a cherry and of a dark red-brown color, but
when dead, shrivels up to the size of a grain of wheat
and is covered with a bluish mold. It has an agreeable
aromatic smell which it imparts to that with which
it comes into contact. It was first found in general
use in Europe in the tenth century. About 1550,
cochineal, introduced there from Mexico, was found
to be far richer in coloring matter and therefore gradually
superseded the older dyestuff.

Indigo was used in India and Egypt long before the
Christian era; and it is asserted that blue ribbons
(strips) found on Egyptian mummies 4500 years old
had been dyed with indigo. It was introduced into
Europe only in the sixteenth century.

The use of madder as a red dyestuff dates from very
early times. Pliny mentions it as being employed by
the Hindoos, Persians and Egyptians. In the middle
ages the names sandis, warantia, granza, garancia,
were applied to madder, the latter (garance) being
still retained in France. The color yielding substance
resides almost entirely in the roots.

Chilzon was the name given by the ancient Hebrews
to a blue dye procured from a species of shell-fish.

Herodotus, B. C. 443, asserts that on the shores of
the Caspian Sea lived a people who painted the forms
of animals on their garments with vegetable dyes:

"They have trees whose leaves possess a peculiar
property; they reduce them to powder, and then
strip them in water; this forms a dye or coloring
matter with which they paint on their garments the
figures of animals. The impression is such that it
cannot be washed out; it appears, indeed, to be
woven into the cloth, and wears as long as the garment

We are informed by another ancient writer that the
pagan nations were accustomed to array the images
of their gods in robes of purple. When the prophet
Ezekiel took up a lamentation for Tyre, he spoke of
the "blue and purple from the isles of Elishah" in
which the people were clothed. This reference is said
to doubtless refer to the islands of the Aegian Sea,
from whence many claim , the Tyrians obtained the
shell-fish,--the murex and papura, which produced the
dark-blue and bright-scarlet coloring materials, the
employment of which contributed so much to the fame
of ancient Tyre.

Pliny the younger confirms this statement:

"The Tyrian-purple was the juice of the Purpurea,
a shell-fish, the veins of its neck and jaws
secreting this royal color, but so little was obtained
that it was very rare and cost one thousand
Denarii (about $150.00) per pound."

A more modern writer in discussing a crimson or
ruby color says:

"By a mistaken sense the Latin word purpurus,
has been called purple, by all the English and
French writers."

Arbuthnot, London, 1727, in his book "Ancient
Coins, Weights and Measures," as the result of his
examinations of the most ancient records estimates:

"The Purple was very dear; there were two
sorts of Fishes whereof it was made, the Pelagii,
(which were those that were caught in the deep)
and the Buccini. The Pelagium per Pound was
worth 50 Nummi, (8 s. 10 3/4 d.), and the Buceinunt
double that, viz. 17 s. 8 3/4 d. (Harduin
reads a hundred Pounds at that price.) The Tyrian
double Dye per Pound could scarce be bought
for L35 9 s., 1 3/4 d."

The very ancient writers state that the most esteemed
of the Tyrian purples were those which compared
in color with "coagulated bullocks' blood."
This estimation seems to go back to the time of the
Phoenicians, who were excessively fond of the redder
shades of purple which they obtained also from several
varieties of shell-fish and comprehended under two
species; one (Buccinum) found in cliffs, and the other
(Pelagia) which was captured at sea. The first was
found on the coasts of the Mediterranean and Atlantic.
The Atlantic shells afforded the darkest color, while
those of the Phoenician coast itself yielded scarlet
shades of wonderful intensity.

Respecting the cost and durability of the Tyrian
purple, it is related that Alexander the Great found in
the treasury of the Persian monarch 5,000 quintals of
Hermione purple of great beauty, and 180 years old,
and that it was worth $125 of our money per pound
weight. The price of dyeing a pound of wool in the
time of Augustus is given by Pliny, and that price is
equal to about $160 of our money. It is probable
that his remarks refer to some particular tint or quality
of color easily distinguished, although not at all clearly
defined by Pliny. He also mentions a sort of purple,
or hyacinth, which was worth, in the time of Julius
Caesar, 100 denarii (about $15 of our money) per

The best authorities of the present day, however,
are of opinion that the celebrated Tyrian-purple was
extracted from a mollusk known as the Janthina prolongata,
a shell abundant in the Mediterranean and
very common near Narbonne, where the Tyrian purple
dye-works were in operation at least six hundred
years before Christ.

The price current of some of the inks and colors of
antiquity, as quoted by Arbuthnot, are cited herewith:

Armenian purple 30 hs.=4 s. 10 1/3 d.

India purple from one Denarius, or 7 3/4 d. to 30
Denarii, 19 s. 4 1 2 d.

Pelagium, the juice of one sort fishes that dyed
purple, 50 hs.=8 s. 0 7/8 d.

Buccinum the juice of the other fish that dyed
purple, 100 hs.=16 s. 1 3/4 d.

Cinnabar 50 hs.=8 s. 0 7/8 d.

Tarentine red purple, price not mentioned.

Melinum, a sort of colour that came from Melos,
one Nummus,=1 15/16 d.

Paretonium, a sort of colour that came from aegypt,
very lasting, 6 Denarii,=3 s. 10 1/2 d.

Myrobalanus, 2 Denarii,=1 s. 3 1/2 d.

The last-named substance is the fruit of the Termi-
nalia, a product of China and the East Indies, best
known as Myrabolams and must have been utilized
solely for the tannin they contain, which Loewe
estimates to be identical with ellago-tannic acid, later
discovered in the divi-divi, a fruit grown in South
America, and bablah which is also a fruit of a species
of Acacia, well known also for its gum.

No monuments are extant of the ancient Myrabolam ink.

Antimony and galls were used by the Egyptian
ladies to tint their eyes and lashes and (who knows)
to write with.

Many of the dyes employed as ink were those occurring
naturally as animal and vegetable products, or
which could be produced therefrom by comparatively
simple means, otherwise we would not be confronted
with the fact that no specimens of ink writing of
natural origin remain to us.

The very few specimens of ink writing which have
outlasted decay and disintegration through so many
ages, are found to be closely allied to materials like
bitumen, lampblack obtained from the smoke of oil-
torches or resins; or gold, silver, cinnabar and

Josephus asserts that the books of the ancient Hebrews
were written in gold and silver.

"Sicca dewat" (A silver ink standeth), as the ancient
Arabic proverb runs.

Rosselini asserts:

"the monumental hireoglyphics of the Egyptians
were almost invariably painted with the liveliest
tints; and when similar hireoglyphics were executed
on a reduced scale, and in a more cursive
form upon papyri or scrolls made from the leaves
of the papyrus the pages were written with both
black and colored inks."

The early mode of ink writing in biblical times
mentioned in Numbers v. 23, where It is said "the
priest shall write the curses in a book, and blot them
out with the bitter water," was with a kind of ink
prepared for the purpose, without any salts of iron or
other material which could make a permanent dye;
these maledictions were then washed into the water,
which the woman was obliged to drink, so that she
drank the very words of the execration. The ink
still used in the East is almost all of this kind; a wet
sponge will obliterate the finest of their writings.

In the book of Jeremiah, chap. xxxvi. verse 18, it
says: "Then Baruch answered, He pronounced all
these words unto me with his mouth, and I wrote
THEM with ink in the book," and in Ezek. ix. 2, 3, 11,
"Ink horn" is referred to.

Six hundred years later in the New Testament is
another mention of ink "having many things to write
unto you. I would not write with paper and Ink,"
&c.; second epistle. of John, 12, and again in his
third epistle, 13, "I had many things to write, but
I will not with pen and Ink write unto thee."

The illustrative history of the ancient Egyptians
does not point to a time before the reed was used as a
pen. The various sculptures, carvings, pottery and
paintings, exhibit the scribes at work in their avocations,
recording details about the hands and ears of
slaughtered enemies, the numbers of captives, the
baskets of wheat, the numerous animals, the tribute,
the treaties and the public records. These ancient
scribes employed a cylindrical box for ink, with writing
tablets, which were square sections of wood with
lateral grooves to hold the small reeds for writing.

During the time Joseph was Viceroy of Egypt
under Sethosis I, the first of the Pharaohs, B. C. 1717,
he employed a small army of clerks and storekeepers
throughout Egypt in his extensive grain operations.
The scribes whose duties pertained to making records
respecting this business, used both red and black inks,
contained in different receptacles in a desk, which,
when not in use, was placed in a box or trunk, with
leather handles at the sides, and in this way was
carried from place to place. As the scribe had two
colors of ink, he needed two pens (reeds) and we see
him on the monuments of Thebes, busy with one pen
at work, and the other placed in that most ancient
pen-rack, behind the ear. Such, says Mr. Knight, is
presented in a painting at Beni Hassan.

The Historical Society of New York possesses a
small bundle of these pens, with the stains of the ink
yet upon them, besides a bronze knife used for making
such pens (reeds), and which are alleged to belong to
a period not far removed from Joseph's time.
The other history of ink, long preceding the departure
of Israel from Egypt, and with few exceptions
until after the middle ages, can only be considered, as
it is intimately bound up in the chronology and story
of handwriting and writing materials. Even then it
must not be supposed that the history of ink is authentic
and continuous from the moment handwriting was
applied to the recording of events; for the earliest
records are lost to us in almost every instance. We
are therefore dependent upon later writers, who made
their records in the inks of their own time, and who
could refer to those preceding them only by the aid
of legends and traditions.

There is no independent data indicating any variation
whatever in the methods of the admixture of
black or colored inks, which differentiates them from
those used in the earliest times of the ancient
Egyptians, Hebrews or Chinese. On the contrary if we
exclude "Indian" and one of the red inks, for a period
of fourteen hundred years we find their number diminishing
until the first centuries of the Christian era.
Exaggerated tradition has described inks as well as
other things and imagination is not lacking. Some of
these legends, in later years put in writing, compel us
to depend on translations of obscure and obsolete
tongues, while the majority of them are mingled with
the errors and superstitious of the time in which they
were transcribed.

The value of such accounts depends upon a variety
of circumstances and we must proceed with the utmost
caution and discrimination in examining and weighing
the authenticity of these sources of information.

If we reason that the art of handwriting did not
become known to all the ancient nations at once, but
was gradually imparted by one to another, it follows
that records supposed to be contemporaneous, were
made in some countries at a much earlier period than
in others. It must also be observed that the Asiatic
nations and the Egyptians practiced the art of writing
many centuries before it was introduced into Europe.
Hence we are able to estimate with some degree of
certainty that ink-written accounts of some Asiatic
nations were made while Europe was in this respect
buried in utter darkness.

An interesting story which bears on this statement
is told by Kennett, in his "Antiquities of Rome,"
London, 1743, as to the discovery of ancient MSS.,
five hundred and twenty years before the Christian
era, of what even then must have been remarkable:

"A strange old woman came once to Tarquinius
Superbus with nine books, which, she said, were
the oracles of the Sybils, and proffered to sell them.
But the king making some scruple about the price,
she went away and burnt three of them; and returning
with the six, asked the same sum as before.
Tarquin only laughed at the humour; upon which
the old woman left him once more; and after she
had burnt three others, came again with them that
were left, but still kept to her old terms. The king
now began to wonder at her obstinacy, and thinking
there might be something more than ordinary
in the business, sent for the augars (soothsayers)
to consult what was to be done. They, when their
divinations were performed, soon acquainted him
what a piece of impiety he had been guilty of, by
refusing a treasure sent to him from heaven, and
commanded him to give whatever she demanded for
the books that remained. The woman received her
money, and delivered the writings; and only, charging
them by all means to keep them sacred, immediately
vanished. Two of the nobility were presently
after chosen to be the keepers of these oracles,
which were laid up with all imaginable care in the
Capitol, in a chest under ground. They could not
be consulted without a special order of the Senate,
which was never granted, unless upon the receiving
of some notable defeat; upon the rising of any
considerable mutiny, or sedition in the State; or
upon some other extraordinary occasion; several of
which we meet with in Livy."

Some of the ancient historians even sought to be
misleading respecting the events not only of their own
times, but of epochs which preceded them. Richardson,
in his "Dissertation on Ancient History and Mythology,"
published in 1778, remarks:

"The information received hitherto has been almost
entirely derived through the medium of the
Grecian writers; whose elegance of taste, harmony
of language, and fine arrangement of ideas, have
captivated the imagination, misled the judgment,
and stamped with the dignified title of history, the
amusing excursions of fanciful romance. Too
proud to consider surrounding nations, (if the Eyptians
may be excepted) in any light but that of
barbarians; they despised their records, they altered
their language, and framed too often their
details, more to the prejudices of their fellow citizens,
than to the standard of truth or probability.
We have names of Persian kings, which a Persian
could not pronounce; we have facts related they
apparently never knew; and we have customs
ascribed to them, which contradict every distinguishing
characteristic of an Eastern people. The
story of Lysimachus and one Greek historian may
indeed, with justice, be applied to many others.
This prince, in the partition of Alexander's empire,
became King of Thrace: he had been one of the
most active of that conqueror's commanders; and
was present at every event which deserved the
attention of history. A Grecian had written an
account of the Persian conquest; and be wished to
read it before the king. The monarch listened
with equal attention and wonder: 'All this is very
fine,' says he, when the historian had finished,
'but where was I when those things were performed?' "




THERE is a difference of opinion as to what nation
belongs the honor of the invention of the art of
handwriting. Sir Isaac Newton observes:

"There is the utmost uncertainty in the chronology
of ancient kingdoms, arising from the vanity
of each claiming the greatest antiquity, while those
pretensions were favoured by their having no exact
account of time."

Its antiquity has been exhaustively treated by many
writers; the best known are Massey, 1763, The Origin
and Progress of Letters;" Astle, 1803, "The Origin
and Progress of Writing;" Silvestre, "Universal
Palaeography," Paris, 1839-41 ; and Humphreys, 1855,
"The Origin and Progress of the Art of Writing."
They, with others, have sought to record the origin
and gradual development of the art of writing from
the Egyptian Hieroglyphics of 4000 B. C.; the Chinese
Figurative, 3000 B. C. ; Indian Alphabetic, 2000 or
more B. C. ; the Babylonian or Cuneiform, 2000
years B. C.; and the Phoenician in which they include
the Hebrew or Samaritan Alphabet, 2000 or more
B. C., down to the writings of the new or Western
world of the Christian era.

The data presented and the arguments set forth,
deserve profound respect, and though we find some
favoring the Egyptians, or the Phoenicians, the Chaldeans,
the Syrians, the Indians, the Persians or the
Arabians, it is best to accept the concensus of their
opinion, which seems to divide between the Phoenicians
and the Egyptians as being the inventors of the
foremost of all the arts. "For, in Phoenicia, had
lived Taaut or Thoth the first Hermes, its inventor,
and who later carried his art into Egypt where they
first wrote in pictures, some 2200 years B. C."

The art appears to have been first exercised in
Greece and the West about 1500 or 1800 B. C., and
like all arts, it was doubtless slow and progressive.
The Greeks refer the invention of written letters to
Cadmus, merely because he introduced them from
Phoenicia, then only sixteen in number. To these,
four more were added by Simonides. Evander brought
letters into Latium from Greece, the Latin letters being
at first nearly the same form as the Greek. The Romans
employed a device of scattering green sand upon tables,
for the teaching of arithmetic and writing, and in India
a "sand box" consisting of a surface of sand laid on a
board the finger being utilized to trace forms, was the
method followed by the natives to teach their children.
It is said that such methods still obtain even in this
age, in some rural districts of England.

After the invention of writing well-informed nations
and individuals kept scribes or chroniclers to record in
writing, historical and other events, mingled with claims
of antiquity based on popular legends.

These individuals were not always held in the highest
esteem. Among the Hebrews it was considered an
honorable vocation, while the Greeks for a long time
treated its practitioners as outcasts. It was an accomplishment
possessed by the few even down to the fifteenth
century of the Christian era. The rulers of
the different countries were deficient in the art and
depended on others to write their documents and letters
to which they appended their monogram or the
sign of the Cross against their names as an attestation.
So late as A. D. 1516 an order was made in London to
examine all persons who could write in order to discover
the authorship of a seditious document.

The art of writing is not mentioned in the Bible
prior to the time of Moses, although as before stated,
in Egypt and the countries adjacent thereto it was not
only known but practiced.

Its first mention recorded in Scripture will be found
in Exodus xvii. v. 14; "And the Lord said unto
Moses, Write this, for a memorial, in a book; and
rehearse it in the ear of Joshua; for I will utterly put
out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven."
This command was given immediately after the defeat
of the Amalekites near Horeb, and before the arrival
of the Israelites at Mount Sinai.

It is observable, that there is not the least hint to
induce us to believe that writing was then newly invented;
on the contrary, we may conclude, that Moses
understood what was meant by writing in a book;
otherwise God would have instructed him, as he had
done Noah in building the Ark; for he would not have
been commanded to write in a book, if he had been
ignorant of the art of writing; but Moses expressed
no difficulty of comprehension when he received this
command. We also find that Moses wrote all the
works and all the judgments of the Lord, contained
in the twenty-first and the two succeeding chapters of
the book of Exodus, before the two written tables of
stone were even so much as promised. The delivery
of the tables is not mentioned till the eighteenth verse
of the thirty-first chapter, after God had made an
end of communing with him upon the mount, though
the ten commandments were promulgated immediately
after his third descent.

Moses makes frequent mention of ancient books of
the Hebrews, but describes none, except the two tables
on which God wrote the ten commandments. These
he tells us, were of polished stone, engraven on both
sides and as Calmet remarks: "it is probable that
Moses would not have observed to us these two particulars
so often as he does, were it not to distinguish
them from other books, which were made of tables,
not of stone, but of wood and curiously engraven, but
on one side only."

It cannot be said that Moses uses any language
which can be construed to mean the employment of
rolls of papyrus, or barks of trees, much less of parchment.
We have therefore reason to believe that by
the term book, he always means table-books, made of
small thin boards or plates.

The edicts, as well as the letters of kings, were written
upon tablets and sent to the various provinces,
sealed with their signets. Scripture plainly alludes
to the custom of sealing up letters, edicts and the tablets
on which the prophets wrote their visions.

The practice of writing upon rolls made of the barks
of trees is very ancient. It is alluded to in the Book
of Job: "Oh! that mine adversary had written a book;
surely I would take it upon my shoulders, and bind
it as a crown to me." (Old version.) The new one
runs: "And that I had the indictment which mine
adversary hath written!" The rolls, or volumes,
generally speaking, were written upon one side only.
This is intimated by Ezekiel who observes that he
saw one of in extraordinary form written on both
sides: "And when I looked, behold, an Hand was sent
unto me, and lo! a roll of a book was therein; and he
spread it before me, and it was written within and

To have been able to write on dry tablets of wood
or barks of trees with the reed or brush, the then only
ink-writing instruments in vogue would have necessitated
the employment of lampblack suspended in a
vehicle of thick gum, or in the form of a paint. Both
of these maybe termed pigmentary inks. The use of
thin inks would have caused spreading or blotting and
thus rendered the writing illegible.

The Encyclopaedia Britannica generalizes its remarks
on this subject:--

"The earliest writings were purely monumental
and accordingly those materials were chosen which
were supposed to last the longest. The same idea
of perpetuity which in architecture finds its most
striking exposition in the pyramids was repeated,
in the case of literary records, in the two columns
mentioned by Josephus, the one of stone and the
other of brick, on which the children of Seth wrote
their inventions and astronomical discoveries; in
the pillars in Crete on which, according to Porphyry,
the ceremonies of the Corybantes were inscribed;
in the leaden tablets containinlu the works of Hesiod,
deposited in the temple of the Muses, in Boeotia;
in the ten commandments on stone delivered by
Moses; and in the laws of Solon, inscribed on planks
of wood. The notion of a literary production surviving
the destruction of the materials on which it
was first written--the 'momentum, aere perennius'
of Horace's ambition--was unknown before the discovery
of substances for systematic transcription.

"Tablets of ivory or metal were in common use
among the Greeks and Romans. When made of
wood--sometimes of citron, but usually of beech or
fir--their inner sides were coated with wax, on
which the letters were traced with a pointed pen or
stiletto (stylus), one end of which was used for
erasure. It was with his stylus that Caesar stabbed
Casca in the arm when attacked by his murderers.
Wax tablets of this kind continued in partial use in
Europe during the middle ages; the oldest extant
specimen, now in the museum at Florence, belongs
to the year 1301."

Later the Hebrew Scriptures were written in ink or
paint upon the skins of ceremonially clean animals or
even birds. These were rolled upon sticks and fastened
with a cord, the ends of which were sealed when
security was an object. They were written in columns,
and usually upon one side, only. The writing was
from right to left; the upper margin was three fingers
broad, the lower one four fingers; a breadth of two
fingers separated the columns. The columns ran across
the width of the sheet, the rolled ends of which were
held vertically in the respective hands. When one
column was read, another was exposed to view by unrolling
it from the end in the left hand, while the
former was hidden from view by rolling up the end
grasped by the right band. The pen was a reed, the
ink black, carried in a bottle suspended from the girdle.

The Samaritan Pentateuch is very ancient, as is
proved by the criticisms of Talmudic writers. A copy
of it was acquired in 1616 by Pietro della Valle, one
of the first discoverers of the cuneiform inscriptions.
It was thus introduced to the notice of Europe. It is
claimed by the Samaritans of Nablus that their copy
was written by Abisha, the great-grandson of Aaron,
in the thirteenth year of the settlement of the land of
Canaan by the children of Israel. The copies of it
brought to Europe are all written in black ink on vellum
or "cotton" paper, and vary from 12mo to
folio. The scroll used by the Samaritans is written in
gold letters. (See Smith's "Dictionary of the Bible,"
vol. III, pp. 1106-1118.) Its claims to great antiquity
are not admitted by scholars.

The enumeration of some of the modes of writing
may be interesting:

The Mexican writing is in vertical columns, beginning
at the bottom.

The Chinese and Japanese write in vertical columns,
beginning at the top and passing from left to right.

The Egyptian hieroglyphics are written invertical
columns or horizontal lines according to the shape and
position of the tablet. It is said that with the horizontal
writing the direction is indifferent, but that the
figures of men and animals face the beginning of the
line. With figures, the units stand on the left.

The Egyptians also wrote from right to left in the
hieratic and demotic and enchorial styles. The Palasgians
did the same, and were followed by the Etruscans.
In the demotic character, Dr. Brugsch remarks
that though the general direction of the writing was
usually from right to left, yet the individual letters were
formed from left to right, as is evident from the unfinished
ends of horizontal letters when the ink failed
in the pen.

In writing numbers in the hieratic and enchorial
the units were placed to the left. The Arabs write
from right to left, but received their numerals from
India, whence they call them "Hindee," and there the
arrangement of their numerals is like our own, units
to the right.

The following noteworthy passage is taken from
Humphreys' work "On the Origin and Progress of the
Art of Writing:"

"Nearly all the principal methods of ancient
writing may be divided into square capitals, rounded
capitals, and cursive letters; the square capitals
being termed simply capitals, the rounded capitals
uncials, and the small letters, or such as had
changed their form during the creation of a running
hand, minuscule. Capitals are, strictly speaking,
such letters as retain the earliest settled form of
an alphabet; being generally of such angular
shapes as could conveniently be carved on wood or
stone, or engraved in metal, to be stamped on
coins. The earliest Latin MSS. known are written
entirely in capitals like inscriptions in metal or
     *    *    *    *    *

The uncial letters, as they are termed, appear
to have arisen as writing on papyrus or vellum became
common, when many of the straight lines of
the capitals, in that kind of writing, gradually acquired
a curved form, to facilitate their more rapid
execution. However this may be, from the sixth
to the eighth, or even 10th century, these uncials
or partly rounded capitals prevail.

"The modern minuscule, differing from the ancient
cursive character, appears to have arisen in
the following manner: During the 6th and 7th
centuries, a kind of transition style prevailed in
Italy and some other parts of Europe, the letters
composing which have been termed semi-uncials,
which, in a further transition, became more like
those of the old Roman cursive. This manner,
when definitely formed, became what is now termed
the minuscule manner; it began to prevail over
uncials in a certain class of MSS. about the 8th
century, and towards the 10th its general use was,
with few exceptions, established. It is said to
have been occasionally used as early as the 5th
century; but I am unable to cite an authentic existing
monument. The Psalter of Alfred the Great,
written in the 9th century, is in a small Roman
cursive hand, which has induced Casley to consider
it the work of some Italian ecclesiastic."

The learned who have made a life study of the history
of the most ancient manuscripts, mention them
specifically in great number and of different countries,
which would seem to indicate that the art of handwriting
had made great strides in the very olden
times; many nations had adopted it, and B. C. 650 "it
had spread itself over the (then known) greater part
of the civilized world."

We can well believe this to be true in reading about
the ancient libraries, notwithstanding that some rulers
had sought to prohibit its exercise.

Plato, who lived B. C. 350, expresses his views of
the importance of writing in his imaginary colloquy
between Thamus, king of Egypt, and Thoth, the god
of the liberal arts of the Egyptians; he acquaints us:

"That the discourse turned upon letters. Thoth
maintained the value of Writing, as capable of making
the People wiser, increasing the powers of
Memory; to this the king dissented, and expressed
his opinion that by the exercise of this Art the multitude
would appear to be knowing of those things
of which they were really ignorant, possessing only
an idea of Wisdom, instead of Wisdom itself."

Pythagoras, B. C. 532, we are informed by Astle:

"Went into Egypt where he resided twenty-two
years; he was initiated into the sacerdotal order,
and, from his spirit of inquiry, he has been justly
said to have acquired a great deal of Egyptian
learning, which he afterwards introduced into Italy.
The Pythagorean schools which he established in
Italy when writing was taught, were destroyed
when the Platonic or new philosophy prevailed over
the former. Polybius (lib. ii. p. 175) and Jamblichus
(in vita Pythag.) mention many circumstances,
relative to these facts, quoted from authors now
lost; as doth Porphyry, in his life of Pythagoras."

For the hundred years or more following, however,
the dissemination of learning and the transcription of
events was not to be denied. We find ink-written
volumes (rolls) relating to diverse subjects being loaned
to one another; correspondence by letter to and from
distant lands of frequent occurrence, and the art of
handwriting regularly taught in the schools of learning.
Its progress was to be interrupted by the wars
of the Persians. Mr. Astle in calling attention to
events which have contributed to deprive us of the
literary treasures of antiquity thus refers to them:

"A very fatal blow was given to literature, by
the destruction of the Phoenician temples, and of
the Egyptian colleges, when those kingdoms, and
the countries adjacent, were conquered by the Persians,
about three hundred and fifty years before
Christ. Ochus, the Persian general, ravaged these
countries without mercy, and forty thousand Sidonians
burnt themselves with their families and riches
in their own houses. The conqueror then drove
Nectanebus out of Egypt, and committed the like
ravages in that country; afterwards he marched
into Judea, where he took Jericho, and sent a great
number of Jews into captivity. The Persians had
a great dislike to the religion of the Phoenicians and
the Egyptians; this was one reason for destroying
their books, of which Eusebius (De Preparat.
Evang.) says, they had a great number."

These losses, apparently, did not interfere with the
progress of the art in more western countries. Professor
Rollin in his "Ancient History," 1823, remarks:

"Ptolemy Soter, King of Egypt B. C. 285, had
been careful to improve himself in public literature,
as was evident by his compiling the life of
Alexander, which was greatly esteemed by the ancients,
but is now entirely lost. In order to encourage
the cultivation of the sciences, which he
much admired, he founded an academy at Alexandria,
called the Museum, where a society of learned
men devoted themselves to philosophic studies, and
the improvement of all other sciences, almost in the
same manner as those of London and Paris. For
this purpose, he began by giving them a library,
which was prodigiously increased by his successors.

"His son Philadelphus left a hundred thousand
volumes in it at the time of his death, and the succeeding
princes of that race enlarged it still more, till at
last it consisted of seven hundred thousand volumes.

"This library was formed by the following
method: All the Greek and other books that were
brought into Egypt were seized, and sent to the
Museum, where they were transcribed by persons
employed for that purpose. The copies were then
delivered to the proprietors, and the originals were
deposited in the library.

"As the Museum was at first in that quarter of
the city which was called Bruchion, and near the
royal palace, the library was founded in the same
place, and it soon drew vast numbers thither; but
when it was so much augmented, as to contain four
hundred thousand volumes, they began to deposit
the additional books in the Serapion. This last
library was a supplement to the former, for which
reason it received the appellation of its Daughter,
and in process of time had in it three hundred thousand

"In Caesar's war with the inhabitants of Alexandria,
a fire, occasioned by those hostilities, consumed
the library of Bruchion, with its four hundred
thousand volumes. Seneca seems to me to be
out of humour, when, speaking of the conflagration,
he bestows his censures both on the library itself,
and the eulogium made on it by Livy, who styles
it an illustrious monument of the opulence of the
Egyptian kings, and of their judicious attention to
the improvement of the sciences. Seneca, instead
of allowing it to be such, would have it considered
only as a work resulting from the pride and vanity
of those monarchs, who had amassed such a number
of books, not for their own use, but merely for
pomp and ostentation. This reflection, however,
seems to discover very little sagacity; for is it not
evident beyond contradiction, that none but kings
are capable of founding these magnificent libraries,
which become a necessary treasure to the learned,
and do infinite honour to those states in which they
are established?

"The library of Serapion, did not sustain any
damage, and it was undoubtedly there that Cleopatra
deposited those two hundred thousand volumes
from that of Pergamus, which was presented
to her by Antony. This addition, with other enlargements
that were made from time to time, rendered
the new library of Alexandria more numerous
and considerable than the first; and though it
was ransacked more than once, during the troubles
and revolutions which happened in the Roman empire,
it always retrieved its losses, and recovered
its number of volumes. In this condition it subsisted
for many ages, displaying its treasures to the
learned and curious, till the seventh century, when
it suffered the same fate with its parent, and was
burnt by the Saracens, when they took that city in
the year of our Lord 642. The manner by which
this misfortune happened is too singular to be passed
over in silence.

"John, surnamed the Grammarian, a famous
follower of Aristotle, happened to be at Alexandria,
when the city was taken; and as he was much esteemed
by Amri Ebnol As, the general of the Saracen
troops, he entreated that commander to bestow
upon him the Alexandrian library. Amri replied,
that it was not in his power to grant such a request;
but that he would write to the Khalif, or emperor
of the Saracens, for his orders on that head, without
which he could not presume to dispose of the
library. He accordingly wrote to Omar, the then
Khalif, whose answer was, that if those books contained
the same doctrine with the Koran, they could
not be of any use, because the Koran was sufficient
in itself, and comprehended all necessary truths;
but if they contained any particulars contrary to
that book, they ought to be destroyed. In consequence
to this answer, they were all condemned to
the flames, without any further examination; and,
for that purpose, were distributed among the public
baths; where, for the space of six months, they
were used for fuel instead of wood. We may from
hence form a just idea of the prodigious number of
books contained in that library; and thus was this
inestimable treasure of learning destroyed!

The Museum of Bruchion was not burnt with
the library which was attached to it. Strabo acquaints
us, in his description of it, that it was a
very large structure near the palace, and fronting
the port; and that it was surrounded with a portico,
in which the philosophers walked. He adds, that
the members of this society were governed by a
president, whose station was so honourable and important,
that, in the time of the Ptolemies, he was
always chosen by the king himself, and afterwards
by the Roman emperor; and that they had a hall
where the whole society ate together at the expense
of the public, by whom they were supported in a
very plentiful manner."

Among the other events contributing to the deplorable
losses which mankind has sustained in this respect,
a sad one was when the most ancient ink writings of the
Chinese were ordered to be destroyed by their emperor
Chee-Whange-Tee, in the third century before
Christ, with the avowed purpose that everything
should begin anew as from his reign. The small portion
of them which escaped destruction were recovered
and preserved by his successors.




THEOPHRASTUS says that the papyrus books of the ancients
were no other than rolls prepared in the following
manner: Two leaves of the rush were plastered together,
usually with the mud of the Nile, in such a
fashion that the fibres of one leaf should cross the fibres
of the other at right angles; the ends of each being
then cut off, a square leaf was obtained, equally capable
of resisting fracture when pulled or taken hold of
in any direction. In this form the papyri were exported
in great quantities. In order to form these
single leaves into the "scapi," or rolls of the ancients,
about twenty were glued together end to end. The
writing was then executed in parallel columns a few
inches wide, running transversely to the length of the
scroll. To each end of the scrolls were attached round
staves similar to those we use for maps. To these
staves, strings, known as "umbilici," were attached,
to the ends of which bullae or weights were fixed.
The books when rolled up, were bound up with these
umbilici, and were generally kept in cylindrical boxes
or capsae, a term from which the Mediaeval "capsula,"
or book-cover was derived. "The mode in which the
students held the rolls in order to read from them is
well shown in a painting in the house of a surgeon at
Pompeii. One of the staves, with the papyrus rolled
round it, was held in each hand, at a distance apart
equal to the width of one or more of the transverse
columns of writing. As soon as the eye was carried
down to the bottom of a column, one hand rolled up
and the other unrolled sufficient of the papyrus to
bring a fresh column opposite to the reader's eye, and
so on until the whole was wound round one of the
staves, when, of course, the student had arrived at the
end of his book."

Eumenes, king of Pergamus, being unable to procure
the Egyptian papyrus, through the jealousy of
one of the Ptolemies, who occupied himself in forming
a rival library to the one which subsequently
became so celebrated at Pergamus, introduced the
use of Parchment properly "dressed" for taking
ink and pigments and hence the derivation of the
word "pergamena" as applied to parchment or vellum,
the former substance being the prepared skin
of sheep, and the latter of calves.

The sheets of parchment were joined end to end, as
the sheets of papyrus had been, and when written
upon, on one side only, and in narrow columns across
the breadth of the scroll, were rolled up around staves
and bound with strings, to which seals of wax were
occasionally attached, in place of the more common
leaden bullae.

The custom of dividing wax, ivory, wood and metal
MSS. into pages and in this way into book form is said
by Suetonius to have been introduced by Julius Caesar,
whose letters to the Senate were so made up, and
after whose time the practice became usual for all
documents either addressed to, or issuing from that
body, or to or from the Emperors. As that form subsequently
crept into general use, the books were known
as "codices;" and hence the ordinary term as applied
to manuscript volumes.

All classes of "books," the reeds for writing in
them, the inkstands, and the "capsae" or "scrinia,"
the boxes in which the "scapi" or rolls were kept,
are minutely portrayed in ancient wall-paintings and
ivory diptychs (double tablets), and which may belong
to a period near the beginning of the Christian era.

Pliny and Dioscorides have given the formulas for
the writing inks used by the Greek and Roman scribes
immediately before and during their time. Pliny declares
that the ink of the bookmakers was made of
soot, charcoal and gum, although he does not state
what fluid was employed to commingle them. He does,
however, mention to an occasional use of some acid
(vinegar) to give the ink a binding property on the

Dioscorides, however, specifies the proportions of
this "soot" ink. Another formula alluded to by the
same author calls for a half ounce each of copperas
(blue) and ox-glue, with half pound of smoke black
made from burned resin. He adds, "is a good application
in cases of gangrene and is useful in scalds, if a
little thickened and employed as a salve." De Vinne
speaks of this as a "crude" receipt which will enable
one to form a correct opinion of the quality of
scientific knowledge then applied to medicine and the
mechanical arts; also that these mixtures which are
more like shoe blacking than writing fluid were used
with immaterial modifications by the scribes of the
dark ages.

The old Greeks and Romans had no substitute for
the papyrus, which was so brittle that it could not be
folded or creased. It could not be bound up in books,
nor could it be rolled up unsupported. It was secure
only when it had been wound around a wooden or
metal roller.

After the wholesale destruction of the libraries of
ink-written MSS., the black inks began to fall into disuse;
their value in respect to quality gradually deteriorated,
caused by the displacement of gummy
vehicles, and a consequent absence of any chance of
union between the parchment or papyrus and the dry
black particles, which could be "blown" or washed
off. To employ any other kind of ink except one of
natural origin like the juice of berries which soon
disappeared, was forbidden by prevailing religious
customs. Such conditions naturally merged into
others, in the shape of "ink" substitutes for writing;
the stylus, with its accompanying sheets or tablets
of ivory, wood, metal and wax came into popular
vogue and so continued for many centuries, even after
the employment of ink for writing purposes had been

Ovid, in his story of Caunus and Byblis, illustrates
the use of the tables (tablets), and he lived at the time
of the birth of Christ, thus translated:

 "Then fits her trembling hands to Write:
 One holds the Wax, the Style the other guides,
 Begins, doubts, writes, and at the Table chides;
 Notes, razes, changes oft, dislikes, approves,
 Throws all aside, resumes what she removes.
 *   *    *    *    *    *    *    *
 "The Wax thus filled with her successless wit,
 She Verses in the utmost margin writ."

He also makes reference to inks, in the passage
taken from his first elegy, "Ad Librum:"

 "Nec te purpureo velent vaccinia succo;
 Non est conveniens luctibus ille color.
 Nec titulus minio, nec cedro charta notetur.
 Candida nec nigra cornua fronte geras."

which Davids translates as follows:


 "Nor shall huckleberries stain (literally veil) thee with purple
 That color is not becoming to lamentations.
 Nor shall title (or head-letter) be marked with vermillion, or
          paper with cedar,
 Thou shalt carry neither white nor black horns on thy forehead
          (or front, or frontispiece)."

The traditions handed down as of this era relating
to the efforts to find some substitute for "Indian"
ink which would not only "bind" to parchment and
vellum but also would be satisfactory to the priests,
are more or less confirmed by the younger Pliny, and
makes it safe to assume that several were invented
and employed in writing, though possessing but little
lasting qualities. Their use and natural disappearance
is perhaps the real cause of the fact that there are no
original MSS. extant dating as of or belonging to the
time immediately preceding or following the birth of
Christ, or indeed until long after his death.

There is some authority though for the statement
that at this time two vitriolic substances were used in
the preparation of black ink,--a slime or sediment
(Salsugo) and a yellow vitriolic earth (Misy). This
last-named mineral, is unquestionably the same natural
chemical mentioned by writers, which about the end
of the first century was designated "kalkanthum" or
"chalkanthum" and possessed not only the appearance
of, but the virtues of what we know as blue
copperas or sulphate of copper. It continued in use
as long as men were unacquainted with the art of
lixiviating salt, or, in other words, as long as they had
no vitriol manufactories. Commingled with lampblack,
bitumen or like black substances in gummy
water, it was acceptable to the priests for ritualistic
writings and was in general vogue for several centuries
thereafter under the name of (blue) "vitriolic"
ink, notwithstanding the fact that there could not be
any lasting chemical union between such materials.

It was the so-called "vitriolic" ink, which is said
to have "corroded the delicate leaves of the papyrus
and to have eaten through both parchment and

These deductions, however, do not agree with some
of the historians and scholars like Noel Humphreys,
author of the "Origin and Progress of the Art of
Writing," London, 1855, a recognized authority on the
subject of ancient MSS., who but repeats in part the
text of earlier writers, when he says, p. 101:

"Examples of early Greek MSS. of the last century
previous to the Christian era are not confined
to Egyptian sources; the buried city of Herculaneum,
in Italy, partially destroyed about seventy-
nine years before the Christian era, and injured by
subsequeut eruptions, till totally destroyed by the
most violent eruption of Vesuvius on record, that
of the year 471 A. D. having yielded several

The MSS. examples mentioned in the citation, must
of necessity refer to specimens of writing made with
"vitriolic" and even more ancient inks. They are to
be considered in conjunction with the historical fact
that these cities were buried for more than sixteen
hundred years, counting from the first eruption, before
they were brought to light (Herculaneum was discovered
A. D. 1713 and Pompeii, forty years later);
also that they must have been subjected to intense
heat and a long period of decay which could only operate
to rob them of all traces of natural ink phenomena.
Furthermore, the information Mr. Humphreys
seeks to convey, dates contemporaneously with the first
eruption of Vesuvius, which occurred seventy-nine
years AFTER the Christian era and not seventy-nine
years BEFORE it.

This stupendous blunder involves a period of one
hundred and fifty-eight years; if it is rectified, the
"early Greek MSS." are shown to emanate from the
second half of the first century following the birth of
Christ and confirming to some extent the deductions
hereinbefore made, although the probabilities are that
they belong to later periods, included in the third and
fourth centuries.

It is affirmed that the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius
A. D. 79, did not entirely destroy the cities of Herculaneum
and Pompeii, and that they emerged from their
ruins in the reign of the Emperor Titus. They are
also mentioned as inhabited cities in the chart of
Peutinger, which is of the date of Constantine.

The next eruption, A. D. 471, was probably the most
frightful on record if we exclude the volcanic eruption
of Mt. Pelee, which occurred in Martinique, West
Indies, in 1902, destroying thirty thousand human
beings in fifteen minutes and devastating nearly the
entire island. From Marcellinus we learn that the
ashes of the Vesuvius volcano were vomited over a
great portion of Europe, reaching to Constantinople,
where a festival was instituted in commemoration of
the strange phenomenon. After this, we hear no
more of these cities, but the portion of the inhabitants
who escaped built or occupied suburbs at Nola in
Campania and at Naples. In the latter city, the Regio
Herculanensium, or Quarter of the Herculaneans, an
inscription marked on several lapidary monuments,
indicates the part devoted to the population driven
from the doomed city.

The ancient inkstand found at Herculaneum, said
to contain a substance resembling a thick oil or paint
characteristic of a material which it is alleged, "some
of the manuscripts have been written in a sort of
relievo, visible in the letters when a 'leaf' is held to
the light in a horizontal direction," it is not impossible,
indeed it is quite probable, belonged to an era centuries
later than the period to which it has been assigned.

"No perfect papyri, but only fragments, have been
found at Pompeii. At Herculaneum, up to the year
1825, 1,756 had been obtained, besides many others
destroyed by the workmen, who imagined them to be
mere sticks of charcoal. Most of them were found
in a suburban villa, in a room of small dimensions,
ranged in presses round the sides of the room, in the
center of which stood a sort of rectangular bookcase.

"Sir Humphry Davy, after investigating their
chemical nature, arrived at the conclusion that they
had not been carbonized by heat, but changed by the
long action of air and moisture; and he visited Naples
in hopes of rendering the resources of chemistry
available towards deciphering these long-lost literary
treasures. His expectations, however, were not fully
crowned with success, although the partial efficacy of
his methods was established; and he relinquished the
pursuit at the end of six months, partly from disappointment,
partly from a belief that vexatious obstacles
were thrown in his way by the jealousy of the
persons to whom the task of unrolling had been intrusted.
About five hundred volumes have been well
and neatly unrolled. It is rather remarkable that, as
far as can be learned, no manuscript of any known
standard work has been found, nor, indeed, any production
of any of the great luminaries of the ancient
world. The most celebrated person of whom any
work has been found is Epicurus, whose treatise, De
Natura, has been successfully unrolled. This and a
few other treatises have been published. The library
in which this was found appears to have been rich in
treatises on the Epicurean philosophy. The only
Latin work which it contained was a poem, attributed
to Rabirius, on the war of Caesar and Antony."

Beginning with A. D. 200, the employment of inks
became more and more constant and popular. Rediscoveries
of ancient formulas belonging to a more
remote antiquity multiplied in number. Silver ink
was again quite common in most countries. Red ink
made of vermilion (a composition of mercury, sulphur
and potash) and cinnabar (native mercuric sulphide)
were employed in the writing of the titles as was blue
ink made of indigo, cobalt or oxide of copper. Tyrian
purple was used for coloring the parchment or vellum.
The "Indian" inks made by the Chinese were imported
and used in preference to those of similar
character manufactured at home. The stylus and
waxed tablets though still used, in a measure gave way
to the reawakened interest in ink and ink writings.

A greater facility in writing, due to the gradual
reduction in size of the uncial (inch) letters was
thereby attained.

There were "writers in gold" and "writers in
silver" who travelled from the East into Greece and
who bad found their way before the third century
into the very heart of Rome. Their business was to
embellish the manuscript writings of those times. It
was considered en regale for authors to "illuminate"
their MSS. and those who failed to do so suffered in

These authors frequently allude to their use of red,
black and secret inks.

Martial in his first epistle points out the bookseller's
shop opposite the Julian Forum where his works may
be obtained "smoothed with pumice stone and decorated
with purple." Seneca mentions books ornamented
"cum imaginabus." Varro is related by the
younger Pliny to have illustrated his works by pictures
of more than seven hundred illustrious persons.
Martial dwells on the edition of Virgil, with his
portrait as a frontispiece.

The earliest recorded instance of the richer adornments
of golden lettering on purple or rose-stained
vellum is given by Julius Capitolinus in his life of the
Emperor Maximinus the younger. He therein mentions
that the mother of the emperor presented to him
on his return to his tutor (early in the third century),
a copy of the works of Homer, written in gold upon
purple vellum.

The fugitive character, as before stated, of a great
many of the colored inks, and indeed most of the
black ones which were undoubtedly employed, is the
principal reason why so few specimens of them remain
to us. Those which have proved themselves so lasting
in character as to be still extant, bear evidence
of extreme care in the preparation of both the inks
and the materials on which the writings appear. Perhaps
one of the finest illustrations of this practice is
to be found in a book of the Four Gospels of Italian
origin, discovered in the tenth century (a work of the
fourth century) and deposited in the Harlein Library.
This book is written in "Indian" ink and possesses
magnificently embellished and illuminated letters at
the beginning of each Gospel, which are on vellum
stained in different colors.

St. Jerome calls attention to this class of books in
a well-known passage of his preface to the Book of
Job, also written in the fourth century, where he explains
as translated:

"Let those who will have old books written in
gold and silver on purple parchment, or, as they
are commonly called, in uncial-letters,--rather ponderous
loads than books,--so long as they permit
me and mine to have copies, and rather correct than
beautiful books."

It has been said that the Tanno-gallate of Iron Inks
(iron salts, nut-galls and gum) were first used in the
fourth century. There is positively no credible authority
for such a statement, nor is there a single
monument in the shape of a documentary specimen
of ink writing of that one or an earlier century made
with such an ink in any public or private library and
as far as known in existence.

About A. D. 390 the inspired writings (often termed
pagan) of the classical countries, or at least the copies
or extracts of them, upon a special search made by order
of the Roman Senate, including those already mentioned
as of the time of Tarquin (some nine hundred
years earlier), were gathered up in Greece, Italy and
other parts and destroyed, because, as we are informed,
this Roman Senate had embraced the Christian
faith and furthermore "such vanities began to grow
out of fashion; till at last Stilicho burnt them all
under Honorius (a son of Theodosius the Great), for
which he is so severely censured by the noble poet
Rutilius, in his ingenious itinerary."

 Not only Roman Arms the Wretch betrayed
 To barbarous Foes; before that cursed Deed,
 He burnt the Writings of the sacred Maid,
 We hate Althaea for the fatal Brand;
 When Nisius fell, the weeping Birds complained:
 More cruel he than the revengeful Fair;
 More cruel heth at Nisius' Murderer.
 Whose impious Hands into the Flames have thrown
 The Heavenly Pledges of the Roman Crown,
 Unrav'lling all the Doom that careful Fate had spun."

The destruction of Rome by Alaric, King of the
Western Goths, A. D. 410, and the subsequent
dismemberment of the entire Roman Empire by the
barbarians of the North who followed in his wake,
announced that ancient history had come to an end.

It may be truly said as well that the ending of the
ancient history of the black and colored writing inks
which began in the obscurity of tradition between
2000 and 1800 B. C., a period of some 2200 years,
was also contemporaneous with these events.

The eclipse of ink-written literature for at least
500 of the 1000 years which followed, and known as
the Middle or "Dark" Ages, except in the Church
alone, who seem to have kept up the production of
manuscript books principally for ecclesiastical and
medical purposes was complete. Hence, any information
pertaining to those epochs about ink, writing
materials and ink writings, must be sought for in the
undestroyed records and the ink writings themselves
left by the fathers of the Church. All else is tainted
and of doubtful authority.

 *   *    *    *    *    *    *    *

 "When waned the star of Greece was there no cry,
 To rouse her people from their lethargy?
 Was there no sentry on the Parthenon--
 No watch-fire on the field of Marathon,
 When science left the Athenian city's gate,
 To seek protection from a nameless fate?
 The sluggish sentry slept--no cry was heard
 No hands the glimm'ring watch-fire's embers stirr'd.
 Fair science unmolested left the land,
 That she had nurtured with maternal hand;
 And wandered forth some genial spot to find,
 Where she might rear her altar to the mind.
 "Long thro' the darken'd ages of a world,
 Back to primeval chaos rudely hurled,
 She journey'd on amid the gath'ring gloom,
 A spectre form emerging from the tomb.
 Earth had no resting place--no worshipper--
 No dove returned with olive branch to her:
 Her lamp burned dimly, yet its flick'ring light,
 Guided the wanderer thro' the lengthen'd night.
 Oft in her weary search, she paused the while,
 To catch one gleam of hope--one favour'd smile;
 But the dim mists of ignorance still threw,
 Their blighting influence o'er the famish'd few,
 Who deigned to look upon that lustrous eye,
 Which pierced the ages of futurity.

 "For ten long centuries she groped her way,
 Through gloom, and darkness, ruin and decay;
 Yet came at last the morning's rosy light,
 A thousand echoes hail'd the glorious sight--
 Joy thrill'd the universe--one iningled cry
 Of exultation, pealed along the sky!
 Science came forth in richer robes arrayed
 She trod a pathway ne'er before essayed;
 Up the steep mount of fame she fleetly pressed,
 And hung her trophies on its gilded crest."




THE storming of Alexandria and the destruction of
the Pergamus library, composed largely of ink-written
volumes, by the Saracens, A. D. 642, has already been
reverted to. Astle observes:

"Thus perished by fanatical madness, the inestimable
Alexandrian library, which is said to have
contained at that time upwards of five hundred
thousand volumes; and from this period, barbarity
and ignorance prevailed for several centuries. In
Italy and all over the west of Europe learning was
in a measure extinguished, except some small remains
which were preserved in Constantinople.

"Theodosious, the younger, was very assiduous
in augmenting this library, by whom, in the latter
end of the fourth century, it was enlarged to one
hundred thousand volumes, above one-half of
which were burnt in the fifth century by the Emperor
Leo the First, so famous for his hatred to

"The inhabitants of Constantinople had not lost
their taste for literature in the beginning of the
thirteenth century, when this city was sacked by
the Crusaders, in the year 1205; the depredations
then committed are related in Mr. Harris's posthumous
works, vol. ii, p. 301, from Nicetas the
Choniate, who was present at the sacking of this
place. His account of the statues, bustos, bronzes,
manuscripts, and other exquisite remains
of antiquity, which then perished, cannot be read
by any lover of arts and learning without emotion.

"The ravages committed by the Turks who
plundered Constantinople, in the year 1453, are
related by Philelphus, who was a man of learning,
and was tutor to aeneas Sylvius (afterwards pope,
under the name of Pius the Second) and was an
eye-witness to what passed at that time. This
tutor says, that the persons of quality, especially
the women, still preserved the Greek language
uncorrupted. He observes, that though the city
had been taken before, it never suffered so much
as at that time; and adds, that, till that period,
the remembrance of ancient wisdom remained at
Constantinople, and that no one among the Latins
was deemed sufficiently learned, who had riot
studied for some time at that place; he expressed
his fear that all the works of the ancients would
be destroyed.

"Still, however, there are the remains of three
libraries at Constantinople: the first is called that
of Constantine the Great; the second is for all
ranks of people without distinction; the third is in
the palace, and is called the Ottoman library; but
a fire consumed a great part of the palace, and
almost the whole library, when as is supposed,
Livy and a great many valuable works of the ancients
perished. Father Possevius has given an
account of the libraries at Constantinople, and in
other parts of the Turkish dominions, in his excellent
work entitled, Apparatus Sacer. (He calls
attention to no less than six thousand authors.)

Many other losses of the writings of the ancients
have been attributed to the zeal of the Christians,
who at different periods made great havock
amongst the Heathen authors. Not a single copy
of the work of Celsus is now to be found, and
what we know of that work is from Origen, his
opponent. The venerable fathers, who employed
themselves in erasing the best works of the most
eminent Greek or Latin authors, in order to transcribe
the lives of saints or legendary tales upon the
obliterated vellum, possible mistook these lamentable
depredations for works of piety. The ancient
fragment of the 91st book of Livy, discovered by
Mr. Bruns, in the Vatican, in 1772, was much defaced
by the pious labours of some well-intentioned
divine. The Monks made war on books as the
Goths had done before them. Great numbers of
manuscripts have also been destroyed in this kingdom
(Great Britain) by its invaders, the Pagan
Danes, and the Normans, by the civil commotions
raised by the barons, by the bloody contests between
the houses of York and Lancaster, and especially
by the general plunder and devastations of monasteries
and religious houses in the reign of Henry
the Eighth; by the ravages committed in the civil
war in the time of Charles the First, and by the
fire that happened in the Cottonian library, October
23, 1731."

Mr. Astle's comments on the volumes or remnants
of volumes which remain to us, becomes most interesting
in the lights thrown on them by Professor
Anthon in his "Classical Dictionary," 1841, which are
quoted in part following those of Mr. Astle.

Mr. Astle remarks:

"The history of Phoenicia by Sanconiatho, who
was a contemporary with Solomon, would have
been entirely lost to us, had it not been for the
valuable fragments preserved by Eusebius."

Says Prof. Anthon:

"Sanchoniathon, a Phoenician author, who if the
fragments of his works that have reached us be
genuine, and if such a person ever existed, must
be regarded as the most ancient writer of whom we
have any knowledge after Moses. As to the period
when be flourished, all is uncertain. He is the
author of three principal works, which were written
in Phoenician. They were translated into the Greek
language by Herennius Philo, who lived in the
second century of our era. It is from this translation
which we obtain all the fragments of Sanchoniathon
that have reached our times. Philo had
divided his translation into nine books, of which
Porphyry made use in his diatribe against the Christians.
It is from the fourth book of this lost work
that Eusebius took, for an end directly opposite to
this, the passages which have come down to us.
And thus we have those documents relating to the
mythology and history of the Phoenicians from the
fourth hand."

Mr. Astle continues:

"Manetho's History of Egypt, and the History
of Chaldea, by Berosus, have nearly met with the
same fate."

From Anthon:

"Berosus; a Babylonian historian. He was a
priest of the temple of Belus in the time of Alexander.
The ancients mention three books of his
of which Josephus and Eusebius have preserved
fragments. Annius of Viterbo published a work
under the name of Berosus, which was soon discovered
to be a forgery."

By Astle:

"The Historical Library of Diodorus Siculus consisted
likewise of forty books, but only fifteen are
now extant; that is, five between the fifth and the
eleventh, and the last ten, with some fragments
collected out of Photius and others."

By Anthon:

"Diodorus, surnamed Siculus, a contemporary
of Julius Caesar and Agustus. He published a
general history in forty books, under the title
'Historical Library,' which covered a period of
1138 years. We have only a small part remaining
of this vast compilation. These rescued portions
we owe to Eusebius, to John Malala and other
writers of the lower empire, who have cited them
in the course of their works. He is the reputed
author of the famous sophism against motion. 'If
any body be moved, it is moved in the place where
it is, or in a place where it is not, for nothing can
act or suffer where it is not, and therefore there is
no such thing as motion.' "

By Astle:

"The General History of Polybius originally
contained forty books; but the first five only, with
some extracts or fragments, are transmitted to us."

By Anthon:

"Polybius, an eminent Greek historian, born
about, B. C. 203. Polybius gave to the world various
historical writings, which are entirely lost with
the exception of his General History. It embraced
a period of 53 years. Of the forty books which it
originally comprehended, time has spared only the
first five entire. Of the rest, as far as the seventeenth,
we have merely fragments though of considerable
size. Of the remaining books we have
nothing left except what is found in two merger
abridgments which the Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus,
in the tenth century caused to be
made of the whole work."

From Astle:

"Dionysius Halicarnassensis wrote twenty books
of Roman antiquities, extending from the siege of
Troy, to the Punic war A. U. C. 488; but only
eleven of them are now remaining, which reach no
further than the year of Rome 312."

From Anthon:

"He was born in the first century B. C. His
principal work was 'Roman Antiquities.' It originally
consisted of twenty books, of which the first
ten remain entire. Dionysius wrote for the Greeks,
and his object was to relieve them from the mortification
which they felt at being conquered by a race
of barbarians, as they considered the Romans to be.
And this he endeavored to effect by twisting and
forging testimonies, and botching up the old legends,
so as to make out a prima facie proof of the Greek
origin of the city of Rome. Valuable additions
were made in 1816, by Mai, from an old MSS."

By Astle:

"Appian is said to have written the Roman
History in twenty-four books; but the greatest
part of the works of that author is lost."

By Anthon:

"He was the author of a Roman History in
twenty-four books which no longer exist entire;
the parts missing have been supplied but was not
written by Appian but is a mere compilation from
Plutarch's Lives of Crassus and Antony."

By Astle:

"Dion Cassius wrote eighty books of history,
but only twenty-five are remaining, with some
fragments, and an epitome of the last twenty by

By Anthon:

"His true name was Cassius, born A. D. 155;
--we have fragments remaining of the first thirty-
six books, they comprehend a period from B. C. 65
to B. C. 10;--they were found by Mai in two Vatican
MSS., which contain a sylloge or collection
made by Maximus Planudes (who lived in the
fourteenth century. He was the first Greek that
made use of the Arabic numerals as they are

Mr. Astle further observes:

"The Emperor Tacitus ordered ten copies of the
works of his relation, the historian, to be made
every year which he sent into the different provinces
of the empire; and yet, notwithstanding his
endeavours to perpetuate these inestimable works,
they were buried in oblivion for many centuries.
Since the restoration of learning an ancient MSS.
was discovered in a monastery in Westphalia,
which contained the most valuable part of his annals;
but in this unique manuscript, part of the
fifth, seventh, ninth and tenth books are deficient,
as are part of the eleventh, and the latter part of the
sixteenth. This MSS. was procured by that great
restorer of learning Pope Leo X., under whose patronage
it was printed at Rome in 1515; he afterwards
deposited it in the Vatican library, where it
is still preserved. Thus posterity is probably indebted
to the above magnificent Pontiff, for the
most valuable part of the works of this inimitable

Accounts which differentiate in their descriptive details
of questioned ink-written fragments of antiquity
and on the genuineness or authenticity of which rests
the truth or falsity of ancient history or other literature,
serve to taint such remains with a certain degree
of suspicion and doubt. When, however, in the light
of investigation, the materials of which they are composed
are found to approach closely the age they
purport to represent, then it is that such fragments
can be said to have fairly established their own identity.

Taylor asserts:

"The remote antiquity of a manuscript is of ten
established by the peculiar circumstance of
its existing BENEATH another writing. Some invaluable
manuscripts of the Holy Scriptures, and
not a few precious fragments of classic literature,
have been thus brought to light.

"The age of a manuscript may often be ascertained
with little chance of error, by some such
indications as the following:--the quality or
appearance of the INK, the nature of the material;
that is to say, whether it be soft leather, or parchment,
or the papyrus of Egypt, or the bombycine
paper; for these materials succeeded each other, in
common use, at periods that are well known;--
the peculiar form, size, and character of the writing;
for a regular progression in the modes of writing
may be traced by abundant evidence through every
age from the remotest times;--the style of the ornaments
or illuminations, as they are termed, often
serves to indicate the age of the book which they decorate.

"From such indications as these, more or less
definite and certain, ancient manuscripts, now extant,
are assigned to various periods, extending
from the sixteenth, to the fourth century of the
Christian era; or perhaps, in one or two instances,
to the third or second. Very few can claim an antiquity
so high as the fourth century; but not a few
are safely attributed to the seventh; and a great
proportion of those extant were unquestionably
executed in the tenth; while many belong to the
following four hundred years. It is, however, to
be observed, that some manuscripts, executed at so
late a time as the thirteenth, or even the fifteenth
century, afford clear internal evidence that, by a
single remove only, the text they contain claims a
REAL antiquity, higher than that even of the oldest
existing copy of the same work. For these older
copies sometimes prove, by the peculiar nature of
the corruptions which have crept into the text, that
they have been derived through a long series of
copies; while perhaps the text of the more modern
manuscripts possesses such a degree of purity and
freedom from all the usual consequences of frequent
transcription, as to make it manifest that the copy
from which it was taken, was so ancient as not to
be far distant from the time of the first publication
of the work."




LA CROIX' preface to his "Science and Literature of
the Middle Ages and the Renaissance," refers to the
Dark Ages:

"In the beginning of the Middle Ages, at the
commencement of the fifth century, the Barbarians
made an inroad upon the old world; their renewed
invasions crushed out, in the course of a few years,
the Greek and Roman civilization; and everywhere
darkness succeeded to light. The religion of Jesus
Christ was alone capable of resisting this barbarian
invasion, and science and literature, together with
the arts, disappeared from the face of the earth,
taking refuge in the churches and monasteries. It
was there that they were preserved as a sacred deposit,
and it was thence that they emerged when
Christianity had renovated pagan society. But
centuries and centuries elapsed before the sum of
human knowledge was equal to what it had been at
the fall of the Roman empire. A new society,
moreover, was needed for the new efforts of human
intelligence as it resumed its rights. Schools and
universities were founded under the auspices of the
clergy and of the religious corporations, and thus
science and literature were enabled to emerge from
their tombs. Europe, amidst the tumultuous conflicts
of the policy which made and unmade kingdoms,
witnessed a general revival of the scholastic
zeal; poets, orators, novelists, and writers increased
in numbers and grew in favour; savants, philosophers,
chemists and alchemists, mathematicians
and astronomers, travellers and naturalists, were
awakened, so to speak, by the life-giving breath of
the Middle Ages; and great scientific discoveries
and admirable works on every imaginable subject
showed that the genius of modern society was not
a whit inferior to that of antiquity. Printing, was
invented, and with that brilliant discovery, the Middle
Ages, which had accomplished their work of
social renovation, made way for the Renaissance,
which scattered abroad in profusion the prolific and
brilliant creations of Art, Science, and Literature."

This author to some extent discredits himself, however,
p. 455, where he remarks:

"Long before the invasions of the Barbarians
the histories written by Greek and Latin authors
concerning the annals of the ancient peoples had
been falling into disfavor. Even the best of them
were little read, for the Christians felt but slight
interest in these pagan narratives, and that is why
works relating to the history of antiquity were already
so scarce."

Another authority writing on the same subject discusses
it from a different standpoint, remarking:

"As in the middle ages invention busied itself
with instruments of torture, and as in our days it
is taken up almost as much with the destructive engines
of war as with the productive arts of peace,
so in those early ages it applied itself to the fabrication
of idols, to the mechanism and theatrical
contrivances for mysteries and religious ceremonies.
There was then no desire to communicate
discoveries, science was a sort of freemasonry,
and silence was effectually secured by priestly
anathemas; men of science were as jealous of one
another as they were of all other classes of society.
If we wish to form a clear picture of this earliest
stage of civilization, an age which represents at
once the naivete of childhood and the suspicious
reticence of senility, we must turn our eyes to the
priest, on the one hand, claiming as his own all art
and science, and commanding respect by his contemptuous
silence; and, on the other hand, to the
mechanic plying the loom, extracting the Tyrian
dye, practising chemistry, though ignorant of its
very name, despised and oppressed, and only tolerated
when he furnished Religion with her trappings
or War with arms. Thus the growth of
chemistry was slow, and by reason of its backwardness
it was longer than any other art in ridding
itself of the leading-strings of magic and
astrology. Practical discoveries must have been
made many times without science acquiring thereby
any new fact. For to prevent a new discovery from
being lost there must be such a combination of
favorable circumstances as was rare in that age and
for many succeeding ages. There must be publicity,
and publicity is of quite recent growth; the
application of the discovery must be not only possible
but obvious, as satisfying some want. But
wants are only felt as civilization progresses. Nor
is that all; for a practical discovery to become a
scientific fact it must serve to demonstrate the error
of one hypothesis, and to suggest a new one, better
fitted for the synthesis of existing facts. But
(some) old beliefs are proverbially obstinate and
virulent in their opposition to newer and truer
theories which are destined to eject and replace
them. To sum up, even in our own day, chemistry
rests on a less sound basis than either physics, which
had the advantage of originating as late as the 17th
century, or astronomy, which dates from the time
when the Chaldean shepherd had sufficiently provided
for his daily wants to find leisure for gazing
into the starry Heavens."

The observations of a still earlier commentator are of
the same general nature. He says:

"In the first ages of Christianity, when the
fathers of the Church, the Jews, and the Heathen
philosophers were so warmly engaged in controversy,
there is reason to believe that pious frauds
were not uncommon: and that when one party suspected
forgeries, instead of an attempt at confutation,
which might have been difficult, they had
recourse perhaps to a countermine: and either invented
altogether, or eked out some obscure traditional
scraps by the embellishments of fancy.
When we consider, amongst many literary impositions
of later times, that Psalmanazar's history of
Formosa was, even in this enlightened age and
country (England, about 1735), considered by our
most learned men as unquestionably authentic, till
the confession of the author discovered the secret,
I think it is not difficult to conceive how forgeries
of remote events, before the invention of printing
and the general diffusion of knowledge might gain
an authority, and especially with the zealous, hardly
inferior to that of the most genuine history."

De Vinne, however, in his "Invention of Printing,"
New York, 1878, best explains the status quo of those
times, relative not only to book (MSS.) making, and
methods of circulation, but the causes which led up to
their eventual disappearance and the literary darkness
which ensued. His remarks are so pertinent
that they are quoted at length:

"The civilization of ancient Rome did not require
printing. If all the processes of typography
had been revealed to its scholars the art would not
have been used. The wants of readers and writers
were abundantly supplied by the pen. Papyrus
paper was cheap, and scribes were numerous; Rome
had more booksellers than it needed, and books
were made faster than they could be sold. The
professional scribes were educated slaves, who, fed
and clothed at nominal expense, and organized under
the direction of wealthy publishers, were made
so efficient in the production of books, that typography,
in an open competition, could have offered few advantages.

"Our knowledge of the Roman organization of
labor in the field of bookmaking is not as precise as
could be wished; but the frequent notices of books,
copyists and publishers, made by many authors
during the first century, teach us that books
were plentiful. Horace, the elegant and fastidious
man of letters, complained that his books were too
common, and that they were sometimes found in
the hands of vulgar snobs for whose entertainment
they were not written. Martial, the jovial man of
the world, boasted that his books of stinging epigrams
were to be found in everybody's hands or
pockets. Books were read not only in the libraries,
but at the baths, in the porticoes of houses, at
private dinners and in mixed assemblies. The
business of bookmaking was practised by too many
people, and some were incompetent. Lucian, who
had a keen perception of pretense in every form,
ridicules the publishers as ignoramuses. Strabo,
who probably wrote illegibly, says that the books
of booksellers were incorrect.

"The price of books made by slave labor was
necessarily low. Martial says that his first book of
epigrams was sold in plain binding for six sesterces,
about twenty-four cents of American money; the
same book in sumptuous binding was valued at five
denarii, about eighty cents. He subsequently complained
that his thirteenth book was sold for only
four sesterces, about sixteen cents. He frankly
admits that half of this sum was profit, but intimates,
somewhat ungraciously, that the publisher Tryphon
gave him too small a share. Of the merits of this
old disagreement between the author and publisher
we have not enough of facts to justify an opinion.
We learn that some publishers, like Tryphon and
the brothers Sosii, acquired wealth, but there are
many indications that publishing was then, as it is
now, one of the most speculative kinds of business.
One writer chuckles over the unkind fate that sent
so many of the unsold books of rival authors from
the warehouses of the publisher, to the shops of
grocers and bakers, where they were used to wrap
up pastry and spices; another writer says that the
unsold stock of a bookseller was sometimes bought
by butchers and trunk makers.

"The Romans not only had plenty of books but
they had a manuscript daily newspaper, the Acta
Diurna, which seems to have been a record of the
proceedings of the senate. We do not know how
it was written, nor how it was published, but it
was frequently mentioned by contemporary writers
as the regular official medium for transmitting
intelligence. It was sent to subscribers in distant
cities, and was, sometimes, read to an assembled
army. Cicero mentions the Acta as a sheet in
which he expected to find the city news and gossip
about marriages and divorces.

"With the decline of power in the Roman empire
came the decline of literature throughout the
world. In the sixth century the business of bookmaking
had fallen into hopeless decay. The books
that had been written were seldom read, and the
number of readers diminished with every succeeding
generation. Ignorance pervaded in all ranks of
society. The Emperor Justin I, who reigned between
the years 518 and 527, could not write, and
was obliged to sign state papers with the form of
stencil plate that had been recommended by Quintilian.
Respect for literature was dead. In the
year, 476, Zeno, the Isaurian, burned 120,000 volumes
in the city of Constantinople. During the
year 640, Amrou, the Saracen, fed the baths of
Alexandria for six months with the 500,000 books
that had been accumulating for centuries in its
famous library of the Serapion. Yet books were
so scarce in Rome at the close of the seventh century
that Pope Martin requested one of his bishops
to supply them, if possible, from Germany. The
ignorance of ecclesiastics in high station was
alarming. During this century, and for centuries
afterward, there were many bishops and archbishops
of the church who could not sign their names. It
was asserted at a council of the church held in the
year 992, that scarcely a single person was to be
found in Rome itself who knew the first elements of
letters. Hallam says, 'To sum up the account of
ignorance in a word, it was rare for a layman of
any rank to know bow to sign his name.' He repeats
the statements that Charlemagne could not
write, and Frederic Barbarossa could not read.
John, king of Bohemia, and Philip, the Hardy, king
of France, were ignorant of both accomplishments.
The graces of literature were tolerated only in the
ranks of the clergy; the layman who preferred letters
to arms was regarded as a man of mean spirit.
When the Crusaders took Constantinople, in 1204,
they exposed to public ridicule the pens and inkstands
that they found in the conquered city as the
ignoble arms of a contemptible race of students.

"During this period of intellectual darkness,
which lasted from the fifth until the fifteenth century,
a period sometimes described, and not improperly,
as the dark ages, there was no need for
any improvement in the old method of making
books. The world was not then ready for typography.
The invention waited for readers more than
it did for types; the multitude of book buyers
upon which its success depended had to be created.
Books were needed as well as readers. The treatises
of the old Roman sophists and rhetoricians, the
dialectics of Aristotle and the schoolmen, and the
commentaries on ecclesiastical law of the fathers of
the church, were the works which engrossed the
attention of men of letters for many centuries before
the invention of typography. Useful as these books
may have been to the small class of readers for
whose benefit they were written, they were of no
use to a people who needed the elements of knowledge."

In the more ancient times, however, when MSS. books
(rolls) were not quite so plentiful there was seemingly
no difficulty in obtaining large sums for them.

Aristotle, died B. C. 322, paid for a few books of
Leusippus, the philosopher, three Attick talents, which
is about $3,000. Ptolemy Philadelphus is said to have
given the Athenians fifteen talents, an exemption from
tribute and a large supply of provisions for the MSS.
of aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides written by

Arbuthnot, discussing this subject, remarks that Cicero's
head, "which should justly come into the account
of Eloquence brought twenty-five Myriads of
Drachms, which is the equivalent of $40,000. Also,
"the prices of the magical books mentioned to be
burnt in the Acts of the Apostles is five. Myriads of
Pieces of Silver or Drachms."

Picolimini relates that the equivalent of eighty
golden crowns was demanded for a small part of the
works of Plutarch.

If we are to believe any of the accounts, the environment
of the art of handwriting and handwriting
materials at the beginning of the fifth century had
contracted within a small compass, due principally to
the general ignorance of the times.

As practiced it was pretty much under the control
of the different religious denominations and the information
obtainable about inks from these sources
is but fragmentary. What has come down to us of
this particular era is mostly found on the old written
Hebrew relics, showing that they at least had made
no innovations in respect to the use of their ritualistic

The invention of the quill pen in the sixth century
permitted a degree of latitude in writing never before
known, the inks were made thinner and necessarily
were less durable in character. Greater attention was
given to the study and practice of medicine and
alchemy which were limited to the walls of the
cloister and secret places. The monk physicians endeavored
by oral instructions and later by written
ones to communicate their ink-making methods not
only of the black and colored, but of secret or sympathetic
inks, to their younger brethren, that they might
thus be perpetuated. All the traditional and practical
knowledge they possessed was condensed into manuscript
forms; additions from other hands which included
numerous chemical receipts for dyeing caused
them to multiply; so that as occasion required from
time to time, they were bound up together booklike
and then circulated among favored secular individuals,
under the name of "Secreta."

The more remote of such treatises which have come
down to us seem to indicate the trend of the researches
respecting what must have been in those times
unsatisfactory inks. Scattered through them appear a
variety of formulas which specify pyrites (a combination
of sulphur and metal), metals, stones and other
minerals, soot, (blue) vitriol, calxes (lime or chalk),
dye-woods, berries, plants, and animal colors, some of
which if made into ink could only have been used
with disastrous results, when permanency is considered.

The black ink formulas of the eighth century are
but few, and show marked improvement in respect to
the constituents they call for, indicating that many
of those of earlier times had been tried and found
wanting. One in particular is worthy of notice as it
names (blue) vitriol, yeast, the lees (dregs) of wine
and the rind of the pomegranate apple, which if
commingled together would give results not altogether
unlike the characteristic phenomena of "gall" ink.
Confirmation of the employment of such an ink on a
document of the reign of Charlemigne in the beginning
of the ninth century on yellow-brown Esparto
(a Spanish rush) paper, is still preserved. Specimens
of "pomegranate" ink, to which lampblack and
other pigments had been added of varying degrees of
blackness, on MSS., but lessening in number as late as
the fourteenth century, are still extant in the British
Museum and other public libraries.




THE ancient history of the art of writing in more
northern sections of the Western world, William
Nicolson, Arch-Deacon of Carlisle, author of "The
English Historical Library," London, 1696, tells very

"The Danes register'd their more considerable
transactions upon Rocks; or on parts of them,
hewen into various Shapes and Figures. On these
they engrav'd such Inscriptions as were proper for
their Heathen Alters, Triumphal Arches, Sepulchral
Monuments and Genealogical Histories of
their Ancestors. Their writings of less concern
(as Letters, Almanacks, &c.) were engraven upon
Wood: And because Beech was most plentiful in
Demnark, (tho Firr and Oak be so in Norway and
Sweden) and most commonly employ'd in these
Services, form the word Bog (which in their Language
is the Name of that sort of Wood) they and
all other Northern Nations have the Name of Book.
The poorer sort used Bark; and the Horns of Rain-
Deer and Elks were often finely polish'd and shaped
into Books of several Leaves. Many of these old
Calendars are likewise upon Bones of Beasts and
Fishes: But the Inscriptions on Tapestry, Bells,
Parchment and Paper, are of later use.

"Some other Monuments may be known to be of
a Danish Extraction, tho they carry nothing of a
Runic Inscription. Few of their Temples were
cover'd; and the largest observ'd by Wormius (at
Kialernes in Island) was 120 foot in length, and 60
in breadth.

"The next Monument of Age is their Edda
Islandorum; the meaning of which Appellation they
that publish the Book hardly pretend to understand.
As far as I can give the Reader any satisfaction,
he is to. know that Island was first inhabited (in
the year 874) by a Colony of Norwegians; who
brought hither the Traditions of their Forefathers,
in certain metrical Composures, which (as is usual
with Men transplanted into a Foreign Land) were
here more zealously and carefully preserv'd and
kept in memory than by the Men of Norway themselves.
About 240 years after this (A. D. 1114)
their History began to be written by one Saemund,
surnam'd Frode or the wise; who (in nine years'
travel through Italy, Germany and England) had
amass'd together a mighty Collection of Historical
Treatises. With these he return'd full fraught into
Island; where he also drew up an account of
the affairs of his own Country. Many of his
Works are now said to be lost: But there is still an
Edda, consisting of several Odes (whence I suspect
its Name is derived) written by many several hands,
and at different times, which bears his Name.
The Book is a Collection of Mythological Fables,
relating to the ancient State and Behaviour of the
Great Woden and his followers, in terms poetical
and adapted to the Service of those that were employ'd
in the composure of their old Rhymes and Sonnets.

"There is likewise extant a couple of Norwegian
Histories of good Authentic Credit; which explains
a great many particulars relating to the Exploits of
the Danish Kings in Great Britain, which our own
Historians have either wholly omitted or very
darkly recorded. The former of these was written
soon after the year 1130, by one Theodoric a Monk,
who acknowledges his whole Fabrick to be built
upon Tradition, and that the old Northern History
is no where now to be had save only ab Islendingorum
antiquis Carminibus.

" 'Tis a very discouraging Censure which Sir
William Temple passes upon all the Accounts given
us of the Affairs of this Island, before the Romans
came and Invaded it. The Tales (says he) we have
of what pass'd before Caesar's Time, of Brute and
his Trojans, of many Adventures and Successions,
are cover'd with the Rust of Time, or Involv'd in
the Vanity of Fables or pretended Traditions;
which seem to all Men obscure or uncertain, but to
be forged at pleasure by the Wit or Folly of their
first Authors, and not to be regarded. And again;
I know few ancient Authors upon this Subject (of
the British History) worth the pains of perusal, and
of Dividing or Refining so little Gold out of so much
course Oar, or from so much Dross. But some
other Inferiour People may think this worth their
pains; since all Men are not born to be Ambassadors:
And, accordingly, we are told of a very Eminent
Antiquary who has thought fit to give his
Labours in this kind the Title of Aurum, ex Stercore.
There's a deal of Servile Drudgery requir'd
to the Discovery of these riches, and such as every
Body will not stoop to: for few Statesmen and
Courtiers (as one is lately said to have observ'd in
his own Case) care for travelling in Ireland, or
Wales, purely to learn the Language.

"A diligent Enquirer into our old British Antiquities
would rather observe (with Industrious Leland)
that the poor Britains, being harass'd by
those Roman Conquerours with continual Wars,
could neither have leisure nor thought for the
penning of a Regular History: and that afterwards
their Back-Friends, the Saxons, were (for a good
while) an Illiterate Generation; and minded nothing
but Killing and taking Possession. So that
'tis a wonder that even so much remains of the
Story of those Times as the sorry Fragments of
Gildas; who appears to have written in such a
Consternation, that what he has left us looks more
like the Declamation of an Orator, hired to expose
the miserable Wretches, than any Historical Account
of their Sufferings."

Palgrave asserts that reading and writing were no
longer mysteries after the pagan age, but were still
acquirements almost wholly confined to the clergy.

The word "clericus" or "clerk," became synonymous
with penman, the sense in which it is still most
usually employed. If a man could write, or even
read, his knowledge was considered as proof presumptive
that he was in holy orders. If kings and great
men had occasion to authenticate any document, they
subscribed the "sign" of the cross opposite to the place
where the "clerk" had written their name. Hence
we say, to sign a deed or a letter.

Books (MSS.) were extremely rare amongst the
Scandinavian and northern nations. Before their
communication with the Latin missionaries, wood appears
to have been the material upon which their
runes were chiefly written: and the verb "write,"
which is derived from a Teutonic root, signifying to
scratch or tear, is one of the testimonies of the usage.
Their poems were graven upon small staves or rods,
one line upon each face of the rod; and the Old English
word "stave," as applied to a stanza, is probably
a relic of the practice, which, in the early ages, prevailed
in the West. Vellum or parchment afterwards
supplied the place of these materials. Real paper,
manufactured from the pellicle of the Egyptian reed
or papyras, was still used occasionally in Italy, but
it was seldom exported to the countries beyond the
Alps; and the elaborate preparation of the vellum,
upon which much greater care was bestowed than in
the modern manufacture, rendered it a costly article;
so much so, that a painstaking clerk could find it
worth his while to erase the writing of an old book,
in order to use the blank pages for another manuscript.
The books thus rewritten were called "codices rescripti,"
or "palimpsests." The evanescent traces of
the first layer of characters may occasionally be
discerned beneath the more recent text which has been
imposed upon them.

In Ireland, first known as the Isle of Saints, was
founded in the seventh century a great school of
learning which included writing and illuminating,
which passed to the English by way of the monasteries
created by Irish monks in Scotland. Their earliest
existing MSS. are said to belong to that period. In
the Irish scriptoriums (rooms or cells for writing) of
the Benedictine monasteries where they were prepared,
so particular were the monks that the scribes were
forbidden to use artificial light for fear of injuring the

Most interesting and entertaining are the observations
of Falconer Madan, a modern scholar of some
repute. Of the history of writing in ink during the
"Dark Ages" he says:

"In the seventh and eighth centuries we find the
first tendency to form national hands, resulting in
the Merovingian or Frankish hand, the Lombardic
of Italy, and the Visigothic of Spain. These are
the first difficult bands which we encounter; and
when we remember that the object of writing is to
be clear and distinct, and that the test of a good
style is that it seizes on the essential points in
which letters differ, and puts aside the flourishes
and ornaments which disguise the simple form, we
shall see how much a strong influence was needed
to prevent writing from becoming obscure and degraded.
That influence was found in Charles the Great.

"In the field of writing it has been granted to no
person but Charles the Great to influence profoundly
the history of the alphabet. With rare
insight and rarer taste he discountenanced the prevalent
Merovingian hand, and substituted in eclectic
hand, known as the Carolingian Minuscule, which
way still be regarded as a model of clearness and
elegance. The chief instrument in this reform was
Alcuin of York, whom Charles placed, partly for
this purpose, at the head of the School of Tours in
A. D. 796. The selection of an Englishman for
the post naturally leads us to inquire what hands
were then used in England, and what amount of
English influence the Carolingian Minuscule, the
foundation of our modern styles, exhibits.

"If we gaze in wonder on the personal influence
of Charles the Great in reforming handwriting, we
shall be still more struck by the spectacle presented
to us by Ireland in the sixth, seventh and eighth
centuries. It is the great marvel in the history of
writing. Modern historians have at last appreciated
the blaze of life, religions, literary, and artistic,
which was kindled in the 'Isle of Saints' within
a century after St. Patrick's coming (about A. D.
450); how the enthusiasm kindled by Christianity
in the Celtic nature so far transcended the limits of
the island, and indeed of Great Britain, that Irish
missionaries and monks were soon found in the
chief religious centres of Gaul, Germany, Switzerland,
and North Italy, while foreigners found their
toilsome way to Ireland to learn Greek! But less
prominence has been given to the artistic side of
this great reflex movement from West to East than
to the other two. The simple facts attest that in
the seventh century, when our earliest existing
Irish MSS. were written, we find not only a style
of writing (or indeed two) distinctive, national,
and of a high type of excellence, but also a school
of illumination which, in the combined lines of
mechanical accuracy and intricacy, of fertile invention
of form and figure and of striking arrangements
of colour, has never been surpassed. And
this is in the seventh century--the nadir of the rest
of Europe!

"It is certain that Alcuin was trained in Hiberno-
Saxon calligraphy, so that we may be surprised to
find that the writing which, under Charles the Great,
he developed at Tours, bears hardly a trace of the
style to which he was accustomed. En revanche,
in the ornamentation and illumination of the great
Carolingian volumes which have come down to our
times, we find those constant, persistent traces of
English and Irish work which we seek for in vain
in the plainer writing.

"This minuscule superseded all others almost
throughout the empire of Charles the Great, and
during the ninth, tenth, and eleventh centuries
underwent very little modification. Even in the two
next centuries, though it is subject to general
modification, national differences are hardly observable,
and we can only distinguish two large divisions,
the group of Northern Europe (England, North
France, Italy, and Spain). The two exceptions
are, that Germany, both in writing and painting,
has always stood apart, and lags behind the other
nations of Western Europe in its development, and
that England retains her Hiberno-Saxon hand till
after the Conquest of 1066. It may be noted that
the twelfth century produced the finest writing ever
known--a large, free and flowing form of the minuscule
of Tours. In the next century comes in the angular
Gothic hand, the difference between which and
the twelfth century hand may be fairly understood
by a comparison of ordinary German and Roman
type. In the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth
centuries the writing of each century may be
discerned, while the general tendency is towards
complication, use of abbreviations and contractions,
and development of unessential parasitic forms of

"The Book of Kells, the chief treasure of Trinity
College, Dublin, is so-called from having been
long preserved at the Monastery of Kells, founded
by Columba himself. Stolen from thence, it eventually
passed into Archbishop Ussher's hands, and,
with other parts of his library, to Dublin. The
volume contains the Four Gospels in Latin, ornamented
with extraordinary freedom, elaboration, and
beauty. Written apparently in the seventh century,
it exhibits, both in form and colour, all the
signs of the full development and maturity of the
Irish style, and must of necessity have been preceded
by several generations of artistic workers,
who founded and improved this particular school
of art. The following words of Professor Westwood,
who first drew attention to the peculiar excellences
of this volume, will justify tile terms made
use of above: 'This copy of the Gospels, traditionally
asserted to have belonged to Columba, is
unquestionably the most elaborately executed MS.
of early art now in existence, far excelling, in the
gigantic size of the letters in the frontispieces of
the Gospel, the excessive minuteness of the ornamental
details, the number of its decorations, the
fineness of the writing, and the endless variety of
initial capital letters with which every page is
ornamented, the famous Gospels of Lindisfarne in the
Cottonian Library. But this MS. is still more valuable
on account of the various pictorial representations
of different scenes in the life of our Saviour,
delineated in a style totally unlike that of every
other school.' "




MOST of the documents of early mediaeval times
which remain to us containing ink in fairly good condition,
like charters, protocols, bulls, wills, diplomas,
and the like, were written or engrossed with "Indian"
ink, in which respect we of the present century continue
to follow such established precedent when preparing
important written instruments. It is not
remarkable, therefore, that the black inks of the
seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth centuries preserve
their blackness so much better than many belonging
to succeeding ages, including a new class of inks which
could not stand the test of time.

During the twelfth and first years of the thirteenth
centuries there were bitter controversies among Talmudic
(Hebrew) scholars, relative to the character of
the ink to be employed in the preparation of ritualistic
writings. Nice distinctions were drawn as to the
real meaning of the word deyo as understood by the
Jews of the western part of the world, and the Arabic
word alchiber, as then understood nearer Palestine
and the other eastern countries.

The French Jews were using "tusche" (typical of
the "Indian" ink), while the Germans were employing
"pomegranate" and "gall" inks. Representatives
from interested religious Jewish centers came
together and resolved to submit their differences for
final adjustment to Maimonides, born in Spain, A. D.
1130 , and died A. D. 1204--the then greatest living
Hebrew theologian and authority on biblical and
rabbinical laws. Discarding all side issues, their differences
were seemingly incorporated into three questions
and thus propounded to him:

1. Is the Talmudic deyo identical with alchiber?

2. Of what ingredient should the Talmudic deyo
consist, if it is not the same as alchiber?

3. Is alchiber to be understood as relating to the
gall-apple and chalkanthum (blue vitriol)?

To the first and third questions Maimonides declared
that deyo and alchiber were not identical;
and for the reasons that the Talmud declares deyo to
be a writing material which does not remain on the
surface on which it is placed and to be easily effaced.
On the other hand alchiber contains gum and other
things which causes it to adhere to the writing surface.

To the second question he affirmed that the Talmud
distinguishes a double kind of deyo, one containing
little or no gum and being a fluid, and the other referring
to "pulverized coal of the vine, soot from
burning olive oil, tar, rosin and honey, pressed into
plates to be dissolved in water when wanted for use."
Furthermore, while the Talmud excludes the use of
certain inks of which iron vitriol was one, it does not
exclude atramentum, (chalkanthum, copper vitriol),
because the Talmud never speaks of it. He insisted
that the Talmud requires a dry ink (deyo).

As one of the last entries made in the Talmud (a
great collection of legal decisions by the ancient
Rabbis, Hebrew traditions, etc., and believed to have
been commenced in the second century of the Christian
era) is claimed to belong to the sixth century,
mentions gall-apples and iron (copper) vitriol, it must
have referred to "gall" ink. Further investigation
discloses the fact that such galls were of Chinese origin
and as we know they do not contain the necessary
ferment which the aleppo and other galls possess for
inducing a transformation of the tannin into gallic
acid, no complete union could therefore obtain.
Hence the value of this composition was limited until
the time when yeast and other materials were introduced
to overcome its deficiencies.

Hotz-Osterwald of Zurich, antiquarian and scholar,
has asserted that with the exception of the carbon
inks employed on papyrus, the writing pigments of
antiquity and the Middle Ages have scarcely been
investigated. The dark to light-brown pigment,
hitherto a problem, universally used on parchment,
he contends upon historical, chemical and microscopic
evidence is identical with oeno-cyanin and was prepared
for the most part from yeast, and was first
employed as a pigment. Contrary to the general opinion
it contains no iron, except frequently accidental
traces, and after its appearance in Greece in the third
century, it formed almost exclusively the ink of the
ancient manuscripts, until displaced by the gallate
inks, said to have been introduced by the
Arabians. These accidental traces of iron were due
to the employment of iron vessels in the making of
the ink.

My own observations in this direction confirm and
establish the fact that it was the custom in the early
centuries of the Christian era to utilize yeast or an
analogous compound as part of the composition of ink,
to which was added sepia, or the rind of the pomegranate
apple previously dissolved by heat in alkaline

This analogous compound was probably the material
procured from wine lees (dregs), deposited after fermentation
has commenced, and which after considerable
application of heat yields not only most of the
tannin contained in the stones and fruit stalks, but a
viscid compound characteristic of gelatine and of a
red-purple color which in course of time changes to

Bloxam says that the coloring matter of grapes and
of red wine appears to be "cyanin."

One of the methods of treating wine lees, as translated
in the eighteenth century from an old Italian
secreta, is sufficiently curious to partly quote:

"Dry the Lees (dregs) of wine with a gentle fire
and fill with them two third of a large earthen Retort,
place this retort in a reverberatory furnace, and
fitting it to a large receiver, give a small fire to it to
heat the Retort by degrees, and drive forth an insipid
phlegm; when vapours begin to rise, you must
take out the phlegm and luting carefully the junctures
of your vessels, quicken the fire little by little
until you find the receiver filled with white clouds;
continue it in this condition, and you perceive the
receiver to cool, raise the fire to the utmost extremity,
and continue it so, until there arise no more
vapours. When the vessels are cold unlute the receiver,
and shaking it to make the Volatile salt,
which sticks to it, fall to the bottom, pour it all
into a bolt-head; fit it to a Head with a small receiver;
lute well the junctures and placing it in
sand, give a little fire under it, and the volatile salt
will rise and stick to the head, and the top of the
Bolt-head; take off your head and set on another
in its place; gather your salt and stop it tip quickly,
for it easily dissolves into a liquor; continue the
fire, and take care to gather the Salt according as
you see it appear; but when there rises no more
salt, a liquor will distill, of which you must draw
about three ounces, and put out the fire," &c.

The "lees of wine," in connection with the ancient
methods of ink-making is also referred to by the
younger Pliny in his twenty-fifth book, which the
Edinburgh Review has carefully translated and

"INK (or literally) BLACKING.--Ink also may be
set down among the artificial (or compound)
drugs, although it is a mineral derived from two
sources. For, it is sometimes developed in the
form of a saline efflorescence,--or is a real mineral
of sulphureous color--chosen for this purpose.
There have been painters who dug up from graves
colored coals (CARBON). But all these are useless
and new-fangled notions. For it is made from
soot in various forms, as (for instance) of burnt
rosin or pitch. For this purpose, they have built
manufactories not emitting that smoke. The ink
of the very best quality is made from the smoke of
torches. An inferior article is made from the soot
of furnaces and bath-house chimneys. There are
some (manufacturers) also, who employ the dried
lees of wine; and they do say that if the lees so
employed were from good wine, the quality of the
ink is thereby much improved. Polygnotus and
Micon, celebrated painters at Athens, made their
black paint from burnt grape-vines; they gave it
the name of TRYGYNON. APELLES, we are told,
made HIS from burnt ivory, and called it elephantina
'ivory-black.' Indigo has been recently imported,--
a substance whose composition I have not
yet investigated. The dyers make theirs from the
dark crust that gradually accumulates on brass-kettles.
Ink is made also from torches (pine-knots),
and from charcoal pounded fine in mortars. 'The
cuttlefish' has a remarkable qualify in this respect;
but the coloring-matter which it produces is not
used in the manufacture of ink. All ink is improved
by exposure to the sun's rays. Book-writers'
ink has gum mixed with it,--weavers' ink is
made up with glue. Ink whose materials have been
liquified by the agency of an acid is erased with
great difficulty."

There are but few exceptions respecting the general
sameness of ink receipts of the succeeding centuries,
one of which is the "Pomegranate," credited
to the seventh century but really belonging to an earlier

"Of the dried Pommegranite (apple) rind take
an ounce, boil it in a pint of water until 3/4 be
gone; add 1/2 pint of small beer wort and once
more boil it away so that only a 1/4 pint remain.
After you shall have strained it, boiling hot through
a linnen cloth and it comes cold, being then of a
glutinous consistence, drop in a 'bit' of Sal Alkali
and add as much warm water as will bring it to a
due fluidity and a gold brown color for writing with
a pen."

Following this formula and without any modifications,
I obtained an excellent ink of durable quality,
but of poor color, from a standpoint of blackness.

A less ancient "Secreta," signed by the Italian
monk "Theophilus," who lived about the commencement
of the eleventh century, is most interesting:

"To make ink, cut for yourself wood of the
thorn-trees in April or May, before they produce
flowers or leaves, and collecting them in small bundles,
allow them to lie in the shade for two, three,
or four weeks, until they are somewhat dry. Then
have wooden mallets, with which you beat these
thorns upon another piece of hard wood, until you
peel off the bark everywhere, put which immediately
into a barrelful of water. When you have
filled two, or three, or four, or five barrels with
bark and water, allow them so to stand for eight
days, until the waters imbibe all the sap of the bark.
Afterwards put this water into a very clean pan, or
into a cauldron, and fire being placed under it, boil
it; from time to time, also, throw into the pan some
of this bark, so that whatever sap may remain in it
may be boiled out. When you have cooked it a
little, throw it out, and again put in more; which
done, boil down the remaining water unto a third
part, and then pouring it out of this pan, put it
into one smaller, and cook it until it grows black
and begins to thicken; add one third part of pure
wine, and putting it into two or three new pots,
cook it until you see a sort of skin show itself on
the surface; then taking these pots from the fire,
place them in the sun until the black ink purifies itself
from the red dregs. Afterwards take small
bags of parchment carefully sewn, and bladders,
and pouring in the pure ink, suspend them in the
sun until all is quite dry; And when dry, take from
it as much as you wish, and temper it with wine
over the fire, and, adding a little vitriol, write.
But, if it should happen through negligence that
your ink be not black enough, take a fragment of
the thickness of a finger and putting it into the
fire, allow it to glow, and throw it directly into the

After reciting many receipts which pertain to other
arts, this good old monk concludes:

"When you shall have re-read this often, and
have committed it to your tenacious memory, you
shall thus recompense me for this care of instruction,
that, as often as you shall successfully have
made use of my work, you pray for me for the pity
of omnipotent God, who knows that I have written
these things which are here arranged, neither
through love of human approbation, nor through
desire of temporal reward, nor have I stolen anything
precious or rare through envious jealousy, nor
have I kept back anything reserved for myself
alone; but, in augmentation of the honour and
glory of His name, I have consulted the progress
and hastened to aid the necessities of many men."

The "thorn" trees which Theophilus mentions are
asserted by some writers (with whom I do not
agree) to be those commonly known as the "Norway
spruce," a species of pine of lofty proportions sometimes
rising to the height of 150 feet with a trunk
from four to five feet in diameter. It lives to a great
age believed to exceed in many instances 450 years.
The leaves (needles, thorns) are short but stand thickly
upon the branches and are of a dusky green color
shining on the upper surface; the fruit is nearly
cylindrical in form and of a purple color covered with
scales ragged at the edges. It is a native of Europe
and Northern Asia. It furnishes the material known
as Burgundy pitch which is obtained by removing the
juice which is secreted in the bark of the tree; it is
purified by a melting process and straining either
through a cloth or a layer of straw. It gives forth a
peculiar odor not unpleasant, resembling turpentine.
The Burgundy pitch or rosin is soluble in hot alcohol
(spirits of wine).

An ink prepared after the method laid down by this
monk, assuming that he referred to the spruce-pine,
while troublesome to write with, would be almost as
lasting as "Indian" ink and would be most difficult
to erase from parchment into which it would be absorbed
due to its alcoholic qualities.

"The ink," remarks Montfaucon, "which we see in
the most ancient Greek manuscripts, has evidently
lost much of its pristine blackness; yet neither has it
become altogether yellow or faint, but is rather tawny
or deep red, and often not far from a vermillion."
While there are some monuments of this kind of ink
in fair condition of the fourth and succeeding centuries,
they aggregate but a very small proportion of
the vast number of principally Indian ink specimens
which remain to us of those epochs. As exemplars,
however, of a forgotten class of inks belonging to a still
more remote antiquity, careful research adduces certain
proof of their existence more than nine hundred
years before the Christian era commenced.

Reference has earlier been made to the ancient
Myrobolam ink, which was characteristically the same
in color phenomena as those which Montfaucon mentions.
These "tawny" colored inks I estimate were
products obtained from the "thorn" trees spoken of
by the monk Theophilus. The thorn trees were of
two species. The pomegranate, anciently called the
"Punic apple," because it was largely employed by
the Carthagenians for the purposes of dyeing and
tanning; and the acacia, known in Egyptian times
as the lotus. The former was held in such high esteem
that the Arabians and Egyptians made it an emblem
to designate one of their dieties and termed it

The products of these thorn, trees were collectively
used together as ink, most of the tannin being obtained
from the pomegranate, and the gum from the acacia.




THE "Secretas" of the twelfth century, in so far as
they relate to methods of making ink, indicate many
departures from those contained in the more ancient
ones. Frequent mention is made of sour galls, aleppo
galls, green and blue vitriol, the lees of wine, black
amber, sugar, fish-glue and a host of unimportant materials
as being employed in the admixture of black
inks. Combinations of some of these materials are
expressed in formulas, the most important one of
which details with great particularity the commingling
together of an infusion of nut-galls, green vitriol (sulphate
of iron) and fish-glue (isinglass); the two first
(tanno-gallate of iron) when used alone, forms the sole
base of all unadulterated "gall" inks.

Dates are appended to some of these ink and other
formulas. The "tanno-gallate of iron" one has, however,
no date. But as it appears closely following
a date of A. D. 1126, it must have been written about
that time.

Documents, public and private, bearing dates nearly
contemporary with that era, written in ink of like
type, are still extant, confirming in a remarkable
degree the "Secreta" formula, and establishing the
fact that the first half of the twelfth century marks
the epoch in which the "gall" or modern ink of today
came into vogue.

Its adoption by the priests stamped it with the
seal of the Church and the arrival from the West
about the same period of flax or linen paper with the
added fact that these assimilated so well together,
later placed them both on the popular basis which
has continued to the present time.

While the Secreta which contains the "gall" ink
formula is of Italian origin, the invention of this ink
belongs solely to an Asiatic country, from whence in
gradual stages by way of Arabia, Spain and France,
it finally reached Rome. Thence, through the Church,
information about it was conveyed to wherever civilization

We are not confined in our investigations of ancient
MSS. to any particular locality or date, as the twelfth,
thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth centuries are prolific
of "gall" ink monuments covering an immense
territory. Such inks when used unadulterated, remain
in an almost pristine color condition; while the
other inks to which some pigment or color had been
added, probably to make them more agreeable in appearance
and more free-flowing, with a mistaken idea
of improving them, are much discolored and in every
instance present but slight indications of their original

The question of the character of the paper employed
during these eras, composed of different kinds
of fibrous vegetable substances, possesses some importance
when discussing its relationship to inks. Many
authors certify to the manufacture and use of "cotton"
in the eleventh, twelfth and later centuries.
Madan, however, in treating this subject, makes the
following comments which are in line with my own

"Paper has for long been the common substance
for miscellaneous purposes of ordinary writing, and
has at all times been formed exclusively from rags
(chiefly of linen) reduced to pull), poured out on a
frame in a thin watery sheet, and gradually dried
and given consistence by the action of heat. It
has been a popular belief, found in every book till
1886 (now entirely disproved, but probably destined
to die hard), that the common yellowish thick
paper, with rough fibrous edge, found especially in
Greek MSS. till the fifteenth century, was paper of
quite another sort, and made of cotton (charta
bombycna, bombyx being usually silk, but also
used of any fine fibre such as cotton). The microscope
has at last conclusively shown that these two
papers are simply two different kinds of ordinary
linen-rag paper."

De Vinne speaking, of paper and paper-making says:

"The gradual development of paper-making in
Europe is but imperfectly presented through these
fragmentary facts. Paper may have been made for
many years before it found chroniclers who thought
the manufacture worthy of notice. The Spanish
paper-mills of Toledo which were at work in the
year 1085, and an ancient family of paper-makers
which was honored with marked favor by the king
of Sicily in the year 1102, are carelessly mentioned
by contemporary writers as if paper-making was an
old and established business. It does not appear
that paper was a novelty at a much earlier period.
The bulls of the popes of the eighth and ninth centuries
were written on cotton card or cotton paper,
but no writer called attention to this card, or described
it as a new material. It has been supposed
that this paper was made in Asia, but it could
have been made in Europe. A paper-like fabric,
made from the barks of trees, was used for writing
by the Longobards in the seventh century, and a
coarse imitation of the Egyptian papyrus, in the
form of a strong brown paper, had been made by
the Romans as early as the third century. The
art of compacting in a web the macerated fibres of
plants seems to have been known and practised to
some extent in Southern Europe long before the
establishment of Moorish paper-mills.

"The Moors brought to Spain and Sicily not an
entirely new invention, but an improved method of
making paper, and what was more important, a culture
and civilization that kept this method in constant
exercise. It was chiefly for the lack of ability
and lack of disposition to put paper to proper use
that the earlier European knowledge of paper-
making was so barren of results. The art of book-
making as it was then practised was made subservient
to the spirit of luxury more than to the desire
for knowledge. Vellum was regarded by the copyist
as the only substance fit for writing on, even
when it was so scarce that it could be used only for
the most expensive books. The card-like cotton
paper once made by the Saracens was certainly
known in Europe for many years before its utility
was recognized. Hallam says that the use of this
cotton paper was by no means general or frequent,
except in Spain or Italy, and perhaps in the south
of France, until the end of the fourteenth century.
Nor was it much used in Italy for books.

"Paper came before its time and had to wait for
recognition. It was sorely needed. The Egyptian
manufacture of papyrus, which was in a state of
decay in the seventh century, ceased entirely in the
ninth or tenth. Not many books were written during
this period, but there was then, and for at least
three centuries afterwards, an unsatisfied demand
for something to write upon. Parchment was so
scarce that reckless copyists frequently resorted to
the desperate expedient of effacing the writing on
old and lightly esteemed manuscripts. It was not
a difficult task. The writing ink then used was
usually made of lamp-black, gum and vinegar; it
it had but a feeble encaustic property, and it did
not bite in or penetrate the parchment. The work
of effacing this ink was accomplished by moistening
the parchment with a weak alkaline solution and
by rubbing it with pumice stone. This treatment
did not entirely obliterate the writing, but made it
so indistinct that the parchment could be written
over the second time. Manuscripts so treated are
now known as palimpsests. All the large European
public libraries have copies of palimpsests, which are
melancholy illustrations of the literary tastes of
many writers or bookmakers during the Middle
Ages. More convincingly than by argument they
show the utility of paper. Manuscripts of the
Gospels, of the Iliad, and of works of the highest
merit, often of great beauty and accuracy, are
dimly seen underneath stupid sermons, and theological
writings of a nature so paltry that no man
living cares to read them. In Some instances the
first writing has been so thoroughly scrubbed out
that its meaning is irretrievably lost.

"Much as paper was needed, it was not at all popular
with copyists; their prejudice was not altogether
unreasonable, for it was thick, coarse, knotty, and
in every way unfitted for the display or ornamental
penmanship or illumination. The cheaper quality,
then known as cotton paper, was especially objectionable.
It seems to have been so badly made as
to need governmental interference. Frederick II,
of Germany, in the year 1221, foreseeing evils
that might arise from bad paper, made a decree by
which he made invalid all public documents that
should be put on cotton paper, and ordered them
within two years to be transcribed upon parchment.
Peter II, of Spain, in the year 1338, publicly
commanded the paper-makers of Valencia and
Xativa to make their paper of a better quality and
equal to that of an earlier period.

"The better quality of paper, now known as
linen paper, had the merits of strength, flexibility,
and durability in a high degree, but it was set aside
by the copyists because the fabric was too thick
and the surface was too rough. The art of calendering
or polishing papers until they were of a
smooth, glossy surface, which was then practised
by the Persians, was unknown to, or at least
unpractised by, the early European makers. The
changes or fashion in the selection of writing papers
are worthy of passing notice. The rough
hand-made papers so heartily despised by the
copyists of the thirteenth century are now preferred
by neat penmen and skilled draughtsmen.
The imitations of mediaeval paper, thick, harsh,
and dingy, and showing the marks of the wires
upon which the fabric was couched, are preferred
by men of letters for books and for correspondence,
while highly polished modern plate papers, with
surfaces much more glossy than any preparation of
vellum, are now rejected by them as finical and effeminate.

"There is a popular notion that the so-called inventions
of paper and xylographic printing were
gladly welcomed by men of letters, and that the
new fabric and the new art were immediately
pressed into service. The facts about to be presented
in succeeding chapters will lead to a different
conclusion. We shall see that the makers of
playing cards and of image prints were the men
who first made extended use of printing, and that
self-taught and unprofessional copyists were the
men who gave encouragement to the manufacture
of paper. The more liberal use of paper at the
beginning of the fifteenth century by this newly-
created class of readers and book-buyers marks the
period of transition and of mental and mechanical
development for which the crude arts of paper-
making and of black printing had been waiting for
centuries. We shall also see that if paper had been
ever so cheap and common during the Middle Ages,
it would have worked no changes in education or
literature; it could not have been used by the people,
for they were too illiterate; it would not have
been used by the professional copyists, for they
preferred vellum and despised the substitute.

"The scarcity of vellum in one century, and its
abundance in another, are indicated by the size
of written papers during the same periods. Before
the sixth century, legal documents were generally
written upon one side only; in the tenth century
the practice of writing upon both sides of the vellum
became common. During the thirteenth century
valuable documents were often written upon strips
two inches wide and but three and a half inches
long. At the end of the fourteenth century these
strips went out of fashion. The more general use
of paper had diminished the demand for vellum and
increased the supply. In the fifteenth century,
legal documents on rolls of sewed vellum twenty
feet in length were not uncommon. All the valuable
books of the fourteenth century were written on
vellum. In the library of the Louvre the manuscripts
on paper, compared to those on vellum, were
as one to twenty-eight; in the library of the Dukes
of Burgundy, one-fifth of the books were of paper.
The increase in the proportion of paper books is a
fair indication of the increasing popularity of paper;
but it is obvious that vellum was even then considered
as the more suitable substance for a book of value."

The curious contract belonging to the fourteenth
century which follows, is a literal copy of the original.
It does not seem to specify whether the book is to be
made of vellum or paper. In other respects the minute
details no doubt prevented any misunderstanding between
the contracting parties.

"August 26th, 1346--There appeared Robert
Brekeling, scribe, and swore that he would observe
the contract made between him and Sir John Forber,
viz., that the said Robert would write one Psalter
with the Kalender for the work of the said Sir
John for 5 s. and 6 d.; and in the same Psalter, in
the same character, a Placebo and a Dirige, with a
Hymnal and Collectary, for 4 s. and 3 d. And
the said Robert will illuminate ('luminabet') all
the Psalms with great gilded letters laid in with
colours; and all the large letters of the Hymnal
and Collectary will he illuminate with gold and
vermillion, except the great letters of double feasts,
which shall be as the large gilt letters are in the Psalter.
And all the letters at the commencement of the
verses shall be illuminated with good azure and vermillion;
and all the letters at the beginning of the
Nocturns shall be great uncial (unciales) letters, containing
V. lines, but the Beatus Vir and Dixit Dominus
shall contain VI. or VII. lines; and for the
aforesaid illumination and for colours he [John]
will give 5 s. 6 d., and for gold he will give 18 d.,
and 2 s. for a cloak and fur trimming. Item one
robe--one coverlet, one sheet, and one pillow."




IT is well known that alchemy preceded chemistry
and hence the Secreta came first. When the formula
for making a real "gall" ink had ceased to be a secret,
chemistry was then but little understood. It is not a
matter for wonder, therefore, to learn that "gall" ink
of the first half of the twelfth century was low in
grade and poor in quality. It was a muddy fluid
easily precipitated and it deteriorated quickly. A
century or more of experimenting was needed to
modify or overcome defects, as well as to gain
information about the chemical value of the different
tannins, the relative proportions of each constituent
and the correct methods in its admixture.

There is no written account of this ink being manufactured
as an industry until over three hundred years
later. Hence, as it appears so frequently of varying
degrees of color on documents of the intervening
centuries, we are compelled to assume that it was
compounded by individuals who had neither chemical
knowledge, nor who had made a study or a business
of ink-making. Notwithstanding which, its progress
seems to have been comparatively rapid and like the
same ink of the present day was to be obtained of any
quality or kind, whether unadulterated or containing
some added color.

Intense black or a black tinged with red-brown
characterizes the color of the inks found on the very
earliest MSS. Their lasting color phenomena, due to
the employment of lampblack and kindred substances
even after a lapse of so many ages, is at this late day
of no particular moment as they but prove the virtues
of the different types of "Indian" inks.

A different set of facts are evident in the inks of
mediaeval times which are found to greatly vary according
to their ages and locality. But few black
inks of the ninth and tenth centuries remain to us.
In the MSS. of those centuries a red ink was the prevailing
one even to the extent of entire volumes being
written with it. In Italy and many other portions of
Southern Europe specimens now extant, when compared
with those belonging to Germany and other
more northern countries, are seen to be blacker and
this is also true when those of France and England
are compared, the blacker inks belonging to France.
With the gradual disappearance of the so-called
"Dark Ages," the ink found on Spanish written MSS.
of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, are notedly
of intense blackness while those of some of the other
countries appear of a rather faded gray color, and in
the sixteenth century, this gray color effect prevailed
all over the Christian world.

To revert again to the ink phenomena of the fourteenth
and fifteenth centuries which are of Italian
origin. In no section of that country or of Europe
during those centuries do ink creations possess, in so
marked a degree, the variety of color qualities that
are seen on those of the city of Florence. Indeed it
may be truly said that during those periods more ink
written MSS. were produced in that place than all the
rest of Europe. These productions of MSS. were not
confined to simple ink writings. The heads of religious
orders and rulers of the country liked to have
artists near them to illuminate their missals and sacred
books, besides the decorating of walls in their churches
and palaces.

Through this art of illuminating and the painting of
miniatures in MSS. books, "oil" painting took root and
the day for mere symbols and hieroglyphics was over.

In that city of scholars and wealth it was a fashion
and later the custom to acquire Greek, Latin and
Oriental MSS. and copy them for circulation and sale.
The prices offered were sufficient to stimulate the
search and zeal for them. We learn that in the year
1400 "on the square of the Duoma a spacciatore
was established whose business was to sell manuscripts
often full of mistakes and blunders." Nicholas V,
before he became Pope, was nicknamed "Tommaso the
Copyist." He is said to have presented to the Vatican
library as a gift five thousand volumes of his own

The information of these increasing demands for ancient
documents of any kind spread over Europe and
portions of Asia, bringing into Florence a great
quantity of them, as well as many scholars and copyists.
Shiploads of the works of the Byzantine historians
arrived from the Golden Horn, and the city
became a vast manufactory for duplicating or forging
ancient MSS. Parchment and vellum were too costly
to employ very much, so most of them were of paper.
Vespaciano, one of the many engaged in this business
and who lived in 1464, found it necessary in order to
reduce the cost of production, to become a paper merchant.
In writing to a friend he says:

"I engaged forty-five copyists and in twenty-
two months had completed two hundred volumes,
which included some Greek and Latin as well as
many Oriental writings."

The reading and judging of manuscripts are now
known as the science of diplomatics. To determine
their antiquity or genuineness requires the nicest distinctions
and care, irrespective of alleged dates (whether
exhibited by Roman numbers or the Arabic one which
we continue to employ, and which first made their
appearance near the commencement of the twelfth
century). The inks as already mentioned and used
on them, as we shall see, serve fully as much in estimating
authenticity or genuineness as does combined
together,--the style of the writing, the miniatures,
vignettes and arabesques (if any), the colors, covers,
materials, ornamentation and the character of their

With the re-establishment of learning in the fifteenth
century and the creation of alleged stable governments,
who may perhaps have realized the necessity
for an ink of enduring good commercial and record
qualities, so-called "gall" inks were chosen as best
possessing them, and were made and employed with
varying results even more than the ancient "Indian"

Mediaeval practices in relation to ink and other
writing materials as well as the monastic libraries of
which England, France, Germany and Italy possessed
many during the thirteenth, fourteenth, and more
particularly the fifteenth centuries, were governed by
established rules.

The libraries of such institutions were placed by the
abbot under the sole charge of the "armarian," an
officer who was made responsible for the preservation
of the volumes under his care; be was expected frequently
to examine them, lest damp or insects should
injure them; he was to cover them with wooden
covers to preserve them and carefully to mend and
restore any damage which time or accident might
cause; he was to make a note of any book borrowed
from the library, with the name of the borrower;
but this last rule applied only to the less valuable
portion of it, as the "great and precious books"
could only be lent by the permission of the abbot
himself. It was also the duty of the armarian
to have all the books in his charge marked with their
correct titles, and to keep a perfect list of the whole.
Some of these catalogues are still in existence and are
curious and interesting in their exemplification of the
kinds of ink employed and as indicative of the state
of literature in the Middle Ages, besides presenting
the names of many authors whose works have never
reached us. It was also the duty of the armarian,
under the orders of his superior, to provide the transcribers
of manuscripts with the writings which they
were to copy, as well as all the materials necessary
for their labors, to make bargains as to payment, and
to superintend the work during their progress.

These transcribers, Mr. Maitland in his "Dark
Ages" tells us, were monks and their clerks, some of
whom were so skilled that they could perform all the
different branches. They were exhorted by the rules
of their order to learn writing, and to persevere in
the work of copying manuscripts as being one most
acceptable to God; those who could not write were
recommended to bind books. This was in line with
the behest of the famous monk Alciun who lived in
the eighth century and who entreated all to employ
themselves in copying books, saying:

"It is a most meritorious work, more useful to
the health than working in the fields, which profits
only a man's body, while the labour of a copyist
profits his soul."

When black ink was used in liturgical writings, the
title page and heads of chapters were written in
red ink; whence comes the term rubric. Green,
purple, blue and yellow inks were sometimes used
for words, but chiefly for ornamenting capital

A large room was in most monasteries set apart for
such labors and here the general transcribers pursued
their avocations; in addition, small rooms or cells,
known also as scriptoria, occupied by such monks as
were considered, from their piety and learning, to be
entitled to the indulgence, and used by them for their
private devotions, as well as for the purpose of transcribing
works for the use of the church or library.
The scriptoria were frequently enriched by donations
and bequests from those who knew the value of the
works carried on in them, and large estates were often
devoted to their support.

     "Meanwhile along the cloister's painted side,
          The monks--each bending low upon his book
     With head on hand reclined--their studies plied;
          Forbid to parley, or in front to look,

     Lengthways their regulated seats they took:
          The strutting prior gazed with pompous mien,
     And wakeful tongue, prepared with prompt rebuke,
          If monk asleep in sheltering hood was seen;
     He wary often peeped beneath that russet screen.

     "Hard by, against the window's adverse light,
          Where desks were wont in length of row to stand,
     The gowned artificers inclined to write;
          The pen of silver glistened in the hand
     Some of their fingers rhyming Latin scanned;
          Some textile gold from halls unwinding drew,
     And on strained velvet stately portraits planned;
          Here arms, there faces shown in embryo view,
     At last to glittering life the total figures grew."

The public scribes of those days were employed
mostly by secular individuals, although subject to be
called upon at any moment by the fathers of the
church. They worked in their homes except when
any valuable work was to be copied, then in that of
their employer, who boarded and lodged them during
the time of their engagement.

To differentiate the character of the class of pigments
or materials then employed in making colored
inks, from those of the more ancient times is difficult;
because we not only find many of like character but of
larger variety. These were used more for purposes of
illuminating and embellishing than for regular writing.

Even when printing had been invented spaces were
frequently left, both in the block books and in the
earliest movable type, for the illumination by hand,
of initial letters so as to deceive purchasers into the
belief that the printed type which was patterned
closely after the forms of letters employed in MSS.
writings was the real thing. The learned soon discovered
such frauds and thereafter these practices
were abandoned.




THE gray color of most of the inks found on documents
written in the sixteenth century is a noteworthy
fact. Whence its cause is a matter for considerable
speculation. The majority of these inks
unquestionably belong to the "gall" class and if prepared
after the formulas utilized in preceding centuries
should indicate like color phenomena. As
these same peculiarities exist on both paper, vellum
and parchment, it cannot be attributed to their use.
Investigations in many instances of the writings indicate
the exercise of a more rapid pen movement
and a consequent employment of inks of greater
fluidity than those of an earlier history. Such fluidity
could only be obtained by a reduction of the quantity
of gummy vehicles together with an increase of ink
acidity. The acids which had theretofore been more
or less introduced into inks, except oxalic acid, could
not effect such results. Consequently, as the monuments
of this gray ink phenomena are to be found
belonging to all the portions of the Christian world,
with a uniformity that is certainly remarkable, it becomes
a fair deduction to assume that the making of
inks bad passed into the hands of regular manufacturers
who adulterated them with "added" color.

We can well believe that the influences which the
fathers of the Church exerted during the thousand
years known as the "Dark Ages," in respect to ink
and kindred subjects, must have been very great.
That they endeavored to perpetuate for the benefit of
succeeding generations in book and other forms, this
kind of information, which they distributed throughout
the world we know to be true. Most of these
sources of ink information, however, gradually disappeared
as constituting a series of sad events in the unhappy
war which followed their preparation.

The Reformation began in Germany in the first
quarter of the sixteenth century, and with it the
eighty years of continual religious warfare which
followed. During this period the priceless MSS. books
of information, historical, literary and otherwise, contained
in the monastic libraries outside of Italy were

We are told:

"In England cupidity and intolerance destroyed
recklessly. Thus, after the dissolution of monastic
establishments, persons were appointed to search
out all missals, books of legends, and such 'superstitious
books' and to destroy or sell them for
waste paper; reserving only their bindings, when,
as was frequently the case, they were ornamented
with massive gold and silver, curiously chased, and
often further enriched with precious stones; and so
industriously had these men done their work, destroying
all books in which they considered popish
tendencies to be shown by illumination, the use of
red letters, or of the Cross, or even by the--to them
--mysterious diagrams of mathematical problems--
that when, some years later, Leland was appointed
to examine the monastic libraries, with a view to
the preservation of what was valuable in them, he
found that those who had preceded him had left
little to reward his search."

Bale, himself an advocate for the dissolution of
monasteries, says:

"Never had we bene offended for the losse of
our lybraryes beyng so many in nombre and in so
desolute places for the moste parte, yf the chief
monuments and moste notable workes of our excellent
wryters had bene reserved, yf there had bene
in every shyre of Englande but one solemyne lybrary
for the preservacyon of those noble workes, and
preferrments of good learnyuges in our posteryte it
had bene yet somewhat. But to destroye all without
consyderacyon is and wyll be unto Englande for
ever a most horryble infamy amonge the grave
senyours of other natyons. A grete nombre of
them wych purchased of those superstycyose mansyons
reserved of those lybrarye bokes, some to
serve theyr jaks, some to scoure theyr candelstyckes,
and some to rubb theyr bootes . some they solde to
the grossers and sope sellers, and some they sent
over see to the bokebynders, not in small nombre,
but at tymes whole shippesful. I knowa merchant
man, whyche shall at thys tyme be namelesse, that
boughte the content-, of two noble lybraryes for xl
shyllyngs pryce, a shame it is to be spoken. Thys
stuffe hathe he occupyed in the stide of greve paper
for the space of more than these ten years, and yet
hathe store ynough for as many years to come. A
prodyguous example is thys, and to be abhorred of
all men who love theyr n atyon as they shoulde do."

Passing to later epochs, A. D. 1602, the following
quaint receipt proves interesting as showing that the
"gall" inks were well known at that time:

 "To make common Ink, of Wine take a quart,
     Two ounces of Gumme, let that be a part;
     Five ounces of Galls, of Cop'res take three,
     Long standing doth make it the better to be;
     If Wine ye do want, raine water is best,
     And then as much stuffe as above at the least,
     If the Ink be too thick, put Vinegar in,
     For water doth make the colour more dimme."

Shakespeare in his Twelfth Night III, 2, has also
referred to them in the following amusing strain:

"Go write it in a martial hand; be curst and brief;
it is no matter how witty, so it be eloquent, and
full of invention; taunt him with the license of
ink; if thou thou'st him thrice, it shall nor be
amiss; and as many lies as will lie on a sheet of
paper, although the sheet were big enough for
the bed of Ware in England, set 'em down; go,
about it. Let there be gall enough in thy ink,
though thou write with a goose pen, no matter:
about it."

The general black ink conditions for a period of at
least three hundred years, if we exclude the sixteenth
century, had been but repetitions of each other.
They so remained until the year 1626, when the
French government concluded an arrangement with a
chemist by the name of Guyot, for the manufacture
of a "gall" ink WITHOUT added color and which thereby
guaranteed and insured more sameness in respect to
desirable ink qualities. That government with a few
modifications relative to the proportions of ingredients
continued its employment, which was followed by the
contemporaneous writers. Other governments later
partially adopted the French formulas while some of
them gave the matter no attention, although their
records and those of the cities or towns not only of
Europe but early America, the United States and
Canada are found in most instances to have been written
with an ink of this character.

Where prior to 1850, inks containing a different
base (with the single exception of indigo) were used,
they have either disappeared or nearly so and it is not
an infrequent occurrence among those who are accustomed
to examine old records to find that signatures
or dates to valuable instruments, pages of writings and
indeed sometimes the writings in an entire book are
more or less obliterated.

The black inks of a large portion of the seventeenth
century, on documents of every kind, are found to be
nearly perfect as to color conditions, which is evidence
of the extreme care used in their preparation and the
exclusion of "added" color in ink manufacture.




THE literature of the fifteenth, sixteenth and seventeenth
centuries on the subject of black and colored
ink formulas, secret inks, etc., is both diversified and
of considerable importance. The following authors
and citations are deemed the most noteworthy:

John Baptista Porta, of Naples, born A. D. 1445
and died A. D. 1515, is best known as the inventor
of the "camera obscuro;" was also the author of many
MSS. books compiled; he says,

"As the results of discussions of long years held
at my own house which is known as de Secreti,
and into which none can enter unless he claim to be
an inventor of new discoveries."

Two of these treatises which were extant in the
first half of the seventeenth century, dated respectively
1481 and 1483, dwell at great length on SECRET
inks and specifically mention as translated into the
English of the time "sowre galls in white wine," and
"vitriol;" repeating Italian formulas pertaining to
the "Secreta" of the twelfth century.

About secret ink he tells us:

"There are many and almost infinite ways to
write things of necessity, that the Characters shall
not be seen, unless you dip them into waters, or
put them near the fire, or rub them with dust, or
smeer them over.
 *   *    *    *    *    *    *    *

"Let Vitriol soak in Boyling water: when it is
dissolved, strain it so long till the water grow clear:
with that liquor write upon paper: when they are
dry they are not seen. Moreover, grinde burnt
straw and Vinegar: and what you will write in the
spaces between the former lines, describe at large.
Then boyl sowre Galls in white Wine, wet a spunge
in the liquor: and when you have need, wipe it
upon the paper gently, and wet the letters so long
until the native black colour disappear, but the
former colour, that was not seen, will be made
apparent. Now I will show in what liquors paper
must be soaked to make letters to be seen. As I
said, Dissolve Vitriol in water: then powder Galls
finely, and soak them in water: let them stay there
twenty-four hours: filtre them through a linen
cloth, or something else, that may make the water
clear, and make letters upon the paper that you
desire to have concealed: send it to your Friend
absent: when you would have them appear, dip
them in the first liquor, and the letters will presently
be seen.
 *   *    *    *    *    *    *    *

If you write with the juice of Citrons, Oranges,
Onyons, or almost any sharp things, if you make
it hot at the fire, their acrimony is presently discovered:
for they are undigested juices, whereas they
are detected by the heat of the fire, and then they
show forth those colours that they would show if
they were ripe. If you write with a sowre Grape
that would be black, or with Cervices; when you
hold them to the fire they are concocted, and will
give the same colour they would in due time give
upon the tree, when they were ripe. Juice of Cherries,
added to Calamus, will make a green: to sow-
bread a red: so divers juices of Fruits will show
divers colours by the fire. By these means Maids
sending and receiving love-letters, escape from
those that have charge of them. There is also a
kind of Salt called Ammoniac: this powdered and
mingled with water, will write white letters, and
can hardly be distinguished from the paper, but
hold them to the fire, and they will shew black."

With respect to the preparation of black and colored
inks and also colors: Antonio Neri, an Italian author
and chemist who lived in the sixteenth century, in his
treatise seems not only to have laid the foundation
for most of the receipts called attention to by later
writers during the two hundred years which followed,
but to have been the very first to specify a proper
"gall" ink and its formula, as the most worthy of

Pietro Caneparius, a physician and writer of Venice,
A. D. 1612, in his work De Atrametis, gives a more
extensive view about the preparation and composition
of inks and adopts all that Neri had given, though he
never quotes his name, and adds--"hitherto published
by no one." He does however mention many valuable
particulars which were omitted by Neri. Most
of his receipts are about gold, silver and nondescript
inks, with directions for making a great variety for
secret writing and defacing. This book revised and
enlarged was republished in London, 1660.

In 1653 Peter Borel, who was physician to Louis
XIV, King, of France published his "Bibliotheca
Chemica," which contains a large number of ink receipts,
two of which may be characterized as "iron
and gall" ones. They possess value on account of
the relative proportions indicated between the two
chemicals. The colored ones, including gold, silver
and sympathetic inks are mostly repetitions of those
of Neri and Caneparius. The French writers, though,
speak of his researches in chemistry as "somewhat

Christopher Merret, an English physician and naturalist,
born A. D. 1614, translated Neri into our
language in 1654, with many notes of his own about
him; his observations have added nothing of value to
the chemistry of inks.

Johann Kunckel, a noted German chemist and
writer in 1657, republished in the German language
Neri's work with Merret's notes, and his own observations
on both. He also inserted many other processes
as the result of considerable research and seems to
have been thoroughly conversant with the chemistry
of inks, advocating especially the value and employment
of a tanno-gallate of iron ink for record purposes.

Salmon, A. D. 1665, in his Polygraphics, proceeds
to give instructions relative to inks which notwithstanding
their merit are confounded with so many absurdities
as to lessen their value for those who were
unable to separate truth from falsehood; but he
nevertheless dwells on the virtues of the "gall" inks.

Jacques Lemort, a Dutch chemist of some note,
issued a treatise, A. D. 1669, on "Ink Formulas and
Colors," seemingly selected from the books of those
who had preceded him. He expresses the opinion
that the "gall" inks if properly compounded would
give beneficial results.

Formulas for making inks are found tucked away
in some of the very old literature treating of "curious"
things. One of them which appeared in 1669 directs:
"to strain out the best quality of iron employ old and
rusty nails;" another one says, that the ink when
made is to remain in an open vessel "for thirty days
and thirty nights, before putting it in a parchment

An English compendium of ink formulas, published
in 1693, calls attention to many formulas for black
inks as well as gold, silver, and the colored ones; no
comment, however, is made in respect to any particular
one being better than another as to permanency,
and these conditions would seem to have continued for
nearly a century later, though the art of handwriting
was making giant strides.

It is a remarkable fact that notwithstanding the numerous
devotees to that art which included many of
the gentler sex, reproductions of whose skill in "Indian"
ink are to be found engraved in magnificent
publications, both in book and other forms, there is no
mention in them or in any others included within this
period about the necessity of using any other DURABLE
ink for record or commercial purposes.

As indicative in some degree of the progress of the
art of handwriting and handwriting materials, commencing
A. D. 1525 and ending A. D. 1814, I present
herewith a compilation of the names of over one hundred
of the best known calligraphers and authors of
the world, and not to be found as a whole in any public
or private library. It is arranged in chronological


The first English essay on the subject of
"Curious Calligraphy" was by a woman who
from all accounts possessed most remarkable
facility in the use of the pen as well as a
knowledge of languages. Her name was Elizabeth
Lucar; as she was born in London in
1510 and died 1537, her work must have
been accomplished when only fifteen years of


Roger Ascham, best known as the tutor of
Queen Elizabeth.


Peter Bales, author of many works, "The
Writing Schoolmaster," which he published in
three parts, being the best known. He was
also a microscopic writer. His rooms were at
the sign of "The Hand and Golden Pen,"


John de Beauchesne, teacher of the Princess
Elizabeth, daughter of King James I. Author
of many copy books.


John Mellis, "Merchants Accounts," etc.


Elizabeth Jane Weston, of London and Prague,
wrote many poems in old Latin.


Hester Inglis, "The Psalms of David."


John Davies, "The Writing Schoolmaster, or
Anatomy of Fair Writing."


Richard Gething, "The Hand and Pen;
1645, "Chirographia" and many others.


Martin Billingsley, "The Writing Schoolmaster,
or the Anatomie of Fair Writing." This
author was writing master to King Charles I.


David Brown, who was scribe to King James I.


William Comley, "Copy-Book of all the most
usual English Hands," etc.


Josiah Ricrafte, "The Peculiar Character of
the Oriental Languages."


Louis Hughes, "Plain and Easy Directions to
Fair Writing."


John Johnson, "The Usual Practices of Fair
and Speedy Writing."


John Clithers, "The Pens Paradise," dedicated
to Prince Charles.


James Seamer, "A Compendium of All the
Usual Hands Written in England."


Edward Cocker, penman and engraver, famous
in his time for the number and variety of his
productions. Author of "The Pen's Triumph,"
"The Artist's Glory," "England's Penman,"
and many more.


James Hodder, "The Penman's Recreation,"


John Fisher, "The Pen's Treasury."


Richard Daniel, "A Compendium of many
hands of Various Countries."


Peter Story or Stent, "Fair Writing of Several
Hands in Use."


William Raven, "An Exact Copy of the Court


Peter Ivers, famous for his engrossing and


Thomas Watson, "Copy-Book of Alphabets."


John Pardie, "An Essay on the German Text
and Old Print Alphabets."


Thomas Weston, "Ancilla Calligraphiae."


Peter Gery, "Copy book of all the Hands in
use, Performed according to the Natural Freeness
of the Pen."


William Elder, "Copy-book of the most useful
and necessary Hands now used in England."


John Ayers, "Tutor to Penmanship," and
many others.


Caleb Williams, "Nuncius Oris," written and
engraved by himself.


Charles Snell, "The Penman's Treasury
Opened;" 1712, "Art of Writing in Theory
and Practice;" 1714, "Standard Rules," etc.


Richard Alleine, writing master.


Eleazer Wigin, "The Hand and Pen."


John Sedden, "The Penman's Paradise."


John Eade, writing master.


Joseph Alleine, published several books about
writing and accounts.


Robert More, "The Writing Masters Assistant."
1725. "The General Penman."


John Beckham, father of the celebrated George
Beckham, wrote and engraved several pieces
for "The Universal Penman."


Edward Smith, "The Mysteries of the Pen in
fifteen Hands, Unfolded," etc.


Henry Legg, "Writing and Arithmetic."


William Banson, "The Merchants Penman."


John Dundas, microscopic writer.


George Shelley, "The Penmans Magazine."
In 1730 he wrote several pages for "Bickman's
Universal Penman."


John Clark, "The Penmans Diversion."


James Heacock, writing master.


George Shelley, "Natural writing in all


George Bickham, one of the most famous of
writers of his time, born 1684, died 1758, author
of "The Universal Penman." He published
many works. 1711, "The British Penman;"
1731, "Penmanship in its utmost
Beauty and Extent" and "The Universal Penman"
are the best known.


John Rayner, "Paul's Scholars Copy-Book."


Humphrey Johnson, "Youth's Recreation: a
Copy-Book of Writing done by Command of


William Webster, writing and mathematics.
1730, wrote several pages for "The Universal


Thomas Ollyffe, "The Hand and Pen." 1714,
"The Practical Penman."


William Brooks, "Delightful Recreation for
the Industrious." Contributor to "The Universal


Abraham Nicholas, "Various Examples of Penmanship."
1722, "The Compleat Writing
Master." Wrote also for "The Universal Penman."


Ralph Snow, "Youths Introduction to Handwriting."


William Richards, "The Complete Penman."


John Jarman, "A System of Court Hands."


Henry Lune, "Round Hand Complete."


John Shortland, writing master and contributor
to "The Universal Penman."


Edward Dawson, writing master and contributor
to "The Universal Penman."


Moses Gratwick, writing master and contributor
to "The Universal Penman."


John Langton, "The Italien Hand."


John Day, writing master and contributor to
"The Universal Penman."


Gabriel Brooks, writing master and contributor
to, "The Universal Penman."


William Keppax, writing master and contributor
to "The Universal Penman."


John Bland, "Essay in Writing." Also contributor
to "The Universal Penman."


Solomon Cook, "The Modish Round Hand."


William Leckey, "A Discourse on the Use of
the Pen." Contributor to "The Universal Penman."


Peter Norman, writing master and contributor
to "The Universal Penman."


Wellington Clark, writing master and contributor
to "The Universal Penman."


Zachary Chambers, "Vive la Plume." Contributor
to "The Universal Penman."


Bright Whilton, writing master and contributor
to "The Universal Penman."


Timothy Treadway, writing master and contributor
to "The Universal Penman."


George J. Bickham, writing master; also wrote
for "Bickham's Universal Penman."


Emanuel Austin, writing master; he wrote 22
pages in "The Universal Penman."


Samuel Vaux, writing master and contributor
to "The Universal Penman."


Jeremiah Andrews, writing master and tutor
to King George III.


Nathaniel Dove, "The Progress of Time," and
contributor to "The Universal Penman."


John Blande, "Essay in Writing; 1730, contributor
to "The Universal Penman."


Richard Morris, writing master and contributor
to "The Universal Penman."


Mary Johns, microscopic writer and author.


Charles Woodham, "A Specimen of Writing,
in the most Useful Hands now Practised in England."


John Oldfield, "Honesty." He wrote one piece
in "The Universal Penman."


Joseph Champion, "The Parallel or Comparative
Penmanship." 1762, "The Living Hands."


Edward Lloyd, "Young Merchants Assistant."


Richard Clark, "Practical and Ornamental Penmanship."


Benjamin Webb, writer of copy books, etc.


William Chinnery, "The Compendious Emblematist."


William Massey, "The Origin and Progress of
Letters," containing valuable information
about the art.


John Gardner, "Introduction to the Counting


Edward Powell, writing master and designer.


E. Butterworth, "The Universal Penman" in
two parts, published in Edinburgh.


William Milns, "The Penman's Repository."


William G. Wheatcroft, "The Modern Penman."


John Carstairs, "Tachygraphy, or the Flying
Pen." 2. "Writing made easy, etc."

Illustrated works on the subject of penmanship of
contemporaneous times and not of English origin are
but few. The best known are:


Luduvico Vicentino, "A Copy book" published
in Rome, seems to have been the first.


Il perfetto Scrittore (The Perfect Writer) by
Francesco Cresci, published in Rome.


Spieghel der Schrijkfkonste (or Mirror of
Penmanship) written by Van den Velde, published
in Amsterdam.


"Writing and Ink Recipes," by Peter Caniparius,
Venice and London.


Der Getreue Schreibemeister (or True Writing
Master), by Johann Friedr Vicum, published
in Dresden.

From 1602 to 1709 many "Indian" ink specimens
were extant and are still of the different schools of
penmanship. The productions of Phrysius, Materot and
Barbedor illustrating the French style, Vignon, Sellery
and others, for the Italian hand, and Overbique and
Smythers for the German text, and Ambrosius Perlengh
and Hugo, with a few more, complete the list.




THE increasing demands for ink, and the lack of interest
as to its composition during the eighteenth
century, if viewed in the same lights which prevail in
our own times, permitted the general manufacture of
cheap grades of ink which possessed no very lasting
qualities. The chemistry of Inks was not fully understood,
indeed we find Professer Turner of the College
of Edinburgh declaring in 1827:

"Gallic acid was discovered by Scheele in 1786,
and exists ready formed in the bark of many trees,
and in gall-nuts. It is always associated with
tannin, a substance to which it is allied in a manner
hitherto unexplained. It is distinguished from
tannin by causing no precipitate in a solution of
gelatine. With a salt of iron it forms a dark blue
coloured compound, which is the basis of ink. The
finest colour is procured when the peroxide and
protoxide of iron are mixed together. This character
distinguishes gallic acid from every other substance
excepting tannin."

The general lack of information or knowledge respecting
ink chemistry or its time-phenomena was not
confined to any particular country, and it does not
appear that any general or specific attention was
scientifically directed to it until 1765, when William
Lewis, F. R. S., an English chemist, publicly announced
that he proposed to investigate the subject.
His experimentations covered a period of many years
and their results and his theories as to the phenomena
of inks were published in 1797. The most valuable
of his conclusions were that an excess of iron salt in
the ink is detrimental to color permanence (such ink
becoming brown on exposure) and also that acetic
acid in the menstruum provides an ink of greater
body and blackness than sulphuric acid does (a circumstance
due to the smaller resistance of acetic acid
to the formation of iron gallo-tannate). Many of his
other observations were later shown to have been
erroneous. Dr. Lewis was the first to advocate log-
wood as a tinctorial agent in connection with iron and
gall compositions.

Ribaucourt, a French ink maker, in 1798 determined
that an excess of galls is quite as injurious to
the permanence of ink as an excess of iron.

Pending the completion of the researches of Lewis,
the Royal Society of England, affected by complaints
from all quarters relative to the inferiority of inks as
compared with those of earlier times, brought the
subject to the attention of many of its members for
discussion and advice. Its secretary, Charles Blagden,
M. D., read a paper before the society, June 28, 1787,
which was published in the "Philosophical Transactions"
and widely circulated. It is so interesting that
copious extracts are given:

"In a conversation some time ago with my friend
Thomas Astle, Esq., F. R. S. and A. S., relative
to the legibility of ancient MSS. a question arose,
whether the inks in use eight or ten centuries ago,
which are often found to have preserved their colour
remarkably well, were made of different materials
from those employed in later times, of which many
are already become so pale as scarcely to be read.
With a view to the decision of this question, Mr.
Astle obligingly furnished me with several MSS.,
on parchment and vellum, from the ninth to the
fifteenth centuries inclusively, some of which were
still black, and others of different shades of colour,
from a deep yellowish brown to a very pale yellow,
in some parts so faint as to be scarcely visible. On
all of these I made experiments with the chemical
re-agents which appeared to me best adapted to
the purpose, namely, alkalis both simple and phlogisticated,
the mineral acids, and infusions of galls.

"It would be tedious and superfluous to enter into
a detail of the particular experiments, as all of
them, one instance only excepted, agreed in the
general result, to shew that the ink employed
anciently, as far as the above-mentioned MSS.
extended, was of the same nature as the present;
for the letters turned of a reddish or yellow brown
with alkalis, became pale, and were at length
obliterated, with the dilute mineral acids, and the
drop of acid liquor which had extracted a letter,
changed to a deep blue or green on the addition of
a drop of phlogisticated alkali; moreover, the letters
acquired a deeper tinge with the infusion of
galls, in some cases more, in others less. Hence
it is evident, that one of the ingredients was iron,
which there is no reason to doubt was joined with
the vitriolic acid; and the colour of the more perfect
MSS. which in some was deep black, and in others
purplish black, together with the restitution of that
colour, in those which had lost it, by the infusion
of galls, sufficiently proved that another of the ingredients
was a stringent matter, which from history
appears to be that of galls. No trace of a black
pigment of any sort was discovered, the drop of
acid which had completely extracted a letter, appearing
of an uniform pale ferrugineous color, without
an atom of black powder, or other extraneous
matter, floating in it.

"As to the durability of the more ancient inks,
it seemed, from what occurred to me in these experiments,
to depend very much on a better preparation
of the material upon which the writing was
made, namely, the parchment or vellum; the blackest
letters being those which had sunk into it
deepest. Some degree of effervescence was commonly
to be perceived when the acids came into
contact with the surface of these old vellums. I
was led, however, to suspect, that the more modern;
for in general the tinge of colour, produced by the
phlogisticated alkali in the acid laid upon them,
seemed less deep; which, however, might depend
in part upon the length of time they have been
kept: and perhaps more gum was used in them,
or possible they were washed over with some kind
of varnish, though not such as gave gloss.

"One of the specimens sent me by Mr. Astle,
of the fifteenth century, and the letters were those
of an engrossing hand, angular, without any FINE
strokes, broad and very black. On this none of
the above-mentioned re-agents produced any considerable
effect; most of them seemed to make the
letters blacker, probably by cleaning the surface;
and the acids, after having been rubbed strongly on
the letters, did not strike any deeper tinge with the
phlogisticated alkali. Nothing had a sensible effect
toward obliterating these letters but what took off
part of the surface of the vellum, when small rolls,
as of a dirty matter, were to be perceived. It is
therefore unquestionable, that no iron was used in
this ink; and from its resistance to the chemical
solvents, as well as a certain clotted appearance in
the letters when examined closely, and in some
places a slight degree of gloss, I have little doubt
but they were formed with a composition of a black,
sooty or carbonaceous powder and oil, probably
something like our present printer's ink, and am not
without suspicion that they were actually printed
(a subsequent examination of a larger portion of
this supposed MSS. has shown that it is really a part
of a very ancient printed book).

"Whilst I was considering of the experiments
to be made, in order to ascertain the composition
of ancient inks, it occurred to me that perhaps one
of the best methods of restoring legibility to decayed
writing might be to join phlogisticated alkali
with the remaining calx of iron, because, as the
quantity of precipitate formed by these two substances
very much exceeds that of the iron alone,
the bulk of the colouring matter would thereby be
greatly augmented. M. Bergman was of opinion
that the blue precipitate contains only between a
fifth and a sixth part of its weight of iron, and
though subsequent experiments tend to show that,
in some cases at least, the proportion of iron is
much greater, yet upon the whole it is certainly
true, that if the iron left by the stroke of a pen
were joined to the colouring matter of phlogisticated
alkali, the quantity of Prussian blue thence
resulting would be much greater than the quantity
of black matter originally contained in the ink
deposited by the pen, though perhaps the body of
colour might not be equally augmented. To bring
the idea to the test, I made a few experiments as

"The phlogisticated alkali was rubbed upon the
bare writing in different quantities, but in general
with little effect. In a few instances, however, it
gave a bluish tinge to the letters, and increased
their intensity, probably where something of an
acid nature had contributed to the diminution of
their colour.

"Reflecting that when phlogisticated alkali forms
its blue precipitate with iron the metal is first usually
dissolved in an acid, I was next induced to try the
effect of adding a dilute mineral acid to writing besides
the alkali. This answered fully to my expectations,
the letters changing very speedily to a deep
blue colour, of great beauty and intensity.

"It seems of little consequence as to the strength
of colour obtained, whether the writing be first wetted
with the acid, and then the phlogisticated alkali be
touched upon it, or whether the process be inverted,
beginning with the alkali; but on another account
I think the latter way preferable. For the principal
inconvenience which occurs in the proposed
method of restoring MSS. is, that the colour frequently
spreads, and so much blots the parchment
as to detract greatly from the legibility; now this
appears to happen in a less degree when the alkali
is put on first, and the dilute acid is added upon it.

"The method I have hitherto found to answer
best has been to spread the alkali thin with a
feather or a bit of stick cut to a blunt point, though
the alkali has occasioned no sensible change of
colour, yet the moment that the acid comes upon it,
every trace of a letter turns at once to a fine blue,
which soon acquires its full intensity, and is beyond
comparison stronger than the colour of the original
trace had been. If now the corner of a bit of blotting
paper be carefully and dexterously applied
near the letters, in order to suck up the superfluous
liquor, the staining of the parchment may be in a
great measure avoided: for it is this superfluous
liquor which absorbing part of the colouring matter
from the letters becomes a dye to whatever it touches.
Care must be taken not to bring the blotting paper
in contact with the letters, because the colouring
matter is soft whilst wet, and may easily be rubbed
off. The acid I have chiefly employed has been
the marine; but both the vitriolic and nitrous succeed
very well. They should undoubtedly be so
far diluted as not to be in danger of corroding the
parchment, after which the degree of strength does
not seem to be a matter of much nicety.

"The method now commonly practiced to restore
old writings, is by wetting them with an infusion
of galls in white wine."

(See a complicated process for the preparation of
such a liquor in Caneparius De Atramentis, A. D.
1660, p. 277)

"This certainly has a great effect; but is subject,
in some degree, to the same inconvenience as the
phlogisticated alkali, of staining the substance on
which the writing was made. Perhaps if, instead
of galls themselves, the peculiar acid of or other
matter which strikes the black with iron were separated
from the simple astringent matter, for which
purpose two different processes are given by Piesenbring
and by Scheele, this inconvenience might
be avoided. It is not improbable, likewise, that a
phlogisticated alkali might be prepared better suited
to this object than the common; as by rendering it
as free as possible from iron, diluting it to a certain
degree, or substituting the volatile alkali for the
fixed. Experiment would most likely point out
many other means of improving the process described
above; but in its present state I hope it
may be of some use, as it not only brings out a
prodigious body of colour upon letters which were
before so pale as to be almost invisible, but has
the further advantages over the infusions of galls,
that it produces its effect immediately, and can be
confined to these letters only for which such assistance
is wanted."

The Society of Arts in 1830, received a communication
from Dr. Bostock, in the course of which he
stated that the "tannin, mucilage and extractive
matter are without doubt the principal causes of the
difficulty which is encountered in the formation of a
perfect and durable ink and for a good ink the essential
ingredients are gallic acid and a sesqui salt of
iron." Owing to his working with galls he was unable
to make decisive experiments, but he concludes,
and that rightly, that in proportion as ink consists
merely of gallate of iron, it is less liable to decomposition
and any kind of metamorphosis.

In 1831 the Academy of Sciences in France took
up the matter and designated a committee composed
of chemists with instructions to study the subject of a
permanent ink. After long research it reported that
it was unable to recommend any better ink than the
tanno-gallate of iron one then in use, but "it should
be properly compounded."

Peddington investigated, 1841-48, the ancient MSS.
collected by the Asiatic Society of Bengal, Calcutta,
and published the results in "Examination of Some
Decayed Oriental Works in the Library of the Asiatic
Society," which are of much interest as relating to
"mineral" inks, the "gall" inks being unknown in
Asia after the twelfth century.

Up to thirty-five years ago, the manufacture of
"gall" inks necessitated a complicated series of processes
and long periods of time to enable the ink to
settle properly, etc. It was Professor Penny of the
Anderson University who suggested the way to avoid
one of the processes pertaining to ink-making by
utilizing the known fact, that tannin is more soluble
in cold than in warm or hot water. It was adopted
all over the world and revolutionized the manufacture
of ink, by doing away with boiling processes and hot
macerations of ingredients. With hardly in exception
the best tanno-gallate of iron ("gall") inks are
now "cold" made.




DR. JAMES STARK, a famous chemist, submitted the
results of twenty-three years of investigations of writing
inks in a paper read by him in 1855 before the
Society of Arts, in Edinburg, Scotland. The following
is the abstract as printed by the London Artisan
at the time:

"The author stated that in 1842 he commenced
a series of experiments on writing inks, and up to
this date (1855), had manufactured 229 different
inks, and had tested the durability of writings made
with these on all kinds of paper. As the result
of his experiments be showed that the browning
and fading of inks resulted from many causes,
but in ordinary inks chiefly from the iron becoming
peroxygenated and separating as a heavy
precipitate. Many inks, therefore, when fresh made,
yielded durable writings; but when the ink became
old, the tanno-gallate of iron separated, and
the durability of the ink was destroyed. From a
numerous set of experiments the author showed
that no salt of iron and no precipitate of iron
equalled the common sulphate of iron--that is,
the commercial copperas--for the purpose of ink-
making; and that even the addition of any persalt,
such as the nitrate or chloride of iron, though
it improved the present color of the ink, deteriorated
its durability. The author failed to procure
a persistent black ink from manganese, or other
metal or metallic salt. The author exhibited a series
of eighteen inks which had either been made
with metallic iron or with which metallic iron had
been immersed, and directed attention to the fact
that though the depth and body of color seemed to
be deepened, yet in every case the durability of
writings made with such inks was so impaired that
they became brown and faded in a few months.
The most permanent ordinary inks were shown to
be composed of the best blue gall nuts with copperas
and gum, and the proportions found on experiment
to yield the most persistent black were
six parts of best blue galls to four parts of copperas.
Writings made with such an ink stood exposure
to sun and air for twelve months without
exhibiting any change of color, while those made
with inks of every other proportion or composition
had more or less of their color discharged when
similarly tested. This ink, therefore, if kept from
moulding and from depositing its tanno-gallate of
iron, would afford writings perfectly durable. It
was shown that no gall and logwood ink was equal
to the pure gall ink in so far as durability in the
writings was concerned. All such inks were exhibited
which, though durable before the addition
of logwood, faded rapidly after logwood was added
to them. Sugar was shown to have an especially
hurtful action on the durability of inks containing
logwood--indeed, on all inks. Many other plain
inks were exhibited, and their properties described
--as gallo-sumach ink, myrabolams ink, Runge's ink,
--inks in which the tanno-gallate of iron was kept
in solution by nitric, muriatic, sulphuric, and other
acids, or by oxalate of potash, chloride of lime,
etc. The myrabolams was recommended as an ink
of some promise for durability, and as the cheapest
ink it was possible to manufacture. All ordinary
inks, however, were shown to have certain drawbacks,
and the author endeavored to ascertain by
experiment whether other dark substances could be
added to inks to impart greater durability to writings
made with them, and at the same time prevent
those chemical changes which were the cause of ordinary
inks fading. After experimenting with various
substances, and among others with Prussian
blue and indigo dissolved in various ways, he found
the sulphate of indigo to fulfil all the required
conditions and, when added in the proper proportion
to a tanno-gallate of iron ink, it yielded an ink
which is agreeable to write with, which flows freely
from the pen and does not clog it; which never
moulds, which, when it dries on the paper, becomes
of an intense pure black, and which does not fade
or change its color however long kept. The author
pointed out the proper proportions for securing those
properties, and showed that the smallest quantity
of the sulphate of indigo which could be used for
this purpose was eight ounces for every gallon of
ink. The author stated that the ink he preferred
for his own use was composed of twelve ounces of
gall, eight ounces of sulphate of indigo, eight
ounces of copperas, a few cloves, and four or
six ounces of gum arabic, for a gallon of ink.
It was shown that immersing iron wire or filings
in these inks destroyed ordinary inks. He
therefore recommended that all legal deeds or
documents should be written with quill pens, as the
contact of steel invariably destroys more or less
the durability of every ink. The author concluded
his paper with a few remarks on copying inks and
indelible inks, showing that a good copying ink has
yet to be sought for, and that indelible inks, which
will resist the pencilings and washings of the chemist
and the forger, need never be looked for."

Professor Leonhardi, of Dresden, who had given much
attention to the subject of inks, introduced in 1855
what he termed a NEW ink, and named it "alizarine
ink," alizarin being a product obtained from the madder
root, which he employed for "added" color in a
tanno-gallate of iron solution. It possessed some
merit due to its fluidity, and for a time was quite popular,
but gradually gave place to the so-called chemical
writing fluids; it is now obsolete.

Champour and Malepeyre, Paris, 1856, issued a
joint manual, "Fabrication des Encres," devoted almost
exclusively to the manufacture of inks and compiles
many old "gall" and other ink formulas.

In 1856 Dr. Chilton of New York City published
the results of ink experiments which he had made.
The accompanying extracts are taken from the local
press of the month of April of that year:

"Some ingenious experiments to test the durability
of writing inks have recently been made by
Dr. Chilton, of New York City. He exposed a
manuscript written with four different inks of the
principal makers, of this and other countries, to the
constant action of the weather upon the roof of his
laboratory. After an exposure of over five months,
the paper shows the different kind of writing in
various shades of color. The English sample,
Blackwood's, well known and popular from the
neat and convenient way that it is prepared for
this market, was quite indistinct.

"The American samples, David's, Harrison's
and Maynard's are better. The first appears to
retain its original shade very neatly; the two last
are paler. This test shows conclusively the durability
of ink; and while, for many purposes, school
and the like, an ink that will stand undefaced a
year or so, is all that is necessary, yet there is
hardly a bottle of ink sold, some of which may not
be used in the signature or execution of papers that
may be important to be legible fifty or one hundred
years hence.

"For state and county offices, probate records,
etc., it is of vital importance that the records should
be legible centuries hence. We believe that some
of the early manuscripts of New England are
brighter than some town and church records of this

"In Europe at the present time, great care is
taken by the different governments in the preparation
of permanent ink--some of them even compounding
their own, according to the most approved
and expensive formulas.

"Manuscripts of the eleventh and twelfth centuries
now in the state paper office of Great Britain,
are apparently as bright as when first written;
while those of the last two hundred years are more
or less illegible, and some of them entirely obliterated."

While the information sought to be conveyed in the
last statement may be in some respects correct, it must
be remembered that most of the MSS. extant dating before
the thirteenth century were written in "Indian"
ink, while the great majority of those of the last two
hundred years were not; and this fact alone would
account to some extent for the differences mentioned.

The German (Prussian) government in 1859, as the
result of an investigation, employed what they termed
"Official Ink of the First Class," i. e., a straight tanno-
gallate of iron ink without added color; and if permanence
were required as against removal by chemicals,
it was accomplished by writing on paper saturated
with chromates and ultramarine.

In 1871 Professor Wattenbach of Germany published
a treatise entitled "Archives during the Middle
Ages," which has some valuable references to the color
phenomena of inks.

William Inglis Clark in 1879 submitted to the Edinburgh
University a thesis entitled "An Attempt to
Place the Manufacture of Ink on a Scientific Basis,"
and which very justly received the commendation of
the University authorities. His researches and rational
deductions are of the greatest possible value
judged from a scientific standpoint. The introduction
of blue-black ink is a phase of the development towards
modern methods which he discusses at much

The object of adding a dye in moderation, he
asserts, is to give temporary color to the ink and
where indigo-paste is used, it has been assumed that
it kept the iron gallo-tannate in solution, whereas any
virtue of this kind which indigo-paste possesses is
more likely due to the sulphuric acid which it contains
than to the indigo itself. The essential part of the
paste required is the sulpho-indigodate of sodium, now
commonly called indigo-carmine. He further remarks
that the stability of an ink precipitate depends upon
the amount of iron which it contains and which on no
account should be less than eight per cent; he adds
rightly, if gallic acid be preferably used in substitution
for tannin, "no precipitate is obtained under
precisely similar conditions." This point followed up
explains in a measure why a gall infusion prepared
with hot water is not suitable for a blue-black, while
a cold water infusion is. In the latter case a
comparatively small percentage of tannin is extracted
from the galls, while much is extracted with hot water
and the consequence is, on adding the indigo blue the
color is not brought out as it should be. Substantially
the same thing occurs with ink made with the respective
acids, although the blue color remains for a time unimpaired
in the tannin ink, apparently due to the fact that
ferrous-tannate reduces indigo blue to indigo white, a
change which the low reducing power of ferrous-
gallate does little to effect. The vegetable matter in
common inks facilitates the destruction, or rather
alteration and precipitation of the indigo, for the dye
appears in the iron precipitate and may be extracted
from it with boiling water.

Dr. Clark's investigations seek to demonstrate the
superiority of tannin and gallic acid over infusions of
the natural galls, and he undertakes to determine the
correct ratio of tannin and sulphate of iron to be used
as ink. His experiments in this line show that:

1. The amount of precipitate increases as the proportion
of iron to tannin is increased.

2. The composition of the precipitate is so valuable
as to preclude the possibility of its being a definite
body. Increase of iron in the solution has not at first
any effect on the composition of the precipitate, but
afterwards iron is found in it in greater but not proportional

3. At one point the proportions of iron in the precipitate
and in solution are the same, and this is at
between 6 and 10 parts of iron to 100 parts of tannin.

4. The proportion of iron in the precipitate varies
greatly with the length of time the ink has been exposed.
At first the precipitate contains 10 per cent
of iron, but by and by a new one having only 7.5
per cent is formed, and in from forty to seventy days
we find one of 5.7 per cent. Simultaneously iron increases
in the ink (proportionate to the tannin).

5. The results show, and practice confirms, that
16 parts of iron (80 ferrous sulphate) and 100 parts of
tannin are best for ink manufacture.

The research now travelled in a direction which
accumulating experience showed to be obligatory.
Blue-black tannin ink lost color, and the reducing
nature of the tannin tended to the formation of a
highly objectionable precipitate in the ink, which
made writing anything but a pleasure. These two
faults were doubtless linked together in some way
and seemed not to exist when gallic acid was used,
for ink so made was found to precipitate only after
a long exposure, it required no free acid to keep the
precipitate in solution, and retained the indigo blue
color for a long time; alkalis did not decompose the
ink, and provided blacker and more permanent writing.
Determination of the correct proportions of
gallic acid and ferrous-sulphate was the subject of prolonged
experiments conducted on similar lines to those
already detailed. The conclusions as to precipitation
were also similar. Thirty parts of iron (150 of ferrous-
sulphate) and 100 parts of gallic acid were found to
be the most suitable proportions for ink-making. It
is advisable, however, not to discard tannin altogether,
owing to the slow blackening of the gallic acid ink,
and a little tannin gives initial blackening and body,
while it is absolutely necessary for copying ink.
Initial blackness can also be ensured by oxidizing
21 per cent of the ferrous-sulphate without adding
the extra acid necessary to the formation of a ferric

The concluding portion of his research is devoted
to the influence of sugar upon the permanence of ink,
and the results of the experiments are summed up in
the following sentences: "It would be injurious to
add 3 per cent of sugar to a tan in ink, while from
4 to 10 per cent would be quite allowable. Most
copying inks contain about 3.5 per cent of sugar--
not far from the critical amount. With gallic acid
more than 3 per cent of sugar hardly varies the precipitate,
but the importance of this point is somewhat
diminished by the fact that the presence of sugar is
by no means necessary in a writing ink. Dextrin is
a much superior substance to use. Curiously this
body rapidly precipitates a tannin ink; hence it is
useless for copying ink, but for the gallic ink it is an
excellent thickener."

Chen-Ki-Souen, "Lencre de China," by Maurice Jametel,
appeared in Paris in 1882, but as the title indicates,
it is the old "Indian" or Chinese ink that is discussed.

Schluttig and Neumann in 1890 issued their
Edition Dresden on the subject of "Iron and Gall
inks." In this valuable work is to be found the
formula which has been generally adopted as the
standard where one is used for tanno-gallate of iron ink.

The investigations of other scientific men like Lepowitz,
Booth, Desormeaux, Chevreuse, Irvine, Traille,
Bottger, Riffault, Precht, Nicholes, Runge, Gobert,
Penny, Arnold, Thomson (Lord Kelvin), Davids, Kindt,
Ure, Wislar and many more who have dealt with the
chemistry of inks, present to us some testimony during
a considerable portion of the nineteenth century
of the efforts made to secure a good ink.




THE inks used by us have nothing in common with
those of the ancients except the color and gum, and
mighty little of that.

Those of the "gall" class employed in the fourteenth,
fifteenth, sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth
centuries, some formulas of which are utilized
by the manufacturers of ink in our own time, consisted
generally in combination; infusions of nut-galls, sulphate
of copper or iron, or both, and fish-glue or gum,
slightly acidulated. The frequent introduction of the
so-called "added" color into these inks, time has shown
to have been a grave mistake.

The common acceptation of the term "ink" may be
said to characterize an immense number of fluid compounds,
the function of which in connection with a
marking instrument is to delineate conventional signs,
characters and letters as put together and commonly
called writing, on paper or like substances.

To classify them would be impossible; but black
writing ink, chemical writing fluid, colored writing
ink, copying ink, India ink, secret or sympathetic ink,
and indelible ink make seven classes; the others may
be denominated under the head of miscellaneous inks,
and of them all, there is no single ink answering every
requirement and few answer at all times the same requirements.
Ink may be either a clear solution of any
coloring matter or of coloring matter held in suspension.
It is a remarkable fact that although most inks
are chemical compositions and many times made after
the same formula, identical results cannot always be
calculated or obtained. This is more particularly to be
noted in the case of black writing inks otherwise
known as the tanno-gallate of iron inks [gallic and gallotanic
acid obtained from nut-galls, sulphate of iron,
(green copperas) and some gummy vehicle].

The variations would appear to be largely due to the
difference in quality of the gall-nuts, treatment, and
temperature of the atmosphere; perhaps, however, not
so much to-day as it was ten or twenty years ago,
when to make ink of this character boiling processes
were employed. Most of them as already stated are
now "cold" made.

Inks of this class consist of a finely divided insoluble
precipitate suspended in water by the use of gum and
possessing a slight acidity.

The requisites of a good black writing ink or
black writing fluid require it to flow readily from
the pen, to indicate in a short time a black color
and to penetrate the paper to an appreciable
degree, and more important than all the rest, to be of
great durability. When kept in a closed vessel no
sediment of any account should be precipitated, although
such will be the case in open ink-wells, and
this the quicker the more the air is permitted to get
to it. If it is to be used for record or documentary
purposes it must not be altogether obliterated if brought
into contact with water or alcohol, and should depend
for permanency on its chemical and not on its pigmentary

The second class, called for distinction "chemical
writing fluids," possesses the same essential ingredients
to be found in class one, but much less in
quantity and with some "added" colored substance
which I shall term "loading," for its real purpose is to
cheapen the cost of production and not altogether as
some manufacturers state "simply to give them an
agreeable color."

Previous to the discovery of the soluble anilines,
logwood, indigo, madder, orchil and other dyeing
materials were used for a period of some eighty years
and vanadium for some twenty years (very costly
at that time), for this purpose, but since 1874, and
with frequent changes as the newer aniline compounds
were invented, these by-products of coal-tar, as well as
logwood, etc., have been and are to-day employed for
"loading," or as the manufacturer expresses, it "added
color." The chemical writing fluids as now prepared,
yield when first written a blue or green color with a
tendency to change to black afterwards. They are
not as permanent as those of the first class.

Another black ink not durable, however, is "logwood;"
its extract is combined with a little chromate
of potassium and boiled together in water. It possesses
its own "gum" and contains some tannin. In
combination with alum and water, it forms a dark
purple ink.

The colored writing inks, of which "red" is the
more important, are in great number and with hardly
an exception at the present time, manufactured by
adding water and water-glass to a soluble aniline red
color. Cochineal which was used for red ink formerly
is now almost obsolete. Nigrosine, one of the best
known of them, is much used as a cheap "black" ink,
but as it is blue black and never becomes black, it
really belongs to the family of "colored" writing
inks. They possess an undeserved popularity for they
flow freely from the pen which they do not corrode,
nor do they thicken or spoil in the inkwell; they are
however very "fugitive" in character and should not
be employed for record, legal, monetary or other
documentary purposes. The indigo and prussian blue
inks are well known, the former under certain conditions
a very permanent ink, the latter soon disintegrating.

Copying inks are of two kinds, one dependent on
the addition of glycerine, sugar, glucose or like compounds
to the black writing inks or chemical writing
fluids heretofore mentioned, which are thereby kept
in a moist offsetting condition; the other due to the
solubility of the pigmentary color with water, such as
the aniline inks which are given more body than
those for ordinary purposes--and the logwoods in
which the pigment is developed and given copying
qualities by chemicals, and hence becomes responsive
to the application of a sheet of paper dampened with
water. Copying ink should never be used for
"record" purposes as it is affected by changes of the

India ink, sometimes called China ink, or as formerly
known by the ancients and in classical and later times
"Indian ink," is now used more for drawing and engrossing
than it is for commercial purposes. It belongs
to the "carbon" class and in some form was
the first one used in the very earliest times. In
China it is applied with a brush or pith of some reed
to the "rice" paper also there manufactured. It is
easily washed away unless bichromate of ammonium
or potassium in minute quantities be added to it, and
then if the paper on which it appears be exposed for a
short time to the action of the actinic rays of sunlight,
this gummy compound will be rendered insoluble and
cannot be removed with any fluid, chemical or otherwise.
It possesses also great advantages in drawing,
since it acts as a paint, and will give any degree of
blackness according to the quantity of water mixed with it.

Secret or sympathetic inks are invisible until the
writing is subjected to a subsequent operation, such
as warming or exposing to sunlight. To further aid
the object in view, the paper may be first steeped in
a liquid and the writing only made visible by using
another liquid which has some chemical affinity with
the previous one. The number of this kind were but
few but have multiplied as chemistry progressed.
The ancients were acquainted with several modes.
Ovid indiscreetly advises the Roman wives and maidens
if they intend to make their correspondence unreadable
to the wrong persons to write with new milk,
which when dried may be rendered visible by rubbing
ashes upon it or a hot iron. Pliny suggests milky
juices of certain plants of which there are a considerable

Indelible ink is not used for writing purposes on
paper, but is found best adapted for marking linen
and cancellation or endorsing purposes. It is chiefly
composed of nitrate of silver preparations, to which
heat must be applied after it has been dried; or a
pigment is commingled with the same vehicles used
in making common printing ink and in its use treated as such.

Diamonds, gold, silver, platinum and a host of other
materials are manufactured into ink and are to be
placed under the head of miscellaneous inks. They
are in great number and of no interest in respect to
ink writing except for engrossing or illuminating.

Still another ink once held in much esteem and now
almost obsolete is the so-called "safety" ink.

Manufacturers, chemists and laymen in great number
for many years wasted money, time and energy
in diligent worship at a secret shrine which could not
give the information they sought. A summary of the
meager and barren results they secured is of little
value and unimportant. Hence, there is no REAL "safety" ink.

It is true that lampblack (carbon) as made into
ink, resists any chemical or chemicals, but simple
water applied on a soft sponge will soon remove such
ink marks. The reason for this is obvious, the ink
does not penetrate the paper.

"Safety" ink which will not respond to acids may
be affected by alkalis, or if resisting them separately,
will yield to them in combination.




IT was not, however, until 1891 that the subject of
the constitution of an enduring record ink received
the consideration its importance deserved and in this
the youngest of countries. To Robert T. Swan of
Boston is all honor due for the very unique and
comprehensive methods adopted in his investigations.
Appointed "commissioner of public records" of the
state of Massachusetts, he has set an example which
may well be followed by other states, as has been
done in a lesser degree by Connecticut and ten years
later by the United States Treasury Department,
which in this respect is so ably represented in part
by Dr. Charles A. Crampton of Washington, D. C.

Mr. Swan in his reports to the legislature of his
state for the last twelve years, deals with the subject
of the constitution of "permanent inks" so thoroughly,
and with it affords information of so practical
and useful a character, that the fullest references to
them prove both instructive and interesting. In his
report of 1891 he remarks:

"Upon commencing an examination of the records
in various places, I was impressed with the
great importance of the use of inks which should
be permanent, and the necessity of an investigation
which might prevent the further use of inks that
for one reason or another were unfit for use upon
records. I found that, as a rule, the inks upon
the most ancient records had preserved their color,
many undoubtedly being blacker than when used,
but that the later records lost the jet-black appearance
of the older. This, it is true, is not wholly
due to the change of inks, for the use of quills,
the soft surface of the old paper, the absence of
blotting paper and the greater time spent in writing,
were all conducive to a heavier deposit of ink;
but evidence is ample that in comparatively recent
years inks of poor quality came in use. Proof of
this is given by an examination of the records in
the state house. Up to about 1850 it was the custom
in the office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth
to use for engrossing the acts, inks made
of a powder which was mixed in the office; and
until that time the acts which are engrossed upon
parchment show, with but few exceptions, no signs
of fading. From 1850 for several years the writing
in many cases is becoming indistinct, that upon an
act in 1851, and upon two in 1855, having nearly
disappeared. Since 1860, acts showing different
intensity of color are found, but whether this is
their original color or not cannot be determined.

That the fading can be attributed to the parchment,
as some claim, is disproved by the fact that
of the signatures upon the same act a few have
faded while others have not. Upon an act approved
January 4, 1845, the signature of the President of
the Senate has nearly disappeared, that of the
Speaker of the House is more legible, while that of
the Governor, and the figure 4, which he evidently
inserted, are jet black.

"The indexes in the volumes of archives in the
office of the secretary, which were written about
1840, were evidently made with a different ink from
that used for engrossing, and faded so badly that
the important words had to be rewritten.

"In the office of the State Treasurer the records
to about 1867 are very black and distinct, but the
ink used during a few years following has faded.

"The records of births, marriages and deaths,
in the registration volumes in the secretary's office,
furnish an excellent illustration of the different
qualities of the inks now used. These records are
original returns made by the city and town clerks,
and from 1842 to 1889 show instances of the use
of inks which are now almost illegible. Here
again the fault cannot be attributed to the paper,
for endorsements made in the secretary's office
upon the most faded returns at the time of their
receipt are as black as when made.

"The volumes of copies of the old records of
Lexington, made in 1853, have faded until they
are quite indistinct.

"Some of the old inks, though retaining their
black color have, from the presence of acid in the
ink or paper, eaten through the paper as thoroughly
as if the writing had been done with a sharp
instrument. In part of one old volume of court
records, the ink, while not injuring the paper or
becoming illegible upon the face of the leaves, has
gradually become legible upon the reverse, while
the heavy paper has been impervious to the other
inks used.
 *   *    *    *    *    *

To ascertain what kind of inks were in use by
the town clerks, I examined the registration volumes
before referred to, and, as before stated,
found many poor inks in use. In a few cases blue
inks were used, and in two violet, which is, as a
rule, if not always, a fugitive color. A number of
the returns in these volumes of as recent date as
1875 were almost illegible, and three made in 1888
were nearly as indistinct.

"The more I looked into the subject, the more
I became convinced that the whole subject of ink
was one upon which the persons using it were
comparatively ignorant. Consultation with experts
satisfied me that good inks were being injured by
improper treatment; that the custom of mixing
inks and of adding water to them was unsafe; and
that among the inks reported as in use upon the
records there were many manufactured for commercial
uses which should not be used upon records,
and which the manufacturers would say were
not intended for record inks. I therefore sent to
the manufacturers of the inks reported as in use
by the recording officers, and to some others, the
following letter and inquiries:

" 'The fading of much of the ink used in records
of comparatively recent date, while as a rule the
records of two hundred years ago are as legible as
when written, establishes the fact that for permanent
qualities much of the modern ink is inferior to the
ancient, and that inks are used that are unfit for
making a record which should stand for all time.

" 'I am led to believe that most ink in manufacturers
make inks which are good for commercial and
other uses where there is no desire for a permanent
record, but which they would not recommend for
use where the important object was the permanency
of the record. One of the dangers to which our
records are exposed can be obviated by the use of
proper inks; and I desire to obtain the opinion of
the leading manufacturers on the subject, that I
may advise the recording officers of the State what
are, and what are not, safe inks to use for records.

" 'I shall esteem it a favor, therefore, if you will
answer the enclosed questions, and return them at
your convenience. Your reply will be treated as
confidential as far as names are concerned, except
in the answer to question No. 5, and that will not
be printed if you so request. Any general opinion
which will aid the recording officers in their selection
of ink or paper will be welcomed.

" '1. Do you consider it safe to use for a permanent
record aniline inks?

" '2. Do you consider it safe to use for a record logwood inks?

" '3. Do your consider nut-gall and iron inks
absolutely safe for a permanent record?

" '4. Do you consider carbon ink the only permanent ink?

" '5. What inks of your manufacture would you
advise against using for a permanent record?

" '6. Do you advise generally against the inks
known as writing fluids, when permanency is the
first requisition?

" '7. Do you manufacture a writing fluid?

" '8. Do you consider it safe to add water to ink
intended for permanent record, which has grown
thick by exposure to the air?

" '9. Do you believe that the obliteration of ink
is ever due to the chemicals left in the paper?
(This question has been asked of the paper manufacturers

" '10. Do you consider it safe to mix inks without
knowing to what chemical group the inks so mixed belong?'

"Replies were received from twenty-two
manufacturers. Several of the inks in the market,
though bearing the name of certain persons, were
found to be manufactured for them by manufacturers
who had already answered the questions.
Their replies were, therefore, not considered.

"To the first question, 'Do you consider it safe
to use for a permanent record aniline inks!' the
unanimous answer was decidedly no. Aniline
black is absolutely permanent, but as it is not yet
known how to render it soluble in water, it has not
been much used in ink.

"To the inquiry in regard to logwood inks,
nearly all answered no, and most of those who did
not qualified their answers to such an extent as to
imply distrust.

"Upon the question of the permanency of nut-gall and
iron inks, the answers were more varied; one answering
no, and four answering directly yes, the remaining
answers being in brief that such inks were permanent
if properly made.

"To the question, 'Do you consider carbon ink
the only permanent ink?' the answers were varied
and contradictory. Most of the manufacturers
said a carbon ink could not be permanent, because
carbon was insoluble; and some said that no chemical
union could exist between carbon and the
other ingredients in ink. Others claimed that carbon
was the one permanent color, and cited the old
Indian and Chinese inks which have stood for centuries
as illustrations of its permanency. These
statements were so widely different that I pursued
the inquiry further, and found it was conceded that,
if a process could be discovered by which carbon
could be dissolved and made to retain its color, no
known substance would make so permanent an ink;
but that there was no such process, and in the inks
now made the carbon was simply held in suspension
in the ink without any chemical union; but I
found also that improvement has been made, and
that it is possible to combine the carbon with chemicals
which will cause the carbon to embody itself.
More than ordinary care should, however, be
exercised in the purchase of carbon inks, for the
lack of chemical union would cause a tendency to
precipitate the carbon if the ink were improperly made.

"The replies to the inquiry, 'Do you advise
generally against the inks known as writing fluids,
when permanency is the first requisition?' were in
a way the most unsatisfactory, and savored somewhat
of advertising. One manufacturer made no
fluid, and had no opinion to express. Most of the
others made fluids. Nine advised generally against
their use; four recommended them in preference
to ink; and the others either advised generally
against them, but recommended their own, or
qualified the answer in such a way as to throw
doubt on them.

"The argument in their favor seems to be that
their fluidity makes them permeate the paper, and,
in the change of color which usually takes place
after using, a dyeing of the paper results. The
objections are, that to obtain the fluidity body
must be sacrificed, and there is not enough substance
deposited upon the paper. The objections made
by two manufacturers of fluids I give in their own

" 'We advise generally against the inks known
simply as writing fluids--those not intended to
yield a letter-press copy--because they are universally
made, first, with as little solid matter as
possible,--i. e. weak; second, with an excess of
iron beyond that required to combine with the tannin,
so as to develop all the color possible and
flow with the greatest freedom. The combined
writing and copying fluids, and the copying fluids
on the other hand if properly made, may be justly
recommended where permanency is the first requisition,
particularly the older ones, which should be
the most durable of all nut-gall and iron inks, because
in them particularly concentration is aimed
at, and the iron need not necessarily, and should
not, be in excess of that required to combine with
the tannin present. A steel pen during use injures,
and often greatly, the durability of a writing ink
by giving up iron to it.

" 'For your purpose, where extreme permanency
is the first requisition, I should not advise the use of
an ordinary writing fluid. Many manufacturers
cannot obtain sufficient fluidity in their writing
fluids without making their inks very dilute, and
observing a particular method of manufacture
which, although providing more attained color for
a time, sacrifices the permanent quality of their
color in a great measure. I should advise the use
of an ink decidedly stronger.'

"The addition of water was almost universally
condemned, for reasons stated later. As proof
that this was not for the mercenary purpose of indirectly
advising the use of more ink, some of the
manufacturers said the ink should be kept in small-
mouthed ink-stands, and when not in use should
be as tightly sealed as possible, to prevent evaporation.

"In reply to the inquiry as to whether chemicals
left in the paper ever obliterated the ink, several
of the manufacturers said they knew of such cases,
and all were agreed that, if the chlorides used for
bleaching the paper were not washed out, they
would dangerously affect any ink. The practice
of mixing inks was universally condemned.

"Permanency against the action of time is the
quality sought for in this investigation, and it is
claimed that better evidence as to that quality is
furnished by the test of time than by any other;
and manufacturers have shown or referred to
specimens of writing made with their ink many
years ago, as proof of its merit in this particular.
If there was any surety that the standard of quality
was always kept up in all of the oldest inks on the
market, it would be safe to accept that test, but
this may not be a fact; and, as has been stated,
some of the recording officers believe that it is not.

Moreover, if only the old inks were to be accepted,
it would be against the spirit of the age,
which is to adopt the improvements which science
makes possible; and manufacturers who at great
cost of time and money have made improvements,
would be deprived of the compensation which they
deserve. The old inks were as a rule heavy, and
had a tendency to settle; and the endeavor on the
part of some manufacturers has been to preserve
the permanency, and at the same time produce
thinner inks which would be more agreeable to use.

"Improvements have been made in the direction
of free-flowing inks, and these are fast becoming
popular; and, while for correspondence and commercial
uses they are undoubtedly sufficiently permanent,
for records many of them are not, and it
was with a view of preventing the use of these
upon records that this investigation was made.
No attention has been given to the permanency
of the inks, as against their removal by acids.

"The use of proper ink is considered so important
by the British government that the inks
used in the public departments are obtained by
public tender, in accordance with the conditions
drawn up by the controller of H. M. stationery
office, with the assistance of the chief chemist of
the inland revenue department, to whom the inks
supplied by the contractor are from time to time
submitted for analysis. Suitable inks for the various
uses are thus obtained, and their standard
maintained. The last form of 'invitation to tender,'
or 'proposal,' as we term it, is appended,
as being instructive.

I cannot learn that the United States government
uses any such care as the British government
in the matter of ink, although the question has
been a troublesome one in the departments.

"The State department issues no special rules
for determining suitable inks, or requiring that particular
inks shall be used. Proposals are asked for
the lowest bids for the articles of stationery required,
the last form of proposal asking for bids
upon seven black inks, one crimson, and one writing
fluid, which are named.

"With the market full of inks worthless for records,
the only safety for our records seems to be in
the establishment of a system similar to the English,
which shall fix upon proper inks for various
uses, which all recording officers shall be required
to use.

"I believe that the recording officers will be
glad to have the question of permanent inks decided
for them, and to know whether inks which
were in use many years ago, and have stood the
test thus far, are maintained at their old standard.
In the face of sharp competition among manufacturers,
they fear they are not."

Mr. Swan, proceeding still further, secured the
services of two of the most distinguished professors
of chemistry in this country, Messrs. Markoe and
Baird, and submitted to them in camera sixty-seven
samples of different inks, known only by numbers, for
chemical analysis; in a long and exhaustive report on
the work they had set out to accomplish, and also with
a dissertation on the chemistry of inks in general, they
complete their report as follows:

"As a conclusion, since the great mass of inks
on the market are not suitable for records, because
of their lack of body and because of the quantity
of unstable color which they contain, and because
the few whose coloring matters are not objectionable
are deficient in galls and iron, or both, we
would strongly recommend that the State set its
own standard for the composition of inks to be
used in its offices and for its records, have the
inks manufactured according to specifications sent
out, and receive the manufactured products subject
to chemical assay. In this way only can there
be a uniformity in the inks used for the records
throughout the State, and in no other way can a
proper standard be maintained."

Mr. Swan comments on the report of his chemists,
and calls attention to other tests made by himself:

"The conclusions at which I arrived were drawn,
as stated, from manufacturers or recording officers,
wholly independently of the chemists, but they will
be found to coincide in many particulars with theirs.
I did consult them in regard to the practicability of
maintaining a State standard for record ink, which
they have approved.

"The commendation by the chemists of some of
the so-called writing fluids explains in a degree the
variety of opinions advanced by the manufacturers
in regard to the durability of fluids. Some of
them will be seen to possess the qualities of ink,
and the name fluid is evidently given to meet the
commercial demand for fluids.

"Several persons, manufacturers among them,
expressed greater confidence in tests of exposure
of inks to the light and weather than to chemical
analysis. I, therefore, as a dry test, placed on the
inside of a window pane receiving a strong light,
writing made under exactly the same conditions
with each of sixty-seven inks, which remained
there from March 13 to December 8. Similar
writing was exposed to light and the weather from
September 25 to December 8, and the result of the
resistance of the inks in both tests is an almost exact
confirmation of the report of the chemists,
inks of the same class varying in their resistance
according to their specific gravity or amount of
added color.

"It may be safely said, therefore, that of sixty-
seven inks of which I procured samples, all but
seventeen are unsuitable for records, and among
these the chemists say but one is fully up to the
established scientific standard of quantity of iron
sulphate. The reason is plain,--the demand for
commercial inks is large, for record, small, and the
supply has been to meet the demand."

The British government advertises for tenders each
year, the requirements for black writing ink in 1889

"To be made of Best Galls, Sulphate of Iron,
and Gum. The Sulphate of Iron not to exceed in
quantity one-third of the weight of the Galls used,
and the specific gravity of the matured Ink not to
exceed 1045 degrees (distilled water being 1000 degrees)."
That of Black Copying Ink "To be made of the above
materials, but of a strength one fourth greater
than the Writing Ink, and with the addition of
Sugar or Glycerine. The specific gravity of the
matured Ink not. to exceed 1085 degrees." And that of
Blue-Black Writing Ink "To be made of finest
Galls, Sulphate of Iron, Gum, Indigo, and Sulphuric
Acid. The specific gravity of the Ink when
matured not to exceed 1035 degrees."

Mr. Swan again remarks in his report of 1892:

"Many of the inks which should not be used
upon records are free flowing and more agreeable
to use than permanent inks, containing more body.
As long as recording and copying is paid for by
the page, and the object is to accomplish the most
in the least time, these inks will be in popular use,
and used, and blotted off the paper before they
have much more than colored it, only to disappear
eventually. The State should set a standard for a
record ink; and, while our present system of keeping
records and furnishing supplies will not allow
that its use be required on all public records, as in
England, it would seem practicable for the secretary
of the Commonwealth to advertise for proposals
for inks of a certain standard, which the
manufacturers should be bound to maintain, and
that these should be used in all the State offices.
With a State standard ink adopted, its use by
recording officers would soon follow."

In 1894 Mr. Swan's indefatigable efforts were
crowned with success, the state of Massachusetts
adopting his recommendations included in the following

"SECTION 1. No person having the care or custody
of any book of record or registry in any of
the departments or offices of the Commonwealth
shall use or allow to be used upon such books any
ink excepting such as is furnished by the secretary
of the Commonwealth.

"SECTION 2. The secretary of the Commonwealth
shall from time to time advertise for proposals
to furnish the several departments and offices
of the Commonwealth in which books of record or
registry are kept with ink of a standard and upon
conditions to be established by the secretary at
such periods and in such quantities as may be required,
and may contract for the same.

"SECTION 3. The ink so furnished shall be examined
from time to time by a chemist to be
designated by the secretary of the Commonwealth,
and if at any time said ink shall be found to be
inferior to the established standard the secretary
shall have authority to cancel any contract made
for furnishing said ink, and the quantity so found
inferior shall not be paid for."

Professor Markoe, referred to before, was appointed
"chemist" by the Secretary of the Commonwealth
and prepared what he considered the best formula, for
a standard ink, which was competed for by a number
of ink manufacturers after proper advertisement, and
a contract awarded. Mr. Swan says that this departure
was received with favor by recording officers.
No change was made in the formula until after the
death of Professor Markoe in 1900, when Dr. Bennett
F. Davenport of Boston was selected as his successor.
He submitted a modified formula to be employed in
the manufacture of an official or standard ink. It
was adopted and such an ink is without exception now
used by all recording officers of both Massachusetts
and Connecticut.

In 1901 the United States treasury department
adopted a similar ink except that it permitted the
introduction into it of an unnamed blue coloring

Early in 1894 and during the legislative session of
the state of New York, after consultation with General
Palmer, the then secretary of state, I prepared a
bill somewhat on the lines as laid down in the Massachusetts
statute. The press all over the state at once
took up the matter and urged that some such measure
should be enacted into law. A New York City newspaper
discussed it as follows:

"A bill is to be introduced in the legislature
this week, probably to-morrow night, providing for
an official ink to be used by every public officer
throughout the State of New York in the writing
of public documents and in making entries in the records.

"The official ink is for the purpose of making
public records permanent and to guard against
fraud by the alteration of the records. As the
law stands at the present time in the state every
official, whether municipal, county or state, is
allowed to purchase and use for the records of his
office whatever ink he may choose. The consequence
is that there is no uniformity in public
records throughout the state, and entries, transcripts
and certificates are written with hundreds
of various kinds of inks.

"The serious part of the business, however, is
the evanescent character of some of the kinds now
used, especially of the cheaper grades. These are
the inks made from aniline and other dyes which
are held in solution in water. Such inks are made
from a fine, cheap powder, of which nigrosine is
used in making black inks, eosine for red, and
methylene for blue ink, and they cost only a few
dimes a gallon to manufacture. The writing made
with such inks quickly dries by the evaporation of
the water, when it merely requires the application
of a little soap and water to wash them out, leaving
the paper absolutely clean, besides being fugitive.

"It is said that as a result of the present lack
of system in this matter there are now public records
of the city of New York in which the ink has
entirely faded. These records have been made
within the past forty years, and are now worthless
because of the character of the inks originally used.

"In the Police department of this city a blue
ink is often used which is made from prussian
blue. A large portion of the entries in the books
of the Police department are made with ink of this
kind, and the warrants and other public documents
with which the police have to do are similarly written.

"A little soap and water will wipe out this writing,
so that the record can be easily altered at any
time. The use of this ink in the Police department
is said to date from the time of Tweed, which
is significant of the original purpose for which it.
was adopted.

"A permanent writing fluid such as it is now
proposed to adopt throughout the state would not
only secure uniformity in the character of the inks
used, but it would also throw many obstacles in
the way of altering the records.

"The present Secretary of State is heartily in
accord with the proposed legislation. He was
seen last week by Mr. David N. Carvalho, who
has made a life study of the subject and who drew
the bill and is pushing the reform.

"Mr. Carvalho said yesterday: 'This ink, whose
use it is intended to secure in the making of public
records in this state, is more costly than those
made from aniline and other dyes, which fade and
wash. In it the black particles are suspended in
water by the addition of gum. This kind of ink
has an affinity for oxygen, and hence it oxidizes
and turns black. When unadulterated it only becomes
blacker with the passage of time, and cannot
be washed from the paper by the use of water.'

" 'I could show you,' continued Mr. Carvalho,
'public records of this city made within forty
years which are entirely illegible and consequently
worthless, because cheap inks were used in the
writing. These include not only records of wills
in the Surrogate's office, but entries and transfers
of real estate which are likely to come up in the
course of litigation at any time, thereby affecting
the rights of many citizens.

" 'I can tell you at once upon seeing an old
document the character of the ink that was used in
the writing, and I have seen many old papers over
a hundred years of age in which the writing was
as clear as the day it was made, simply because a
good writing ink was used. On the other hand
writing made with cheap aniline ink may under
certain circumstances fade out within a year, and
in a book which is much handled is almost certain
to be rubbed out in time.

" 'It has frequently happened that in the course
of litigation, especially over real estate, that old
records made with poor inks have been produced
which the court refused to accept as evidence,
thereby depriving some citizen of his rights. At
the present time many officials in this state, in
fact, the majority of them, are using these cheap
and worthless inks and the records they are making
will be of little or no value in a few years.

" 'It is to put a stop to this abuse that the present
bill has been drawn up, and there is no argument
which can be raised against it.' "

It appears that there was one, however, as the bill
failed to pass for the stated reason that it came under
the head of "class" legislation. The great state and
city of New York with costly and magnificent depositories
continue to place in them, for safe-keeping,
valuable records and other ink-written instruments
which will become illegible before the present century
comes to an end.

Professor Lehner, a German chemist, in 1890 published
a treatise "Die Tinten-Fabrikation," which has
been translated and added to by Dr. Brannt, of Philadelphia,
editor of "The Techno-Chemical Receipt-Book," who remarks:

"The lack of a recent treatise in the English
language containing detailed descriptions of the raw
materials and receipts for the preparation of Inks,
and the apparent necessity, as shown by frequent
inquiries, for such a volume, were the considerations
which led to the preparation of The Manufacture of Ink."

This work compiles a great number of formulas,
and rather favors the views of the chemist Dr. Bostock
respecting the iron and gall inks. The book
possesses value for reference purposes to the manufacturer.

Auguste Peret, author of "The Manufacture of Ink,"
1891, has put together a lot of excellent material relative
to ink-making and valuable for reference purposes.

The late Dr. William E. Hagan of Troy, New York,
in 1894 issued his book, "Disputed Hand-writing."
He devotes two chapters to the discussion of ancient
and modern inks and their chemistry. He has been
kind enough to quote the writer as the first to remove
ink in open court with chemicals in order to determine
the existence of pencil writing beneath the ink.
The pencil being carbon was not affected thereby and
with the subsequent restoration of the bleached ink
by the use of the correct re-agent.

In the same year Dr. Persifor Frazer of Philadelphia
published his "Manual of the Study of Documents."
A few pages are given to the study of inks,
and a part thereof is devoted to the researches of
Carre, Hager, Baudrimont, Tarry, Chevallier and
Lassaigne, to determine suspected forgeries. The
chapter on "the sequence in crossed lines," where he
indicates his method of determining which of two
crossed ink lines was written first, is both original and
a real contribution to science.

Alfred H. Allen, F. C. S., of England, perhaps the
highest authority on the subject of tannins, dyes and
coloring matters in his "Commercial Organic Analysis,"
revised and edited by Professor J. Merritt Mathews
of Pennsylvania, edition of 1900, devotes eight
pages to the subject of the "Examination of Ink
Marks." He says:

"Ordinary writing ink was formerly always
made from a decoction of galls, to which green
vitriol was added. Of late, the composition of
writing inks has become far less constant, aniline
and other dyes being frequently employed, and
other metallic salts substituted for the ferrous-
sulphate formerly invariably used. The best black
ink is a tanno-gallate of iron, obtained by adding
an infusion of nut-galls to a solution of ferrous-
sulphate (copperas)."

In 1897 the author in a paper read before the New
York State Bar Association at Albany, entitled "A
Plea for the Preservation of the Public Records," discussed
the question of the stability of inks and their
phenomena and took occasion to make recommendations
as to their constitution and future methods of
employment. A vote of thanks was adopted and the
association referred the paper to the Committee on
Law Reform, where no doubt it still slumbers.




TO ascertain the correct formula of a substantially
permanent ink, as we have learned, has been the aim
during a century or more, of able chemists, manufacturers
and laymen. Their experiments and study of
ancient and modern documents all point unerringly
in the direction of an ink containing iron and galls.

Accumulated evidence may be said to establish
itself in the light of investigation and experience and
becomes more and more a certainty when considered,
reviewed and discussed in connection with a chronological
history of the "gall" inks since they came
into semi-official and other uses centuries ago.
Descriptions of MSS. containing ink writings hundreds
of years old, many of them as legible as when first
written, are silent witnesses whose testimony cannot
be assailed. Such information when assembled
together minimizes many of the conditions which have
existed and interposed in preventing during the last
four decades a general adoption or re-adoption of
such a tanno-gallate of iron ink, the lasting qualities
of which some of our forefathers estimated would,
and as we know have stood the test of time.

Assuming this character of ink to have been employed
in past centuries, the cause or causes for the
differentiations in respect to color and durability become
of paramount importance.

The investigations of the writer in this direction,
while in some respects traveling the same road followed
by others, diverged from them and has been
more in the nature of a comparative analytical and
microscopic examination of ancient with ancient and
modern with modern documents in connection with
numerous chemical experiments, the manufacture of
hundreds of inks and the study of their time and
other phenomena.

To accomplish this, ancient documents not written
with "Indian" ink, but with those obviously containing
combinations of iron and galls or other tannins,
were selected and grouped into color families.
They began with the fourteenth century, continuing
well into the nineteenth, to the number of nearly
four hundred, each of them of a different date
and different year. Some of them were so pale
and indistinct as to be illegible, others less so
and by gradual steps they approached to a definite
black; many of them as rich and deep in color as if
they had been written not centuries ago but within
a few years. Signatures on the same document represented
different degrees of color, so that the question
of the material on which the writing appeared affecting
the appearance of the ink, was not a factor; but
the difference in the inks used to make the signatures
was the determining factor.

At this point it may be noted that the investigations
conducted by Mr. Swan before referred to and those
by the writer and the resultant observations of each
were substantially alike. Many of the writer's, however,
preceded those of Mr. Swan's, for during the
years 1885 and 1886, having had the custody of part
of the Archives of the City of New York there were
many opportunities to study this subject which were
taken advantage of, before and after which time
frequent examinations were made of writings much
more ancient than those pertaining to New York.

Assuming a second premise was to assert that the
inks employed in the writing of these documents
were "straight" or possessed some "added" pigment
or color. Again, the vehicles to hold the particles or
possibly preserving substances, might be factors.

All literature possible referring to ink formulas
was examined to ascertain the names of materials
recommended or formerly "added" to gall inks, because
if the pristineness of the blacker inks was due
to the added pigment it was a safe proposition that it
was still existent in the ink, and that if it could be
discovered part at least of the problem would be,

The "added" color compounds, excluding those of
the aniline family which pertain to the more modern
ink compositions, are of two classes: those possessing
tannin and color-yielding materials and those containing
only a color-yielding material. Many of the first
class have been used in the manufacture of ink both
with infusions of nut-galls or alone, while but very
few of the second class have been used for either purpose.
The decomposing action of light, oxygen and
moisture on many of each class placed them beyond
the purview of consideration, while the dates of the
discovery and the fact of the small percentage of tannin
contained in others permitted them also to be
discarded. For instance: vanadium, which is fairly
permanent, was discovered only in 1830; chanchi, the
ink plant of New Granada discovered in the sixteenth
century, possessing excellent lasting qualities, does not
assimilate perfectly with other constituents used in the
manufacture of ink, but is best when used alone;
Berlin blue (prussian blue) is well spoken of, but
was only discovered by accident in 1710 by Diesbach,
a preparer of colors at Berlin; logwood, more used
for this purpose than any other material, was first
imported into Europe in the sixteenth century and
causes a deterioration of the durable qualities of the
tanno-gallate of iron; Brazil-wood and archil, and
their allies, are exceedingly fugitive; bablah, the
fruit of the acacia arabica, myrabolams, of Chinese
growth, catechu, and sumac which though used in
the time of Pliny, each contains a percentage of
gallic acid too small to meet the requirements.
Divi-divi, a South American product, came into use
only at the end of the sixteenth century and has not
stood the test of time.

This sifting process completely eliminated all but
lampblack, madder and indigo in some form as a
permanent "added" color pigment. Lampblack,
which is we know forms the basis of "Indian" ink,
is not soluble and requires a very heavy gummy
vehicle to prevent its immediate precipitation, and
while it could have been used in combination with
tanno-gallate of iron as an ink, the fact that it was
possible to chemically remove the ancient inks which
remained black, was a sufficient demonstration that
this carbon substance, which is not affected by chemicals,
either as contained in the fluid ink or as dusted
on after writing, could have formed no part of the
ancient tanno-gallate of iron inks.

Madder is mentioned as of very ancient times and
was cultivated in Europe as early as the tenth century;
its addition to an iron and gall ink is said to be
an invention of the year 1855; it is certain, however,
that it was used for a like purpose as early as 1826,
and a fair presumption that it was frequently
employed in some form during the preceding four
centuries. It has under certain conditions very lasting
properties as the madder-dyed cloths found
wrapped around Egyptian mummies demonstrates,
but does not assist the tanno-gallate of iron to retain
its black color; on the contrary it seems to lessen this

That indigo for added color was employed by ink
manufacturers in the eighteenth century is shown by
the formulas appearing in the literature of that time.
It was used alone as an ink long before, as well as
contemporaneously with, those of the tanno-gallate of
iron family. Its lasting properties are most remarkable
if it be true that, used as a dye, there is still in
existence specimens of it on cloth five thousand or
more years old. The history of its use ALONE as an
ink is difficult to ascertain back of a certain period;
the writer has several specimens of it, one written in
1692 whose color is a green blue; another written
about a century ago is believed to be as bright blue
as the day it was placed on the paper; from 1810 to
1850 it was in common use particularly in hot
climates where it was "home-made." Consequently
if the old "gall" inks contained a lasting added
color, indigo must have been the one, Dr. Stark
whose investigations along this line for twenty-three
years have already been cited has said that he
preferred for his own use an ink composed of galls,
sulphate of indigo and copperas (sulphate of iron);
this means a tanno-gallate of iron ink with indigo for
"added" color. Like formulas calling for different
proportions of constituents both before and after his
time in England and the continents of Europe and
America are to be found in considerable number,
proving that its use was more or less constant in this
respect. To determine, then, whether or not the
blacker specimens of the ancient writings contained
indigo in any of its forms was most important, and
the plan adopted most simple. Specimens of writing
in ink of which the manufacturer's name was known
as well as his formula and only thirty years old
showed evidence of considerable "browning;" some
of them when tested in juxtaposition with those of
from fifty to one hundred years old which had turned
completely brown, gave approximately the same results,
and differentiated largely from the results obtained
from jet black specimens of eighty to five
hundred or more years of age. In a number of the
browner ones indigo was found to be present while in
many of the black ones it was not, demonstrating
that the reason for the continuing blackness of the
older inks is not due to an added color or pigment of
any kind and furthermore that the "Stark" and
corresponding ink formulas after the test of TIME did not
retain their original blackness but deteriorated to a
brown color; moreover, that their purpose as in the
present day was to give an agreeable and immediate
color result, a free-flowing ink, and to cheapen the
cost of manufacture when compared with that of an
unadulterated tanno-gallate of iron ink.

No disagreement being now possible as to the lasting
color virtues of a properly proportioned tanno-
gallate of iron ink WITHOUT an "added" color or
pigment, there remained the sole question as to the
vehicle utilized to hold this combination in suspension
and whether or not it had to do with the continuing
blackness of the older inks.

The answer must lie between the vegetable product
known as gum and the animal product known as
gelatine. The first disintegrates, quickly absorbs
moisture and gradually disappears, while gelatine
(isinglass) "contains under conditions 50% carbon,
although its molecular formula has not yet been
determined. It cannot be converted into vapor and
does not form well-defined compounds with other
bodies; it is insoluble in alcohol which precipitates it
in flakes from its aqueous solution. It is also precipitated
by tannin, which combines with it to form
an insoluble non-putrescible compound. Gallic acid,
however, does not precipitate it." (Bloxam.)

Possessing an undisturbed and complete history it
was the very substance employed long before the discovery
of gall ink, and is found present in the earliest
specimens of the "Indian" inks which remain to us.

It must now be evident that there can be no material
difference of opinions as to what has been so
clearly and conclusively established, viz. that ink
which contains a base of tanno-gallate of iron (without
"added" color) is a permanent ink, and the
length of its durability and continuing pristineness
can be disturbed only by inferior quality of constituents,
wrong methods of admixture and its future
environment. Hence any black ink with this combination
missing is of no practical value whatever
either for record or commercial uses.

"Indian" ink, except for specific purposes, belongs
to the great past and will so continue with its
virtues unchallenged and proven, until some solvent
is discovered for the carbon which forms nearly the
whole of its composition, at which time THE perfect
ink can be said to have been discovered.




ALL inks when first placed on paper are of course
in a fluid state. Gradual evaporation of moisture
causes a change not only in color but in the case of
the iron and gall inks, in their chemical constitution,
being immediately affected by their environment,
whether due to the character of the paper on which
they rest, the kind or condition of the pen used, or
most important of all, the elements. Those who use the
black inks and chemical writing fluids will have noticed
these characteristics. The pale brown, blue or green
as first written, and the gradual change after a short
period to an approaching blackness, are reactions due
largely to atmospheric conditions, the oxygen uniting
with that for which it has affinity and instantly
beginning with TIME to make its march, producing
natural phenomena, which can be only superficially
imitated but never exactly reproduced. When we
further take into consideration that the forger cannot
always know of the circumstances which surround
the placing of original ink on paper and that be cannot
manufacture the TIME which has already elapsed,
it is not strange that attempted fraud can often be
made evident and complete demonstrations given of
the methods employed.

With the passage of time, the particles in some
inks which are held together on the paper by gummy
vehicles, commence to disintegrate and change from
intense black to the brown color of iron rust, the
"added" color which of itself is fugitive in character,
soon departs; the vegetable astringent separating
from the iron salt decays gradually and disappears
and finally terminates in a mere stain or dust mark
which can be blown off the paper. Sometimes, the
written surface of such paper can be treated by carefully
moistening it with a decoction of nut-galls or its
equivalent in the presence of a weak acid, then if any
iron be present, a measurable degree of restoration of
color will ensue and remain for a short period.

Again, the discoloration of an iron ink may be due to
the character of the paper; if of the cheaper grades
and the bleaching compounds employed in their
manufacture are not thoroughly washed out, then the
ink not only begins to absorb oxygen from the
atmosphere but the chlorine in the paper attacks it
and the process of destruction is thereby hastened.

The introduction of acid into ink has two purposes,
one to secure more limpidity, and the other to cause
it to penetrate the paper and in this way bind
together the constituent particles of both ink and
paper. Most of the chemical writing fluids of this
decade carry a superabundance of acid in their
composition, which in time will burn through the paper
and ultimately destroy it.

All tanno-gallate of iron inks require some vehicle
to hold their particles in a state of suspension, otherwise
there would be precipitation and such an ink
could not be used. To meet this requirement a
variety of gums are employed by manufacturers,
gum acacia being the principal one. Its purpose is
threefold--as before stated, to hold the ink particles
in suspension--to prevent the ink from flowing too
rapidly, and after drying WITHOUT blotting, to act as
an envelope to encase the now fixed ink and prevent
or interfere with its absorption of an excess of oxygen.
The longer these latter conditions obtain the longer
will the ink retain its pristineness, its durability and
permanence. The "time proved" ink-written specimens
of five hundred years or more ago which continue
to retain their original intense black color and
"glossy" appearance, do not, however, yield any evidence
of the use of vegetable gums in their composition.
Where such instances have been noticed the gloss is
invariably missing. But, where ANY gloss is present,
it was and is because of the employment of isinglass
(fish-glue) as the vehicle to hold the ancient ink

Hence the variations of color seen in ancient paper
writings, as already stated, were due not only to possible
imperfect admixtures of the component parts of
the inks, but to the use of vegetable gums in their
preparation. In the course of time these have been
absorbed by moisture which hastened disintegration,
causing a gradual disappearance of their original blackness
and gloss and finally a return to the rusty color
of oxidized iron.

It therefore follows, my observations and deductions
being correct, the older a writing made with
tanno-gallate of iron ink, where isinglass is the binder,
and which has not been "blotted," the harder and
more impervious and irresponsive it becomes to the
action of the natural elements or of chemical reagents.

The truths demonstrated in this proposition cannot
be denied. They fortify as certain that a properly
proportioned mixture in water of an infusion of nut-
galls or gallo-tannic acid and sulphate of iron, with
isinglass as the vehicle to bold the particles in a state
of suspension, if written with on good paper and allowed
to dry without blotting, in a short time becomes
encased or enveloped in such vehicle, which is thereby
rendered substantially insoluble and absolutely
prevents any extensive oxidation. Also, as a further
consequent result, there is chemically created an
unchangeable and continuing black color more permanent
and durable than the substance on which it appears.

With a sample of standard commercial chemical
writing fluid, write on "linen" paper without blotting
it; in thirty hours, if exposed to the air and
from three to five days if kept from it, the writing
should have assumed a color bordering on black; it
becomes black at the end of a month under any conditions,
and so continues for a period of about five
or six years, when if examined under a lens of the
magnification of ten diameters, there will be a noticeable
discoloration of the sides or pen tracks which
slowly spreads during a continuing period of from ten
to fifteen years, until the entire pen marks are of a
rusty brown tint. A species of disintegration and
decay is now progressing and when approximately
forty years of age, has destroyed all ink qualities.

If, however, "chemical writing fluid" is first treated
by exposure to the fumes of an ammoniacal gas, a
"browning" of the ink occurs, not only of the pen
tracks but of the entire ink mark. If examined now
with a lens, the ink is found to be thin enough to permit
the fibre of the paper to be seen through it, thus indicating
artificial age. Furthermore, if a 20 per cent
strength of hydrochloric acid be applied, the "added"
color (usually a blue one) is restored to ITS original
hue; alike experiment on "time" aged ink gives
only the yellow brown tint of pure gall and iron
combinations, the "added" color having departed caused
by its fugitive characteristics. Again, if a solution of
chlorinate of lime or soda be applied, the ink mark
is instantly bleached, where in the case of honest old
ink marks, it takes considerable time to even approximate
a like result.

To confirm the chemical tests which may be employed
in the determination of the artificial aging of
ink marks, photographs made by permitting light to
transmit through the paper and to interfere with its
rays by filtering them through a "color" screen containing
orange and some green, will indicate the presence
of a fugitive substance in the ink, usually the
"added" color employed in its manufacture.

The process of bleaching or "removal" of ink marks
from paper is frequently employed in the attempted
eradication of words or figures and the substitution
of others on monetary instruments, commonly called
"raising." Its purpose is usually a criminal one and
some observations as to the modus operandi and its
chemistry are not out of place here.

Ink marks made with a compound consisting of the
combination of iron and an infusion of galls or its
equivalent (a tanno-gallate of iron ink), as treated
with certain chemicals, change from a compound with
color to a chemical compound, with no color. Nothing
has in fact been absolutely removed or eradicated,
but it is a mere change of form, a sort of re-arrangement
of the particles, the ingredients which formed
the original color being still present, but in such a
condition that they are invisible to the eye. A restoration
of the invisible ink marks so that they can
be observed, becomes possible by the use of chemical
reagents and is the reverse of the one of erasure or
bleaching, and changes the constituents again into a
compound which has color from the one which had
none. It does, not, however, reproduce the exact composition
originally existing. Such a reagent simply
goes to the basis of the material as first used, takes
up what was left and reforms the particles sufficiently
to make them abundantly recognizable. An apt
illustration of these chemical changes of color is found
in what is known as the phenolphtalein test solution,
which is colored deep purplish-red by alkali hydrates
or carbonates, and then by the addition of an acid
rendered colorless, to be again reddened by an over-
plus of the alkali and so on ad infinitum.

A popular material for the purpose of making
chemical erasures is chlorinated lime or soda, which
becomes more active by first touching the ink mark
to be removed with a one half strength solution of
acetic acid; this hastens the liberation of chlorine
gas, THE active agent which causes the "bleaching"
to take place. Hydrogen peroxide, also a bleaching
compound, is less rapid in its action than chlorinate
of soda; the same may be said of combinations of
oxalic and sulphurous acids.

The most effective re-agent for the restoration of a
chemically "bleached" iron ink mark is the sulphide
or sulphuret of ammonia (it has several names). This
penetrating chemical blackens metals or their salts,
whether visible or not, if brought together. It must
not be used by direct contact, the best and safest
plan being to place a quantity in a small saucer, to be
set on the floor of a closed box; to fasten to the box
lid the specimen to be operated on; in this way the
restoration is due to the fumes of the chemical and a
possible danger of destruction of the specimen much
lessened, especially if the marks are very light or delicate
ones. The restoration of color under particular
conditions may also be obtained by treatment with
tannic acid, potassium ferro-cyanide (acidulated) or a
weak solution of an infusion of galls.




A COMPILATION of the methods of Robertson,
W. Thompson (Lord Kelvin), Irvine, Wislar, Hoffman
and others, relative to the chemical examination of ink
marks, is to be found in "Allen's Commercial Organic
Analysis." Their experiments, however, date back
many years ago, a few of them before the time of the
use of the "anilines" for added color. The so-called
"alizarin" ink referred to has now become obsolete.
The following is the citation in part:

"In chemico-legal cases it is sometimes of
importance to ascertain the nature of the ink used,
to compare it with specimens of writing of known
history, and to ascertain the relative ages of the
writings. A minute inspection should first be
made with a magnifying power of about 10 diameters,
and any peculiarities of color, lustre, shade,
etc., duly noted, and where lines cross each other
which lie uppermost. The examination is often
facilitated by moistening the paper with benzine
or petroleum spirit, whereby it is rendered semi-
transparent. The use of alcohol or water is inadmissible.

"Valuable information is often obtainable by
treating writing or other ink-marks with reagents.
Some inks are affected much more rapidly than
others, though the rate of change depends greatly
on the age of the writing. Normal oxalic acid (63
grammes per litre), or hydrochloric acid of
corresponding strength, should be applied to a part of
the ink marked with a feather or camel-hair brush
(or the writing may be traced over with a quill
pen), and the action observed by means of a lens,
the reagent being allowed to dry on the paper.
Recent writing (one or two days old) in gallic inks
is changed by one application of oxalic acid to a
light gray, or by hydrochloric acid to yellow.
Older stains resist longer, in proportion to their
age, and a deeper color remains. Log-wood ink
marks are mostly reddened by oxalic acid, and
alizarin marks become bluish, but aniline inks
are unaffected. With hydrochloric acid, logwood
ink marks turn reddish or reddish-gray, alizarin
marks greenish, and aniline ink marks reddish or
brownish-gray. The treatment with acid should
be followed by exposure to ammonia vapors, or
blotting paper wet with ammonia may be applied.
Thus treated, marks in logwood ink turn dark
violet or violet-black. The age of ink marks very
greatly affects the rate of their fading when treated
with dilute ammonia, the old marks being more
refractory. The behavior of ink marks when
treated with solution of bleaching powder is often
characteristic, the older writings resisting longer;
but unless the reagent be extremely dilute, writings
of all ages are removed almost simultaneously.
Hydrogen peroxide acts more slowly than bleaching
solution, but gives more definite results. After
bleaching the mark by either reagent, the iron of
the ink remains mordanted on the paper, and the
mark may be restored by treatment with a dilute
solution of galls, tannic acid, or acidulated ferro-
cyanide. The same reagents may be used for restoring
writing which has been faded from age

"When ink marks have been erased or discharged
by chemical means, traces of the treatment
are often recognizable. After effecting the erasure
the spot is often rubbed over with a powdered alum
or gum sandarac, or coated with gelatin or size.
The bleaching agents most likely to have been
used are oxalic, citric, or hydrochloric acid, bleaching
powder solution, or acid sulphite of sodium.
Moistened litmus paper will indicate the presence
of a free acid, and in some cases treatment with
ammonia fumes will restore the color. The presence
of calcium, chlorides, or sulphates in the
water in which the paper is soaked will afford some
indication of bleaching powder or a sulphite having
been used. Potassium ferro-cyanide will detect
any iron remaining in the paper. Exposure to
iodine vapor often affords evidence of chemical
treatment, and other methods of examination
readily suggest themselves."

M. Piesse, in the Scientific American, is authority
for a method of removing ink, found on "patent"
check paper:

"Alternately wash the paper with a camel's-
hair brush dipped in a solution of cyanide of
potassium and oxalic acid; then when the ink has
disappeared wash the paper with pure water."

Inks of the tanno-gallate of iron family, whether
containing "added" color or not, can be more or less
"erased" by chlorinate of lime or soda, in the
presence of a weak acid. These chemicals do not,
however, materially affect the prussian blue inks,
which require solutions of hydrate of potash or soda.
Real indigo can be removed by chloroform, morphine
or an aniline salt (indigo and aniline both owe their
names to the same Portuguese source), which possess
the rare property of dissolving pure indigo. Such
combination, if refractory in the presence of permanganate
of potash with sulphuric acid, must be followed
by an application of sulphurous acid. In like
manner, inks composed of by-products of coal tar, can
be effectively treated, when irradicable with plain
water or soap and water.

The erasure and removal of most inks from paper
can be accomplished by the application of the chemicals
heretofore enumerated. The requirements in
this direction of some inks, however, though of rare
occurrence, are to be met by the employment of other
and particular reagents.

Many of the tests specified in the Allen citation to
determine the character of ink constituents, if made
alone are practically valueless, because the same behavior
occurs with different materials employed in the
admixture of ink. To avoid error in judgment the
operator should verify if possible by confirmatory
tests. Thus, in the one for logwood, sulphurous acid
will cause a logwood ink mark to turn yellow; mercuric
chloride, orange; tartar-emetic, red; and if the
marks are faded ones, solutions of sulphate of iron
or bichromate of potash will restore them respectively
to a violet or blue-black color.

Prussian blue, aniline blue and indigo blue are to
be tested as follows: Solution of chloride of lime, no
change of color for prussian blue; decoloration or
faint yellow for aniline blue or indigo. To discriminate
between the two latter, test with solution of
caustic soda, when decoloration or change of color
will indicate aniline blue and permanence will indicate
presence of indigo blue.

In the manufacture of the blue-black inks, a variety
of violets have been and are still employed. Among
them are aniline violet, iodine violet, madder, alkanet,
orchil and logwood.

(a) Apply chloride of lime solution: 1. No change
of color indicates alkanet. 2. Any change, one of
the other five.

(b) Apply lemon juice: 1. The violet becomes
brighter if it is one of the aniline violets, to be
distinguished from each other by applying one part of
hydrochloric acid to three parts of water, when it will
become violet-blue, changing to red if it is common
aniline-violet, but blue changing to a green hue and
upon adding plain water to a lilac or pearl gray if it
is iodine-violet (Hoffman's). It will also turn from
red to yellow in lemon juice. To test for the other
three violets: (a) Apply chloride of lime, to be followed
by a solution of yellow prussiate of potash:
absence of a blue coloration leaves orchil and logwood
to be considered. To distinguish between them apply
solution of hydrate of lime, whereby a change to
gray, followed by complete decoloration indicates logwood,
and a change to violet-blue, orchil.

The substances utilized with but few exceptions for
red ink are the "eosins," possessing different names
like erythrosine, as well as different hues. Antecedent
to about thirty-five years ago, cochineal (known
as "carmine"), madder, Brazil wood and saffron formed
the basis of most of the red inks.

Make a soap solution adding a small quantity of
ammonia, lemon juice, muriate of tin, all in water:
1. No change upon application indicates madder.
2. Any change, the presence of one of the three other
reds: (a) thus a complete decoloration with a return
of the color indicates saffron; (b) reappearance of the
red color though weaker, aniline-red: (c) production
of a yellowish red or light yellow color, cochineal or
Brazil wood, to be distinguished from each other by
the application of concentrated sulphuric acid, when
Brazil wood will at once give a bright cherry-red, and
cochineal a yellowish orange.

No yellow inks are in commercial use. Documents
do, however, often contain yellow marks about which
information is required as to their origin. As a rule
they are iron rust, picric acid, turmeric, fustic, weld,
Persian berries or quercitron. In order to recognize
the different colors, the presence or absence of iron
rust and picric acid must first be determined.

Apply a warm sample of a slightly acid solution of
yellow prussiate of potash; iron rust will be indicated
by a blue coloration.

Apply a weak solution of cyanide of potassium; picric
acid will yield a blood-red coloration.

If picric acid and iron rust are both absent, apply a
bit of ordinary wetted soap: 1. It turns reddish-brown
and becomes yellow again with hydrochloric acid--
turmeric; 2. It turns quite dark--fustic; 3. It is
unaffected--weld, Persian berries or quercitron. To
distinguish between these three, apply sulphuric acid,
the color of weld will disappear, and of the others
remaining apply tin-salt solution, when a change to
orange indicates Persian berries, and no change or a
very slight one, quercitron.

Inks containing also logwood, fustic, Brazil wood,
or madder, were all of them more or less employed
some years ago. Their color phenomena, following
long periods of time, is much the same. Tests as prescribed
in the accompanying table for such inks will
serve to classify them preliminary to subsequent and
more certain ones.

                                   LOGWOOD.         FUSTIC.

Concentrated Hydrochloric Acid      Red-yellow      Red
Dilute       "             "        Reddish         Yellow-Brown

Concentrated and dilute Nitric Acid Red             Red-Yellow
     "   Sulphuric Acid . .         Black           Dark Purple
Dilute         "   "                Red  Brown      Purple
Potassium Chromate . . . .          Black
Stannous Chloride                   Violet          Yellow
Tartaric Acid . . . . .             Gray-Brown      Yellow
Sulphate of Copper . . . .          Dark Gray
Tannin . . . . . .                  Yellow-Red      Yellow
Potash                              Dark Red        Yellow
Potassium Permanganate             Light-Brown      Yellow
    "    Iodide . . . . .          Red-Yellow
Pyrogallic Acid . . . .            Yellow-Brown     Yellow
Chrome-yellow . . . . .            Dark Violet
Sodium (Salt)                      Violet           Red
Sulphate of Iron                   Gray to Black
Alum . . . . . . .                Violet Red,Brown. Faint Red

                                     BRAZIL WOOD.    MADDER.

Concentrated Hydrochloric Acid       Light Red      Pale Yellow
Dilute          "          "         Light Red      Pale Yellow

Concentrated and dilute Nitric Acid  Dark Purple    Pale Yellow
     "   Sulphuric Acid . .          Red            Pale Yellow
Dilute         "   "                 Purple         Pale Yellow
Potassium Chromate . . . .            -               -
Stannous Chloride                    Light Red      Light Red
Tartaric Acid . . . . .              Red Yellow     Pale Yellow
Sulphate of Copper . . . .            -               -
Tannin . . . . . .                   No Change      Pale Yellow
Potash                               Crimson        Light Red
Potassium Permanganate                -               -
Iodide . . . . .                      -               -
Pyrogallic Acid . . . .               -               -
Chrome-yellow . . . . .               -               -
Sodium (Salt)                         -              Red
Sulphate of Iron                     Dark Violet      -
Alum . . . . . . .                    -              Faint Red




FIFTY years ago and long before the employment of
the fugitive "anilines" for ink uses, and "wood
pulp" as a material for paper, two French chemists,
Chevallier and Lassiagne, published in the Journal de
Chimie Medical, an article "On the Means to be
Employed for Detecting and Rendering Perceptible
Fraudulent Alterations in Public and Private Documents,"
which as translated is valuable enough to
quote in full:

"The numerous experiments which have been
already tried at various times, have made known
the processes which may frequently be put in practice
for causing the reappearance of traces of writing
effaced by chemical reactions, and for throwing
light on the work of the guilty. But there are
cases in which all the means proposed for this purpose
fail, and then the criminal may escape justice
from the want of conclusive material proofs. If,
as has already been proved, it is not always possible
to cause the reappearance of the effaced writing,
for which written words have with a fraudulent
intent been substituted, at least, as our
experiments demonstrates, we may recognize, by
some effects which are manifest on the surface of
the altered paper, the places where the criminal act
has been performed, circumscribe them by a simple
chemical reaction visible to the least practiced eye,
and even measure their extent. In a word, the
visible alterations produced on a deed are susceptible,
owing to the partial modifications which the
surface of the paper has undergone, of being differently
affected by certain chemical actions, and
of being rendered visible. The following experiments,
made in a judicial investigation, furnish us
with the following facts:

"1st. The surface of paper sized in the ordinary
way, or letter paper, no longer presents with certain
reactions, the same uniformity where it has
been either accidently moistened in several places
by various liquids, or left in contact for a certain
time with agents capable of removing or destroying
the characters which have been traced on it with

"2d. The application of a thin layer of gum, of
starch, or farina, of gelatine, or fish-glue, with a
view of sizing certain parts of the paper, or of
causing certain bodies to adhere to it momentarily,
is detected by an action similar to that which
shows paper to have lately been wetted by the contact
of liquids.

"3d. The heterogeneousness of the pulp of the
papers, and the kind of size with which they are
impregnated, lead to differences in the results
which are observed with the same chemical reagents.
We shall now examine each of these propositions,
and describe the means which we have
employed in endeavoring to solve questions of so
high a degree of interest.

"1st. The homogeneousness of sized paper not
partially altered by the contact of liquids (water,
alcohol, salt-water, vinegar, saliva, tears, urine,
acid salts, and alkaline salts) is demonstrated by
the uniform coloration which this surface takes on
being exposed, if not wholly, at least in various
parts, to the action of the vapor of iodine disengaged
at the ordinary temperature from a flask
containing a portion of the metalloid. When the
surface of paper not stained by any of the above
mentioned liquids is exposed to the action of this
vapor for three or four minutes in a room the temperature
of which is about 60 degrees F., a uniform yellowish,
or light-brownish yellow, coloration is noticed
on the whole extent exposed to the vapor of
iodine; in the contrary case, the surface which has
been moistened, and afterwards dried in the open
air, is perfectly distinguished by a different and
well circumscribed tint. On the papers into which
paste starch and resin have been introduced, the
stains present such delicate reactions that we may
sometimes distinguish by their color the portion of
paper which has been moistened with alcohol from
that which has been moistened with water. The
stain produced by alcohol takes a bistre-yellow
tint; that formed by water is colored of a more or
less deep violet blue, the desiccation having been
effected at the ordinary temperature. For the
stains occasioned on these same papers by other
aqueous liquids, the tint, apart from its intensity,
resembles that of the stains of pure water. The
feeble or dilute acids act like water on the surface
of the same paper containing starch in its paste;
but the concentrated mineral acids, by altering
more or less the substances which enter into the
composition of the latter, give test to the stains
which present differences. We are always able
to recognize by the action of the vapor of iodine
the parts of the paper which have been put in
contact with chemical agents, the energy of which
has been arrested by washing in cold water. We
are able, on several ancient deeds, written on
stamped paper, and a few words of which had
been removed by us with chemical agents, to
recognize the places where their action was exerted,
to see and to measure the extent which they occupied
on the surface of the paper.

"The testing of a paper with the vapor of
iodine will present this double advantage over the
methods hitherto practiced for detecting falsifications
in writings, that it points out at once the
place in the paper in which any alteration may be
suspected, and that, on the other hand, it enables
us to act afterwards with the reagents proper for
causing the reappearance of the traces of ink, when
that is possible. If the means which we now propose
cannot always make the former writing
appear, they demonstrate the places where the
alterations must have been made, when, however,
the want of uniformity presented by the surface
of the paper is not explained by any circumstance.
This proof becomes, therefore, a weapon which
the guilty person cannot avoid. But might not
the presence of a stain, or several stains, developed
by the vapor of iodine, in different parts of a public
or private deed, give rise to a suspicion, where
these stains have, perhaps, been occasioned by the
spilling of some liquid on the surface of the paper?
and would it not be rash and unjust to raise an
accusation from such a fact? There would indeed
be great temerity in drawing such a conclusion
from a fortuitous circumstance; but the inference
which may be drawn from the place occupied by
these stains on the surface of the paper, from the
more or less significant words found in those places,
would not permit an accusation to be so lightly
brought, where simple reasoning would be sufficient
to destroy its basis. Besides, the subsequent reactions
which would be made would certainly never
revive words formerly written and effaced; whilst
the latter effects may be often produced, more or
less visibly, on those parts of the paper on which
falsification has been practiced, figures or words
being substituted for other figures or words.

"2d. The applications made to the surface of
a sheet of paper, with a view of covering it again
at certain parts with a fine layer of gum, gelatine,
starch or flour paste, or in other places to cause
other sheets of paper to adhere, may be recognized
not only by the reflection of light falling upon the
paper inclined at a certain degree of obliquity, and
by the transmission of light through the paper,
but also by the varying action which the vapor of
iodine exerts on the surface which is not homogeneous.
Papers containing starch and resin are
more powerfully acted upon by this vapor than
papers of a less complex composition. Both in
the parts covered with starch, or paste flour, are
colored in a few minutes of a violet blue; but
with starched papers alone a more intense coloration
is manifest on the places covered again with a
thin layer of gum arabic, size or gelatine. By
looking, then, on the surface of the paper, held
somewhat obliquely to incidental light, we distinguish
clearly, by their different aspects, the parts
on which these various substances have been
applied. The vapor of iodine, in condensing at
the ordinary temperature on the surface of the
papers to which any kind of size has been applied
in various places, produces differences which are
most commonly well recognized by the greater or
less transparence of the paste of the paper.

3d. The heterogeneousness of the pulp of the
various papers of commerce, and the nature of
the size with which they are penetrated, cause
differences, either in the coloration which the surface
of these papers takes when exposed to the
vapor of iodine, or in the tint which is manifested
in the portions of the size deposited in certain
portions of that surface; thus, papers with starched
pulp generally turn brown, or blue, according to
the amount of water that remains in their interstices;
other papers turn yellow only under the
influence of the vapor of iodine, and the parts
which have received superficially a layer of another
agglutinative body resist this action for a certain
time, and are distinguished from the parts of the
paper which are not covered with it."

My own investigations confirm to a great extent
the value of these experiments and the accuracy of
the deductions, in so far as they relate to "linen"
paper; but they do not always obtain when made in
connection with paper of inferior grades.

It is also true that dry paper is affected differently
under the influence of the vapor of iodine, as would
be paper which had been moistened and then dried;
but the part which had been moist assumes the color
of blue-violet, while unaltered paper assumes a yellow-
brown color. Even when the paper thus treated is
moistened all over with water, there will be a difference,
for those parts which had been before moistened,
will appear a dark violet-blue, while the other parts
will show a plain blue coloration.

In cases where pencil writing has been removed
with a soft rubber or fresh bread, the parts thus
erased will assume, when subjected to iodine fumes, a
brown color trending towards violet and much darker
than the undisturbed portions of the paper. Lines
impressed upon paper with a "stylus," a glass or
ordinary dry pen, can be made visible by the fumes of
iodine, the lines showing with a stronger coloration
than the surrounding paper.




THE term "added color," as applied to ink, is the
popular phraseology for a multitude of materials
which have been more or less utilized for a period of
centuries, in adulterating and coloring ink. In olden
times they were introduced into ink with an honest
belief that it would also improve and ensure its lasting
qualities, but latterly more often to cheapen the
cost of its manufacture. Reference has been made
to a large variety of these substances used for this
purpose and the story told of the effect of the test of
time upon them as indicative of their supposed value.
Attention has also been directed to the discovery
during the nineteenth century of the colors which
owe their origin to by-products of coal tar.

Generically these colors are classified as "anilines."
They have worked a revolution in all the arts in
which colors are used. Employed without a mordant,
with few exceptions, they are measurably affected by
both light, heat, moisture, or other changes and as
made into inks are never permanent. Hence they
should not be used for records, because if obliterated
from any cause whatever, there are no known means
to render them again legible.

The origin and history of the "anilines" are
known. Viewed from an ink standpoint they are of
vast interest. So extended in number are the "anilines"
(they run into the thousands) that they include
every shade of black and all possible tints or hues of
the colors of the rainbow.

The chronological history of such of these artificial
colors which appertain to ink or its manufacture is
important as locating the dates of their invention
and commercial use.

The first discovery of "aniline" is credited to
Helot in 1750. In 1825 Faraday in rectifying naphtha
discovered benzole, which by the action of strong
nitric acid be converted into nitro-benzole; and this
latter, when agitated with water, acetic acid and iron
filings produced aniline. Unverdorben in 1826 discovered
an analogous material in products obtained
by the destructive distillation of indigo. Runge in
1834 claims to have detected it in coal tar and called
it kyanol, which after oxidation became an insoluble
black pigment and known as aniline black. It could
not, however, be used as an ink. Zinan in 1840,
experimenting along the same lines, produced another
compound terming it benzidam. Fritsche in the same
year by the distillation of indigo with caustic potash
developed a product which he also called aniline, the
name being derived from the Portuguese word anil,
meaning indigo. Shortly afterwards A. W. Hoffman
established the identity of these substances.

Aniline when pure is a colorless liquid, possessing
a rather ammoniacal odor. It soon becomes yellow
and yellow-brown under the influence of light and air.
It does not affect litmus paper.

In 1856 Perkins accidentally discovered the violet
dye called mauve, which acquired considerable commercial
importance besides its utility for ink purposes.

Nicholson in 1862 succeeded in producing the first
of the soluble blue anilines.

The discovery of induline, one of the modifications
of aniline black, was made known in 1864.

Nigrosine, produced by the action of concentrated
sulphuric acid on the insoluble indulines, was discovered
in 1868.

The soluble indulines and nigrosines differentiate in
appearance, the first a bronzy powder and the latter a
black lustrous powder. When made into ink they
possess about equal color values.

In 1870 the German chemists, Graebe and Liebermann,
announced that they had succeeded in producing
artificial alizarin,--the coloring matter of the
madder root. Commercial value was not given to
this discovery until it was put on the market in 1873,
although it did not meet all the requirements.

Springmuhl in 1873 obtained an accessory product
in the artificial manufacture of alizarin out of anthracene,
from which a beautiful blue was made, superior
in many respect to the aniline blues. It differed from
aniline in having the same color in solution. Alkalis
destroyed the color but acids restored it. The process
was kept a secret for a long time. This product was
originally sold as high as $1,500 for a single pound.

Caro, a German chemist, invented in 1874 the red
color known as eosine, which was brought to this
country in the following year and sold for $125 per
pound. Its color is destroyed by acids.

Orchil or archil (the red color) was discovered in
1879. The commercial use of the so-called "orchil
substitutes" (purples) began, however, in the years
1885 and 1887.

Artificial indigo, as the result of many years of
experimenting, came into commercial use under the
name of "indigo pure" only in 1897. It had previously
been produced synthetically in a variety of
ways, but the cost of the production was far above
that of the natural product. Baeyer and Emmerling
in 1870, Suida in 1878, Baeyer in 1878, Baeyer and
Drewsen in 1882, and Heumann in 1890, can be said
to have been the pioneers in the production of artificial

The intensity of some of the aniline colors may be
indicated by the fact that a single grain of eosine in
ten millions of water exhibits a definite rose-pink

It is asserted that in the last three years many
improvements have been made in the permanent qualities
of some of the soluble anilines, but no material
which is soluble in plain water should ever be employed
as an ink for record purposes.

Preceding the discovery of the "anilines," as already
related, other substances had been employed
for "added" color in the admixture of ink, principally
madder, Brazil wood, indigo, and logwood.

Only a casual reference has heretofore been made
to Brazil wood and logwood.

Brazil wood, also called peach wood, is imported
from Brazil. Its employment as a dyestuff is known
to be of great antiquity, antedating considerably the
discovery of South America. Bancroft states, "The
name 'Brazil' was given to the country on account
of the extensive forests of the already well-known
'Brazil wood,' which was found by its Portuguese
discoverers. The dyestuff thus gave its name to the
country from which it was afterwards principally
obtained. The word 'Brazil' appears to have been
originally used to designate a bright red or flame
color. Thus in a contract between the cities of Bologna
and Ferrara, in 1194, the dyestuff kermez is
referred to as grana de Brazile and Brazil wood, both
dyestuffs at that time being obtained from India."
For "added" color to ink and alone it was much
used in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Logwood, employed more extensively for "added"
color than any other color compound, was introduced
into Europe by the Spaniards, A. D. 1502. In England
it does not appear to have been much used until
about 1575. In 1581 the Parliament prohibited its
use "because the colours produced from it were of a
fugacious character." Its use was legalized in 1673
by an act, the preamble of which reads, "The ingenious
industry of modern times hath taught the
dyers of England the art of fixing, the colours made
of logwood, alias blackwood, so as that, by experience,
they are found as lasting as the colours made
with any sort of dyeing wood whatever." It is obtained
principally from the Campeachy tree, which
grows in the West Indies and South America.

The practical utility of logwood as the base for an
ink was a discovery of Runge in 1848, who found
that a dilute solution of its coloring matter, to which
had been added a small quantity of neutral chromate
of potassium, produced a deep black liquid which apparently
remained clear and did not deposit any sediment.
This composition became very popular on
account of its cheapness and dark purple color. It
is of a fugitive character, though, and has passed almost
entirely out of commercial use.




INNUMERABLE receipts and directions for making
inks of every kind, color and quality are to be found
distributed in books more or less devoted to such subjects,
in the encyclopaedias, chemistries, and other scientific
publications. If assembled together they would
occupy hundreds of pages. Those cited are exemplars
indicating the trend of ideas belonging to different
nations, epochs, and the diversity of materials. They
can also be considered as object lessons which conclusively
demonstrate the dissatisfaction always existing
in respect to the constitution and modes of ink admixture.
Many of them are curious and are reproduced
without any amendments.

"Indian ink is a black pigment brought hither
from China, which on being rubbed with water,
dissolves; and forms a substance resembling ink;
but of a consistence extremely well adapted to the
working with a pencil-brush, on which account it
is not only much used as a black colour in miniature
painting; but is the black now generally made
use of for all smaller drawings in chiaro obscuro
(or where the effect is to be produced from light
and shade only).

"The preparation of Indian ink, as well as of
the other compositions used by the Chinese as
paints, is not hitherto revealed on any good authority;
but it appears clearly from experiments
to be the coal of fish bones, or some other vegetable
substance, mixed with isinglass size, or other
size; and most probably, honey or sugar candy to
prevent its cracking. A substance, therefore, much
of the same nature, and applicable to the same
purposes, may be formed in the following manner.

"Take of isinglass six ounces, reduce it to a
size, by dissolving it over the fire in double its
weight of water. Take then of Spanish liquorice
one ounce; and dissolve it also in double its weight
of water; and grind up with it an ounce of ivory
black. Add this mixture to the size while hot;
and stir the whole together till all the ingredients
be thoroughly incorporated. Then evaporate away
the water in baleno mariae, and cast the remaining
composition into leaden molds greased; or make
it up in any other form."

"The colour of this composition will be equally
good with that of the Indian ink: the isinglass
size, mixt with the colours, works with the pencil
equally well with the Indian ink; and the Spanish
liquorice will both render it easily dissolvable on
the rubbing with water, to which the isinglass alone
is somewhat reluctant; and also prevent its cracking
and peeling off from the ground on which it is
 *   *    *    *    *    *    *

There is found in small currents near the Baltick
Sea, in the Dutchy of Prussia a certain coagulated
bitumen, which, because it seems to be a juice
of the earth is called succinum; and carabe, because
it will attract straws; it is likewise called electrum,
glessum, anthra citrina, vulgarly yellow amber.

"This bitumen being soft and viscous, several
little animals, such as flies, and ants, do stick to it,
and are buried in it.

"Amber is of different colours, such as white,
yellow and black.

"The white is held in greatest esteem in physick,
tho' it be opacous; when it is rubbed against anything,
it is odoriferous, and it yields more volatile
salt than the rest. The yellow, is transparent and
pleasant to the eye, wherefore beads, necklaces,
and other little conceits are made of it. It is also
esteemed medicinal, and it yieldeth much oil.

"The black is of least use of all. (Sometimes
used by the ancients in making ink.)

"Some do think that petroleum, or Oil of Peter,
is a liquor drawn from amber, by the means of subterrenean
fires, which make a distillation of it, and
that jet, and coals are the remainders of this distillation.

"This opinion would have probability enough in
it, if the places, from whence this sort of drogues
does come, were not so far asunder the one from
the other; f or petroleum is not commonly found but
in Italy, in Sicily, and Provence. This oil distils
through the clefts of rocks, and it is very likely to
be the oil of some bitumen, which the subterranean
fires have raised."
 *   *    *    *    *    *    *

There are various processes for obtaining gallic
acid, one of which is to moisten the bruised
galls and expose them for four or five weeks to a
temperature of 80 degrees Fahr.; by which a mouldy
paste is formed, which is pressed dry and then digested
in boiling water, which after evaporation
yields the acid, and mixed with the solution of
green copperas, makes the, ink. A quicker process,
however, is to put the bruised galls into a cylindrical
copper of a depth equal to its diameter, and
boil them in nine gallons of water--taking care to
replace the water lost by evaporation. The decoction
to be emptied into a tub, allowed to settle,
and the clear liquid being drawn off, the lees are
emptied into another tub to be drained. The green
copperas must be separately dissolved in water,
and then mixed with the decoction of the galls. A
precipitate is then formed in the state of a fine
black powder, the subsidence of which is prevented
by the addition of the gum, which, separately dissolved
in a small quantity of hot water, combines
with the clear black liquid. Besides its effect in
keeping the fine insoluble particles in suspension,
the gum mucilage improves the body of the ink,
prevents its spreading or sinking too much into
the paper in writing, and also acts beneficially by
forming a sort of compact varnish in it, which
tends to preserve its colour, and shield it from the
action of the air. If, however, too much mucilage
is used, the ink flows badly from quill pens, and
still more so from steel pens, which require a very
limpid ink. The addition of sugar increases the
fluidity of ink, and permits the quantity of gum to
be increased over what it would bear without it;
but, on the other hand, it causes it to dry more
slowly, and besides it frequently passes into vinegar,
when it acts injuriously on the pens. The dark-
coloured galls, known as the blue Aleppo ones, are
said by Ribaucourt, and others who have given
much attention to the ingredients for ink-making
to be the best for that purpose, and they are
generally used by the best makers.

"From their high price, however, and that of
galls generally, sumach, logwood, and even oak
bark are too frequently substituted in the manufacture
of inks, but it need scarcely be said always
injuriously. Ink made according to the receipt
given above is much more rich and powerful than
many of those commonly made. To reduce it to
their standard one half more water may be safely
added; or even twenty gallons of tolerable ink may
be made from the same weight of materials.
Sumach and logwood admit of only about one-half
or less of the green copperas that galls will take,
to bring out the maximum amount of black colour.
The colour of black ink gradually darkens in
consequence of the peroxidation of the iron in it on
exposure to the air, but it affords a more durable
writing when used pale; its particles being then
finer, penetrate the paper more intimately, and on
its oxidation is mordanted into it. It is advisable
so soon as the ink has acquired a moderately deep
tint, to draw it off clear into bottles and cork them

"According to the most accurate experiments
on the preparation of black writing inks, it appears
that the proportion of the green copperas ought to
be, and not to exceed, a third of the decoction of
galls used; but the proportions used vary according
to the practical experience of ink-makers, who
have all receipts of their own, which they deem
best, and, of course, keep secret. In the precipitate
an excess of colouring matter, which is necessary
for its durability, is preserved in it. The
blue galls alone ought to be employed in making
the best quality of black ink. Logwood is a useful.
ingredient, because its colouring matter unites
with the sulphate of iron and renders it not only of
a very dark colour, but also less capable of change
from the action of acids or of the atmosphere.
Many attempts have been made by amateurs to
make a good permanent black ink. A good story
is told of Professor Traill. He had succeeded,
after a long series of experiments, in producing an
ink which he deemed to be in all respects A 1,
and which resisted the action of all acids and
alkalies alike. The pleased savant sent samples
of it for trial to several banks and schools, where
it gave general satisfaction; but, alas, an experimenting
scribbler, thoughtlessly or otherwise, applied
a simple test undreamt of by the Professor,
and with a wet sponge completely washed off his
'indelible,' and thereby finished his career as an
amateur ink-maker!"
 *   *    *    *    *    *    *

"Nicholson, in his Dictionary of Chemistry, an
old but valuable work, says that Ribaucourt found
vitriol of copper, in a certain proportion, to give
depth and firmness to the colour of black ink;
but, from whatever cause, this has not taken a
place among the commonly-used ink-making ingredients--
probably because it acts injuriously on
steel pens."
 *   *    *    *    *    *    *

"A quart of rain Wate. 3 Ounces of Blue
Knolly Gawalls. Bruise ym it must stand & be
stirred 3 or 4 times in ym Day & then Strain out
out all ye gawells all ten Days and 2 Ounces of
Clear Gummary Beck & 1/2 an Ounce of Coperous
1/2 an Ounce of Rock Alum half an Ounce
of Loafe sugar ye Bigness of a Hoarsel nut of
Roman Vitterall Bray ym all small Before they be
put in it must be stirred very well for ye space of
two weeks.

"A receit forink.--1727

"William Satherwaite."

(The above receipt is a literal copy of the original,
now in my possession. It purports to have been
written with the mixture it specifies.)
 *   *    *    *    *    *    *

"M. de Champnor and M. F. Malepeyre, 1862,
in their Mannel state that Ribaucourt's ink is one
of the best then in use. The formula for its preparation
is as follows:

Aleppo galls, in coarse powder,    8 ounces.
Logwood chips,                     4    "
Sulphate of iron,                  4    "
Powdered gum-arabic,               3    "
Sulphate of copper,                1    "
Crystallized sugar,                1    "

Boil the galls of logwood together in twelve pounds
of water for an hour, or till half the water has
been evaporated; strain the decoction through a
hair sieve, and add the other ingredients; stir till
the whole, especially the gum, be dissolved; and
then leave at rest for twenty-four hours, when the
ink is to be poured off into glass bottles and
carefully corked.
 *   *    *    *    *    *    *

"Mr. J. Horsley gives the following receipt:
Triturate in a mortar thirty-six grains of gallic
acid with three and one-half ounces of strong decoction
of logwood, put it into an eight ounce
bottle, together with one ounce of strong ammonia.
Next dissolve one ounce of sulphate of iron in
half an ounce of distilled water by the aid of heat;
mix the solutions together by a few minutes'
agitation, when a good ink will be formed, perfectly
clear, which will keep good any length of time
without depositing, thickening, or growing mouldy,
which latter quality is a great desideratum, as ink
undergoing that change becomes worthless. It
will not do to mix with ordinary ink, nor must
greasy paper be used for writing on with it."--
Chemical News (1862).
 *   *    *    *    *    *    *

"New Indelible Marking Ink.--Dr. Elsner gives
the following as a stamping ink for goods before
undergoing bleaching, or treating with acids or
alkalis. It consists merely of one ounce of fine
Chinese vermilion and one drachm of protosulphate
of iron, well triturated with boiled oil varnish."
 *   *    *    *    *    *    *    *

"Put Aleppo galls, well bruised, 4 1/2 oz. and
logwood chipped, 1 oz. with 3 pints soft water, into
a stoneware mug: slowly boil, until one quart remains:
add, well powdered, the pure green crystals
of sulphate of iron, 2 1/2 oz. blue vitriol or verdigris,
(I think the latter better) 1/2 oz. gum arabic
2 oz. and brown sugar, 2 oz. Shake it occasionally
a week after making: then after standing a
day, decant and cork. To prevent moulding add
a little brandy or alcohol.

"The common copperas will not answer so well
as it has already absorbed oxygen."
 *   *    *    *    *    *    *

"Pour a gallon of boiling soft water on a pound
of powdered galls, previously put into a proper
vessel. Stop the month of the vessel, and set it in
the sun in summer, or in winter where it may be
warmed by any fire, and let it stand two or three
days. Then add half a pound of green vitriol
powdered, and having stirred the mixture well together
with a wooden spatula, let it stand again
for two or three days, repeating the stirring, when
add further to it 5 ounces of gum arabic dissolved
in a quart of boiling water, and lastly, 2 ounces of
alum, after which let the ink be strained through a
coarse linen cloth for use.

"Another. A good and durable ink may be
made by the following directions: To 2 pints of
water add 3 ounces of the dark coloured rough-
skinned Aleppo galls in gross powder, and of
rasped logwood, green vitriol, and gum arabic,
each, 1 oz.

"This mixture is to be put into a convenient
vessel, and well shaken four or five time a day, for
ten or twelve days, at the end of which time it will
be fit for use, though it will improve by remaining
longer on the ingredients. Vinegar instead of
water makes a deeper coloured ink; but its action
on pens soon spoils them."
 *   *    *    *    *    *    *    *

"Beat up well together in an iron mortar the
following ingredients in a dry state; viz. 8 oz. of
best blue gall-nuts, 4 oz. of copperas, or sulphate
of iron, 2 oz. of clear gum arabic, and 3 pints of
clear rain water.

"When properly powdered, put to the above;
let the whole be shaken in a stone bottle three or
four times a day, for seven days, and at the end
of that time, pour the liquid off gently into another
stone bottle, which place in an airy situation
to prevent it from becoming foul or mothery.
When used put the liquid into the ink-stand as required."

Take 6 quarts (beer measure) of clear water,
soft or hard, and boil in it for about an hour 4 oz.
of the best Campeachy logwood, chipped very thin
across the grain, adding, from time to time, boiling
water to supply in part the loss by evaporation;
strain the liquor while hot, and suffer it to
cool. If the liquor is then short of 5 quarts, make
it equal to this quantity by the addition of cold
water. After which let 1 lb. of bruised blue galls,
or 20 oz. of the best common galls, be added. Let
a paste be prepared by triturating 4 oz. of sulphate
of iron (green vitriol) calcined to whiteness, and
let half an ounce of acetite of copper (verdigris)
be well incorporated together with the above decoction
into a mass, throwing in also 3 oz. of coarse
brown sugar and 6 oz. of gum Senegal, or Arabic.
Put the materials into a stone bottle of such a size
as to half fill it; let the mouth be left open, and
shake the bottle well, twice or thrice a day. In
about a fortnight it may be filled, and kept in well-
stopped bottles for use. It requires to be protected
from the frost, which would considerably
injure it."

Infuse a pound of pomegranate peels, broken
to a gross powder, for 24 hours in a gallon and a
half of water, and afterwards boil the mixture till
1-3d of the fluid be wasted. Then add to it 1 lb.
of Roman vitriol, and 4 oz. of gum arabic powdered,
and continue the boiling till the vitriol and
gum be dissolved, after which the ink must be
strained through a coarse linen cloth, when it will
be fit for use.

"This ink is somewhat more expensive, and yet
not so good in hue as that made by the general
method, but the colour which it has is not liable to
vanish or fade in any length of time."
 *   *    *    *    *    *    *    *

"Infuse a pound of galls powdered and 3 ounces
of pomegranate peels, in a gallon of soft water for
a week, in a gentle heat, and then strain off the
fluid through a coarse linen cloth. Then add to it
8 oz. of vitriol dissolved in a quart of water, and
let them remain for a day or two, preparing in the
meantime a decoction of logwood, by boiling a
pound of the chips in a gallon of water, till 1-3d
be wasted, and then straining the remaining fluid
while it is hot. Mix the decoction and the solution
of galls and vitriol together, and add 5 oz. of gum
arabic, and then evaporate the mixture over a common
fire to about 2 quarts, when the remainder
must be put into a vessel proper for that purpose,
and reduced to dryness, by hanging the vessel in
boiling water. The mass left, after the fluid has
wholly exhaled, must be well powdered, and when
wanted for use, may be converted into ink by the
addition of water."
 *   *    *    *    *    *    *    *

"Ten parts of logwood are to be exhausted with
eighty of boiling water. To the solution one thousandth
of its weight of yellow chromate of potash
is to be added gradually. The liquid turns
brown and at last blue-black. No gum is needed,
and the ink is not removed by soaking in water.
--Chemical Gazette, London (1850)."
 *   *    *    *    *    *    *    *

"Shellac, 2 oz.; borax, 1 oz.; distilled or rain
water, 18 oz. Boil the whole in a closely covered
tin vessel, stirring it occasionally with a glass rod
until the mixture has become homogeneous; filter
when cold, and mix the fluid solution with an ounce
of mucilage or gum arabic prepared by dissolving
1 oz. of gum in 2 oz. of water, and add pulverized indigo
and lampblack ad libitum. Boil the whole
again in a covered vessel, and stir the fluid well to
effect the complete solution and admixture of the
gum arabic. Stir it occasionally while it is cooling;
and after it has remained undisturbed for two
or three hours, that the excess of indigo and lamp-
black may subside, bottle it for use. The above
ink for documentary purposes is invaluable, being
under all ordinary circumstances, indestructible.
It is also particularly well adapted for the use of
the laboratory. Five drops of creosote added to a
pint of ordinary ink will effectually prevent its becoming
 *   *    *    *    *    *    *    *

"In November, 1854, Mr. Grace Calvert read a
paper before the London Society of Arts in which
he said that he hoped before long some valuable
dyeing substances other than carbo-azotic acid
would be prepared from coal tar.

"In another paper read before the same society
in 1858 he said: 'This expectation has now been
fulfilled. Messrs. Perkins and Church have obtained
several blue coloring substances from the
alkaloids of coal tar, and one from naphthalene.'
Also that himself and Mr. Charles Lowe had succeeded
in obtaining coal tar products yielding colors
of a beautiful pink, red, violet, purple, and
chocolate. (These were not soluble in water)."
 *   *    *    *    *    *    *    *

"Among vegetable substances useful in the arts
is one that has long been known in New Grenada
under the name of the ink-plant, as furnishing a
juice which can be used in writing without previous
preparation. Characters traced with this substance
have a reddish color at first, which turns to a deep
black in a few hours. This juice is said to be
really less liable to thicken than ordinary ink, and
not to corrode steel pens. It resists the action of
water, and is practically indelible. The plant is
known as coryaria thymifolia."
 *   *    *    *    *    *    *    *

"Desormeaux recommends that the sulphate of
iron be calcined to whiteness; coarse brown sugar
instead of sugar candy; 1/4 oz. acetate of copper,
instead of one ounce of the sulphate, and a drop
or two of creosote or essential oil of cloves to prevent
moulding." (See Ribaucourt receipt, p. 194.)
 *   *    *    *    *    *    *    *

"Mr. John Spiller communicated to the London
Chemical News (1861) a paper on the employment
of carbon as a means of permanent record. The
imperishable nature of carbon, in its various forms
of lamp-black, ivory-black, wood-charcoal, and
graphite or black lead, holds out much greater
promise of being usefully employed in the manufacture
of a permanent writing material; since, for
this substance, in its elementary condition and at
ordinary temperatures, there exists no solvent nor
chemical reagent capable of affecting its alteration.

"The suggestion relative to the mode of applying
carbon to these purposes, which it is intended
more particularly now to enunciate, depends on
the fact of the separation of carbon from organic
compounds rich in that element, sugar, gum, etc.,
by the combined operation of heat and of chemical
reagents, such as sulphuric and phosphoric acids,
which exert a decomposing action in the same
direction; and by such means to effect the deposition
of the carbon within the pores of the
paper by a process of development to be performed
after the fluid writing ink has been to a certain
extent absorbed into its substance--a system of
formation by which a considerable amount of resistance,
both to chemical and external influences,
appears to be secured. An ink of the following
composition has been made the subject of experiment:
     "Concentrated sulphuric acid,
     deeply colored with indigo .......... 1 fluid ounce.
     Water, .............................. 6   "    "
     Loaf Sugar,.......................... 1 ounce, troy.
     Strong mucilage of gum-arabic
                    2 to 3 fluid ounces.

"Writing traced with a quill or gold pen dipped
in this ink dries to a pale blue color; but if now a
heated iron be passed over its surface, or the page
of manuscript be held near a fire, the writing will
quickly assume a jet black appearance, resulting
from the carbonization of the sugar by a warm
acid, and will have become so firmly engrafted
into the substance of the paper as to oppose considerable
difficulty to its removal or erasure by a
knife. On account of the depth to which the
written characters usually penetrate, the sheets of
paper selected for use should be of the thickest
make, and good white cartridge paper, or that
known as 'cream laid,' preferred to such as are
colored blue with ultramarine; for, in the latter
case, a bleached halo is frequently perceptible
around the outlines of the letters, indicating the
partial destruction of the coloring matter by the
lateral action of the acid.

"The writing produced in this manner seems indelible;
it resists the action of "salts of lemon,"
and of oxalic, tartaric, and diluted hydrochloric
acids, agents which render nearly illegible the traces
of ordinary black writing ink; neither do alkaline
solutions exert any appreciable action on the carbon
ink. This material possesses, therefore, many
advantageous qualities which would recommend its
adoption in cases where the question of permanence
is of paramount importance. But it must, on the
other hand, be allowed that such an ink, in its
present form, would but inefficiently fulfil many of
the requirements necessary to bring it into common
use. The peculiar method of development rendering
the application of heat imperative, and that of
a temperature somewhat above the boiling point of
water, together with the circumstance that it will
be found impossible with a thin sheet of paper to
write on both sides, must certainly be counted
among its more prominent disadvantages."
 *   *    *    *    *    *    *    *

"Fire-proof ink for writing or printing on
incombustible paper is made according to the following
recipe: Graphite, finely ground, 22 drams;
copal or other resinous gum, 12 grains; sulphate
of iron, 2 drams; tincture of nutgalls, 2 drams;
and sulphate of indigo, 8 drams. These substances
are thoroughly mixed and boiled in water,
and the ink thus obtained is said to be both fire-
proof and insoluble in water. When any other
color but black is desired, the graphite is replaced
by an earthly mineral pigment of the desired color."
 *   *    *    *    *    *    *    *

"Ineradicable Writing.--A French technical
paper, specially devoted to the art and science of
paper manufacture, states that any alterations or
falsifications of writings in ordinary ink maybe rendered
impossible by passing the paper upon which
it is intended to write through a solution of one milligram
(0.01543 English grain) of gallic acid in as
much pure distilled water as will fill to a moderate
depth an ordinary soup-plate. After the paper thus
prepared has become thoroughly dry, it may be
used as ordinary paper for writing, but any attempt
made to alter, falsify, or change anything written
thereon, will be left perfectly visible, and may thus
be readily detected."
 *   *    *    *    *    *    *    *

"Exchequer Ink.--To 40 pounds of galls, add
10 pounds of gum, 9 pounds of copperas, and 45
gallons of soft water. This ink will endure for
 *   *    *    *    *    *    *    *

"Take of oil of lavender, 120 grains, of copal
in powder, 17 grains, red sulphuret of mercury, 60
grains. The oil of lavender being dissipated with
a gentle heat, a colour will be left on the paper
surrounded with the copal; a substance insoluble
in water, spirits, acids, or alkaline solutions.

"This composition possesses a permanent colour,
and a MSS. written with it, may be exposed to the
process commonly used for restoring the colour of
printed books, without injury to the writing. In
this manner interpolations with common ink may
be removed."
 *   *    *    *    *    *    *    *

Boil parchment slips or cuttings of glove
leather, in water till it forms a size, which, when
cool, becomes of the consistence of jelly, then,
having blackened an earthern plate, by holding it
over the flame of a candle, mix up with a camel
hair pencil, the fine lamp-black thus obtained, with
some of the above size, while the plate is still
warm. This black requires no grinding, and produces
an ink of the same colour, which works as
fregy with the pencil, and is as perfectly
transparent as the best Indian ink."
 *   *    *    *    *    *    *    *

"Instead of water use brandy, with the same
ingredients which enter into the composition of
any ink, and it will never freeze."
 *   *    *    *    *    *    *    *

"Bacteria in Ink--According to experiments
which have recently been completed at Berlin and
Leipzig by the leading bacteriologists of Germany
the ordinary inks literally teem with bacilla of a
dangerous character, the bacteria taken therefrom
sufficing to kill mice and rabbits inoculated therewith
in the space of from one to three days."
 *   *    *    *    *    *    *    *

"The most easy and neat method of forming
letters of gold on paper, and for ornaments of
writing is, by the gold ammoniac, as it was formerly
called: the method of managing which is as

"Take gum ammoniacum, and powder it; and
then dissolve it in water previously impregnated
with a little gum arabic, and some juice of garlic.
The gum ammoniacum will not dissolve in water,
so as to form a transparent fluid, but produces a
milky appearance; from whence the mixture is
called in medicine the lac ammoniacum. With the
lac ammoniacum thus prepared, draw with a pencil,
or write with a pen on paper, or vellum, the
intended figure or letters of the gilding. Suffer the
paper to dry; and then, or any time afterwards,
breath on it till it be moistened; and immediately
lay leaves of gold, or parts of leaves cut in the
most advantageous manner to save the gold, over
the parts drawn or written upon with the lac
ammoniacum; and press them gently to the paper
with a ball of cotton or soft leather. When the
paper becomes dry, which a short time or gentle
heat will soon effect, brush off, with a soft pencil,
or rub off by a fine linen rag, the redundant gold
which covered the parts between the lines of the
drawing or writing; and the finest hair strokes of
the pencil or pen, as well as the broader, will appear
perfectly gilt."

It is usual to see in old manuscripts, that are highly
ornamented, letters of gold which rise considerably
from the surface of the paper or parchment containing
them in the manner of embossed work; and of these
some are less shining, and others have a very high
polish. The method of producing these letters is of
two kinds; the one by friction on a proper body with
a solid piece of gold: the other by leaf gold. The
method of making these letters by means of solid gold
is as follows:

"Take chrystal; and reduce it to powder. Temper
it then with strong gum water, till it be of the
consistence of paste; and with this form the letters;
and, when they are dry, rub them with a
piece of gold of good colour, as in the manner of
polishing; and the letters will appear as if gilt with
burnisht gold."

(Kunckel, in his fifty curious experiments, has given
this receipt, but omitted to take the least notice of
the manner these letters are to be formed, though
the most difficult circumstance in the production of




THE consideration of the effect of the use of ink
upon civilization from primitive times to the present,
as we have seen, offers a most suggestive field and
certifies to the importance of the manufacture of honest
inks as necessary to the future enlightenment of
society. That it has not been fully understood or
even appreciated goes without saying; a proper generalization
becomes possible only in the light of corroborative
data and the experiences of the many.

History has not given us the names of ancient ink
makers; but we can believe there must have been
during a period of thousands of years a great many,
and that the kinds and varieties of inks were without
number. Those inks which remain to us are to be
found only as written with on ancient MSS.; they
are of but few kinds, and in composition and appearance
preserve a phenomenal identity, though belonging
to countries and epochs widely separated. This
identity leads to the further conclusion that ink making
must have been an industry at certain periods,
overlooked by careful compounders who distributed
their wares over a vast territory.

"Gall" ink and "linen" paper as already stated are
Asiatic inventions. Both of them seem to have entered
Europe by way of Arabia, "hand in hand" at the very
end of the eleventh or beginning of the twelfth centuries
and for the next two hundred years, notwithstanding
the fact that chemistry was almost an unknown science
and the secrets of the alchemists known only to the
few, this combination gradually came into general

In the fourteenth century we find one or both of
them more or less substituted for "Indian" ink, parchment,
vellum and "cotton" paper. It was, however,
the monks and scribes who manufactured for their
own and assistants' use "gall" ink, just as they had
been in the habit of preparing "Indian" ink when
required, which so far as known was not always a

As an industry it can be said to have definitely
begun when the French government recognized the
necessity for one, A. D. 1625, by giving a contract
for "a great quantity of 'gall ink' to Guyot," who
for this reason seems to occupy the unique position
of the father of the modern ink industry.

Ink manufacture as a growing industry heretofore
and to a large extent at present, occupies a peculiarly
anomalous situation. Other industries follow the law
of evolution which may perhaps bear criticism; but
the ink industry follows none, nor does it even pretend
to possess any.

Thousands are engaged in its pursuit, few of whom
understand either ink chemistry or ink phenomena.
The consumer knows still less, and with blind confidence
placidly accepts nondescript compounds labeled
"Ink," whether purchased at depots or from "combined"
itinerant manufacturing peddlers and with
them write or sign documents which some day may
disturb millions of property. And yet in a comparative
sense it has outpaced all other industries.

With the commencement of the eighteenth century
we find the industry settling in Dresden, Chemnitz,
Amsterdam, Berlin, Elberfield and Cologne. Still
later in London, Vienna, Paris, Edinburgh and Dublin,
and in the first half of the nineteenth century in
the United States, it had begun to make considerable

Among the first pioneers of the later modern ink
industry abroad, may be mentioned the names of
Stephens, Arnold, Blackwood, Ribaucourt, Stark,
Lewis, Runge, Leonhardi, Gafford, Bottger, Lipowitz,
Geissler, Jahn, Van Moos, Ure, Schmidt, Haenle, Elsner,
Bossin, Kindt, Trialle, Morrell, Cochrane, Antoine,
Faber, Waterlous, Tarling, Hyde, Thacker, Mordan,
Featherstone, Maurin, Triest and Draper.

In the period covered by the nineteenth century
at home, the legitimate industry included over 300
ink makers. Those best known are Davids, Maynard
and Noyes, Carter, Underwood, Stafford, Moore, Davis,
Thomas, Sanford, Barnes, Morrell, Walkden, Lyons,
Freeman, Murray, Todd, Bonney, Pomeroy, Worthington,
Joy, Blair, Cross, Dunlap, Higgins, Paul, Anderson,
Woodmansee, Delang, Allen, Stearns, Gobel, Wallach,
Bartram, Ford and Harrison.

The ink phenomena included in the past eighty
years has demonstrated a continuing retrogression in
ink manufacture and a consequent deterioration of
necessary ink qualities. When the attention of some
ink makers are addressed to these sad facts, they
attribute them, either to the demand of the public
for an agreeable color and a free flowing ink, or to an
inability to compete with inferior substitutes, which
have flooded the market since the discovery of the
coal tar colors; they have been compelled to depart
from old and tried formulas, in the extravagant use
(misuse) of the so-called "added" color.

An exceptional few of the older firms continue to
catalogue unadulterated "gall" inks; but the demand
for them except in localities where the law
COMPELS their employment, is only little.

Interesting deductions can be made from the accompanying
brief sketches of the leading ink manufacturers
of the world.

The "Arnold" brand of inks possesses a worldwide
reputation, although not always known by that
name, beginning A. D. 1724 under the style of R.
Ford, and continuing until 1772, when the firm name
was changed to William Green & Co. In 1809 it became
J. & J. Arnold, who were succeeded in 1814 by
Pichard and John Arnold, the firm name by which it
is known at the present day. This last named concern
located at 59 Barbican, on the site of the old
City Hall in London, and later moved to their present
address, No. 155 Aldersgate street. The inks made
by the "fathers" of the firm were "gall" inks WITHOUT
"added" color. At the commencement of the nineteenth
century we find them making tanno-gallate of
iron inks to which were added extractive matter from
logwood and other materials to form thick fluids for
shipment to Brazil, India and the countries where
brushes or reeds were used as writing instruments.
For the more civilized portions of the world similar
inks but of an increased fluidity were supplied, that
the quill pens might be employed. The demands for
still more fluid inks which would permit the use of
steel pens, resulted in the modern blue-black chemical
writing fluid, the "added" blue portion being
indigo in some form. It was first put on the market
in 1830. They manufacture over thirty varieties of
ink, but only one real "gall" ink without "added" color.

In the early part of May, 1824, Thaddeus Davids
started his ink factory at No. 222 William street,
New York City. His first and best effort was a
strictly pure tanno-gallate of iron ink, which he
placed on the market in 1827 under the name of
"Steel Pen Ink," guaranteed to write black and to
possess "record" qualities. In 1833 he made innovations
following the lines laid down by Arnold and
also commenced the manufacture of a chemical writing
fluid, with indigo for "added" color. Many
more "added" colors were employed at different
periods, like logwood and fustic, with the incorporation
of sugar, glucose, etc. In the early fifties the
cheap grades of logwood ink after the formula of
Runge (1848) and which cost about four cents per
gallon was marketed, principally for school purposes;
it was never satisfactory, becoming thick and "color
fading." Mr. Davids made many experiments with
"alizarin" inks in the early sixties but did not
consider them valuable enough to put on the market.
In 1875 the firm introduced violet ink made from the
aniline color of that name. Experimentations in 1878
with the insoluble aniline blacks and vanadium were
unsuccessful; but the soluble aniline black (blue-
black) known as nigrosine they used and still use in
various combinations. During this long period their
establishments have been in different locations. From
No. 222 William street it was changed to Eighth
street, with the office at No. 26 Cliff street. In 1854
the works were removed to New Rochelle, Westchester
county, N. Y. In 1856 the firm name was
Thaddeus Davids and Co., Mr. George Davids having
been admitted as a partner and their warehouse and
offices at this time were located at Nos. 127 and 129
William street, where a business of enormous proportions,
which includes the manufacture of thirty-three
inks and other products, is still carried on at the
present day under the name and style of "Thaddeus
Davids, Co." The old "Davids' Steel Pen Ink" continues
to be manufactured from the original formula
and is the only tanno-gallate of iron ink they make,
WITHOUT "added" color.

The Paris house of "Antoine" as manufacturers of
writing inks dates from 1840. They are best known
as the makers of the French copying ink, of a violet-
black color, made from logwood, which was first put
on the market in 1853 under the name of Encres
Japonaise. In 1860 an agency was established in
New York City. They make a large variety of writing
inks but do not offer for sale a tanno-gallate of
iron ink without "added" color.

"Carter's" inks came into notoriety in 1861, by the
introduction of a "combined writing and copying
ink," of the gall and iron type and included "added "
color. It was the first innovation of this character.
At the end of the Civil War, John W. Carter of Boston,
who had been an officer of the regular army,
purchased an interest in the business, associating with
himself Mr. J. P. Dinsmore of New York, the firm
being known as Carter, Dinsmore & Co., Boston, Mass.
In 1895 Mr. Carter died and Mr. Dinsmore retired
from the business. The firm was then incorporated
under the style of "The Carter's Ink Co." They do
an immense business and make all kinds of ink. Of
the logwoods, "Raven Black" is best known. When
the state of Massachusetts in 1894 decided that recording
officers must use a "gall" ink made after an
official formula, they competed with other manufacturers
for the privilege of supplying such an ink and
won it. They do not offer for sale, however, "gall"
ink WITHOUT added color. Their laboratories are
magnificently equipped; the writer has had the pleasure
of collaborating with several of their expert chemists.

The "Fabers," who date back to the year 1761, are
known all over the world as lead pencil makers. They
also manufacture many inks and have done so since
1881, when they built now factories at Noisy-le-Sac,
near Paris. Blue-black and violet-black writing and
copying inks of the class made by the "Antoines"
are the principal kinds. They do not offer for sale,
tanno-gallate of iron ink without "added" color. A
branch house in New York City has remained since

"Stafford's" violet combined writing and copying
ink was first placed on the New York market in
1869, though it was in 1858 that Mr. S. S. Stafford,
the founder of the house, began the manufacture of
inks, which he has continued to do to the present
day. His chemical writing fluids are very popular,
but he does not make a tanno-gallate of iron ink
without "added" color, for the trade.

Charles M. Higgins of Brooklyn, N. Y., in 1880
commenced the manufacture of "carbon" inks for
engrossing, architectural and engineering purposes,
and has succeeded in producing an excellent liquid
"Indian" ink, which will not lose its consistency
if kept from the air. It can also be used as a writing
ink, if thinned down with water. He does not
make a tanno-gallate of iron ink without "added"

Maynard and Noyes, whose inks were much
esteemed in this section for over fifty years, is no
longer in business, as is the case with many others well
known during the first half of the nineteenth century.

The enormous quantities of ink of every color,
quality and description made in the United States
almost surpasses belief. It is said that the output for
home consumption alone exceeds twelve millions of
gallons per annum, and for export three thousand gallons
per annum.

It is very safe to affirm that less than 1/50 of 1 per
cent of this quantity represents a tanno-gallate of
iron ink WITHOUT "added" color. Most colored inks
and "gall" ones which possess "added" color if
placed on paper under ordinary conditions will not
be visible a hundred years hence.

This statement of mine might be considered altogether
paradoxical were it not for associated evidential
facts, which by proving themselves have established
its correctness and truth. To repeat one of them is
to refer to the report of Professors Baird and Markoe,
who examined for the state of Massachusetts all the
commercial inks on the market at that time.

"As a conclusion, since the great mass of inks
on the market are not suitable for records, because
of their lack of body and because of the quantity of
unstable color which they contain, and because the
few whose coloring matters are not objectionable
are deficient in gall and iron or both, we would
strongly recommend that the State set its own
standard for the composition of inks to be used in
its offices and for its records."

An official ink modelled somewhat after the formula
employed by the government of Great Britain was
contracted for by the state of Massachusetts. It read
as follows:

   "Take of pure, dry tannic acid, 23.4 parts by weight.
     of crystal gallic acid, 7.7 parts.
     of ferrous sulphate, 30.0 parts.
     of gum arabic, 10.0 parts.
     of diluted hydrochloric acid, 25.0 parts.
     of carbolic acid, 1.0 part.
     of water, sufficient to make up the mixture
          at the temperature of 60 degrees F.
          to the volume of 1,000 parts by
          weight of water."

Such an ink prepared after this receipt would be a
strictly pure tanno-gallate of iron ink WITHOUT any
"added" color whatever.

The estimation in which such an ink is held by the
majority of the ink manufacturers is best illustrated
by quoting from two of the most prominent ones, and
thus enable the reader to draw his own conclusions.

"We do not make a tanno-gallate of iron ink
without added color, and so far as we know, there
is no such ink on the market, as it would be practically
colorless and illegible."
 *   *    *    *    *    *    *

"There is no such ink (a tanno-gallate of iron ink
without added color) manufactured by any ink-
maker as far as I know. It is obsolete."

The commercial names bestowed on the multitude
of different inks placed on the market by manufacturers
during the last century are in the thousands.
A few of them are cited as indicative of their variety,
some of which are still sold under these names.

Kosmian Safety Fluid, Bablah Ink, Universal Jet
Black, Treasury Ledger Fluid, Everlasting Black Ink,
Raven-Black Ink, Nut-gall Ink, Pernambuco Ink, Blue
Post Office Ink, Unchangeable Black, Document Safety
Ink, Birmingham Copying Ink, Commercial Writing
Fluid, Germania Ink, Horticultural Ink, Exchequer
Ink, Chesnut Ink, Carbon Safety Ink, Vanadium Ink,
Asiatic Ink, Terra-cotta Ink, Juglandin Ink, Persian
Copying, Sambucin, Chrome Ink, Sloe Ink, Steel Pen
Ink, Japanese Ink, English Office Ink, Catechu Ink,
Chinese Blue Ink, Alizarin Ink, School Ink, Berlin
Ink, Resin Ink, Water-glass Ink, Parisian Ink, Immutable
Ink, Graphite Ink, Nigrilin Ink, Munich Ink,
Electro-Chemical, Egyptian Black, "Koal" Black
Ink, Ebony Black Ink, Zulu Black, Cobalt Black,
Maroon Black, Aeilyton Copying, Dichroic, Congress
Record, Registration, "Old English," etc.

The list of over 200 names, which follow, includes
those of manufacturers of the best known foreign and
domestic "black" inks and "chemical writing fluids"
in use during the past century, as well as those
of the present time.

Coupier and Collins
Ley Kauf
Maynard and Noyes
Van Moos
Windsor and Newton




"The administration of justice profits by the
progress of science, and its history shows it to
have been almost the earliest in antagonism to
popular delusion and superstition. The revelations
of the microscope are constantly resorted to in
protection of individual and public interests. . . .
If they are relied upon as agencies for accurate
mathematical results in mensuration and astronomy,
there is no reason why they should be deemed
unreliable in matters of evidence. Wherever what
they disclose can aid or elucidate the just determination
of legal controversies there can be no well-
founded objection to resorting to them." Frank
v. Chemical Nat. Bank, 37 Superior Court (J. &
S.) 34, affirmed in Court of Appeals, 84 N. Y.

THIS decision by a final court of adjudicature, expresses
in no uncertain terms the now generally estimated
value of evidence which science may reveal.
The importance which that branch of it denominated
"Chemico-legal ink" has attained and its utilization
in many trials of causes both civil as well as criminal,
places it beyond the purview of criticism or objection.
With the introduction of a new class of inks in the
last two decades, its scope has been much broadened.

Innumerable verdicts by juries wherever the system
prevails, all over the world, the opinions of learned
judges, whether presiding during a jury trial or sitting
alone, more or less affected by this character of evidence,
presents fairly the trend of the views of the
public mind respecting it.

Constant experiment and successful demonstrations,
covering a period of over fifty years, was necessary to
overcome prevailing prejudices and ignorance.

The conditions to-day, which happily obtain, are
that the objection to the introduction of such evidence
finds its source usually in the side seeking to obscure
and hide the truth or facts, while the honest litigant
or innocent individual hastens to advocate its employment.

Another feature worthy of consideration is that
persons who possess intimate knowledge of ink chem.
istry and who might otherwise successfully perpetrate
fraud if opportunity presented itself, refrain from
making the attempt because of that very knowledge,
which is sufficient also to teach them of the possible
exposure of their efforts. Again, they and others are
aware of the reliance placed on chemico-legal evidence
as an aid to the cause of justice by courts and
juries and this is an added reason why they hesitate
to take chances. These propositions being true, they
establish another one, viz: that most of the attempted
frauds at the present time in this connection, are by
the ignorant and those whose conceit does not permit
them to believe that any one knows more than themselves.

Chemico-legal ink evidence as before stated has
been employed in the trials of causes for many years;
but it was not until the year 1889 that a precedent
was established for the chemical examination of a
suspected document preceding any trial. The honor
of this departure from the ordinary modes of procedure
belongs to the Hon. Rastus S. Ransom, who was
surrogate of the county of New York at the time.

The matter in controversy was an alleged will executed
in triplicate by one Thomas J. Monroe. Charges
were made that the three wills were spurious, as they
were facsimiles of each other. It was for the main
purpose of determining the methods of their make-up
that Judge Ransom rendered the opinion and made
the order for its chemical examination which is cited
in full:

Estate of Thomas J. Monroe.--"This is an application
by the special guardian and contestant in
this proceeding, which is now pending before the
assistant, for leave to photograph the various
papers which have been filed as the will of the
deceased, and to compel the filing of two parts of
one of said wills, which was executed in triplicate;
likewise that the last paper be subjected to chemical
tests for the purpose of disclosing the nature of
the composition of the ink and the process or
processes to which it has been subjected.

"Upon the oral argument the surrogate decided
the applications first stated in favor of the petitioner,
reserving only the question of his power to
direct or permit the chemical tests. The special
guardian on the oral argument stated that he was
unable, to find any authority for the application.

"Consultation of the various sources of authority
upon the subject of expert testimony and the
various tests for the purpose of establishing or disproving
handwriting has not resulted in the discovery
of any authority for granting the application.
It is apparent, however, from some of the cases
that such an examination must have been permitted;
for instance, in Fulton v. Hood (34th
Penn. State Reports, 365), expert testimony was
received in corroboration of positive evidence to
prove that the whole of an instrument was written
by the same hand, with the same ink, and at the
same time. It is inconceivable how testimony of
any value could be given as to the character of
ink with which an instrument was written, unless
it had been subjected to a chemical test. The
writer of a valuable article in the eighteenth volume
of the American Law Register, page 281 (R. U.
Piper, an eminent expert of Chicago, Ill.), in
commenting upon the rule as stated in the case of
Fulton v. Hood (supra), very properly says:

" 'Microscopical and chemical tests may be competent
to settle the question, but these should not
be received as evidence, I think, unless the expert
is able to show to the court and the jury the actual
results of his examination, and also to explain his
methods, so that they can be fully understood.'

"The writer of this article is also authority for
the statement that in the French Courts every
manipulation or experiment necessary to elucidate
the truth in the case, even to the destruction of the
document in question, is allowed, the Court, as a
matter of precaution, being first supplied with a
certified copy of the same.

"The most obvious argument to be urged against
allowing a chemical test to be made on a will, and
one that was suggested by the court on the argument
of this motion, is that, inasmuch as the paper
may be the subject of future controversy in this or
some other tribunal, future litigants should not be
prejudiced by any alteration or manipulation of the
instrument. I do not think, however, that this
objection is sound. Take an extreme case, of permitting
a sufficient amount of the ink (which the
affidavit of the expert shows to be but infinitesimal)
for the purpose of chemical examination;
the form of the letter would remain upon the paper;
if not, the form and appearance of the entire signature
might, as a preliminary precaution, be preserved
by photography. The portion of the signature
remaining would afford ample material for
future experiments and investigations in subsequent
proceedings wherein it might be deemed advisable
to take that course.

"Because the subject matter of the controversy
may be litigated hereafter should not deprive parties
in the proceeding of any rights which they
would otherwise have. They certainly are entitled
to all rights in this proceeding that the parties to
any future proceedings would have. Besides, all
the parties whose presence would be necessary to
an adjudication in, for example, an ejectment proceeding,
are (or their privies are) parties here. It
certainly cannot be that the law, seeking the truth,
will not avail itself of this scientific method of
ascertaining the genuineness of the instrument because
of some problematical effect upon the rights
or opportunities of parties to future litigations
respecting the same instrument. The possibilities of
litigation over a will are almost infinite, and if such
a rule should obtain this important channel of
investigation would be closed. Suppose the same
objection were raised to the first action of ejectment
which might be brought, it might then with
the same force be urged that parties to some future
ejectment suit would be prejudiced by a chemical
test of the ink used in the will, and so on ad infinitum.

"By not availing itself of this method of ascertaining
the truth as to the character of the ink, the
Court deprives itself of a species of evidence which
amounts to practical demonstration.

"I can see no reason why the application should
not be granted."

The order in part reads:

"It is ordered and directed that Charles H.
Beckett, the special guardian aforesaid, be and he
hereby is allowed permission to photograph the
aforesaid paper writings described in said order to
show cause, viz., one of the two parts of a triplicate
Will of Thomas J. Monroe, deceased, dated
February 10th, 1873, which were filed in the office
of the Surrogate of the City and County of New
York on or about the 9th day of May, 1889, and
also the contested Will herein dated March 27th
and June 1st, 1888, and to have the said paper
writing, bearing date March 22d and June 1st,
1888, subjected to such chemical test or tests as
shall disclose the nature of the composition of the
ink and, if possible, the process or processes to
which it has been subjected, if any.

"And it is further ordered and directed that
such chemical test be applied to the ink or writing
fluid on said alleged Will to the following specified
portion, or any part of such portions, viz."

Specifications in minute detail follow, calling attention
to the words and spaces which are permitted to
be chemically tested, and then continues:

"And it is further ordered and directed that the
said paper writings shall be photographed before
any chemical tests are applied thereto.

"And it is further ordered and directed that
such photographing and chemical tests be performed
by David N. Carvalho, Esq., a proper and
suitable person, at the places above indicated
respectively, between the 10th and the 20th days of
June, 1889, inclusive, in the presence of the parties
in interest or their attorneys, upon at least two
days' notice to all parties herein or their attorneys.

"And it is further ordered and directed that in
the event of destruction or breaking of the negatives
after such paper writings have been photographed,
the said special guardian, upon similar
notice, shall have leave to re-photograph the said
paper writings, at the same place and by the said
David N. Carvalho, between the 10th and 20th
days of June, 1889, inclusive.
               "(Signed)            RASTUS S. RANSOM,

On the 19th of June, 1889, pursuant to the order of
the court, the alleged will referred to was first photographed,
and later in that day such places as had
been designated in the order were chemically treated,
as part of a series of experiments. The results obtained
briefly summarized were as, follows: The instrument
which purported to be a holographic will of
Thomas J. Monroe the experiments showed conclusively
to be not the case, as neither pen nor ink in
the body writing portion or in the decedent's signature
had ever touched the paper; the date and names
of the witnesses thereon were written, however, with
pen and ink. Furthermore, the experiments demonstrated
beyond question that exclusive of its date and
names of witnesses, that it was what is commonly
known as a transfer taken from a gelatine pad (hektograph),
a method of duplicating popularly in vogue
at that time. The deduced facts in the matter being
that Thomas J. Monroe had written his will in an
aniline purple ink, to which he had appended his name,
leaving blank spaces to be filled in for the date, names
of witnesses, etc., and had transferred the same to a
hektograph, from which he had taken a number of
duplicate facsimile copies, and at some other time had
filled in the blank spaces by ordinary methods and to
which, at his request, the names of the witnesses had
been written with a pen and ink. In the trial which
followed the surrogate declined to sustain the allegation
of the proponents that the alleged signature was
the original writing of Thomas J. Monroe, or indeed
of any person. The will was not admitted to probate.

Experiments, both in open court or during its sessions
in the testing of ink and paper, microscopically
and chemically, are of frequent occurrence, and many
contests involving enormous interests have been more
or less decided as the result of them.

The contest of the alleged will of George P. Gordon,
tried before the late Chancellor McGill of New
Jersey in 1891, illustrates in a remarkable degree just
how certain are the results of investigations of this
character. The chancellor's decision, after listening
to testimony for many weeks, was in effect to declare
the will a forgery, largely because of the fact that the
premise on which it rested was a so-called draft, from
which it was sworn it had been copied. The ink on
this draft it was proved could not have had an existence.
until many years after the date of the forged will.

The decedent, who died in 1878, was the inventor
of a famous printing press, and left a large fortune.

A will offered for probate soon after the death of
Gordon was not probated, owing to the discovery that
the witnesses had not signed it in each other's presence.
The principal beneficiaries, however, under
that will, the widow and daughter of Gordon, agreed
to a division of the estate which was satisfactory to
the other heirs at law, and the matter apparently was

But a retired lawyer named Henry C. Adams began
in 1879, a year after Gordon's death, to endeavor to
obtain the assistance of some heirs at law in an enterprise
which was finally ended only when Chancellor
McGill's decision was rendered.

In 1868 Adams lived with his father and brothers
on a farm, near Rahway, N. J., adjoining the Gordon
place. The two men became well acquainted through
their common interest in music. Adams called upon
A. Sidney Doane, a nephew of Gordon, and told him
that Gordon had made a will in 1868 which might be
found or if lost, established by means of a draft of it
which he (Adams) had retained. Mr. Doane refused
to act upon this proposition. Then Adams presented
the matter to Guthbert O. Gordon, a brother to
George P. Gordon. He declined to consider the proposed
search for a new will. Adams then wrote to
Guthbert Gordon, Jr., cautioning him to say nothing
to any one, but to come and see him. Guthbert Gordon,
Jr., declined to accept Adams's invitation for a
secret conference. Adams did not write or communicate
with the widow or daughter of George P. Gordon,
or with any of the officials or other persons who dealt
with the estate. Finding that the heirs at law were
satisfied with the arrangement of the estate under
Gordon's daughter's management, he gave up his efforts
at that time.

In 1890 Mary Agnes Gordon, the daughter, died in
Paris, and remittances from her ceasing and her will
not being satisfactory to those who had been receiving
them from her, another contest was begun. This
caused a renewal of Adams's activity. In 1890 he
wrote to Messrs. Black & King, a firm of lawyers who
represented the contestants of Mary Agnes Gordon's
will. Adams's letter to the law firm contained this

"If one of you will come over here on Sunday
morning, bringing no brass band, fife or drums, I
will tell you something worth knowing."

Mr. King visited Adams, who was then living at
Orange, N. J., and was told by him that Mr. Gordon
had executed a will in 1868 which he (Adams) had
drawn at Gordon's instance, and that he had retained
a corrected draft from which the will itself had been
copied. He also told King that the original will after
its execution had been left with his father, and that
it must be at his father's homestead near Rahway,
where he would try to find it. A few days later he
wrote to Black & King that the will had been found,
and the next day went with the lawyers to Rahway
and identified the package found by his brother Edward
Adams, who occupied the Rahway farm, as that
which contained the will. The package, unopened,
was taken to a safe deposit company and the original
draft was deposited with the secretary of state. The
alleged will, which Chancellor McGill pronounced a
forgery when finally opened in the preliminary probate
proceedings, was found to be a very long and
complicated document, written on blue paper in black
ink. The draft, which was on white paper, was also
written in the main in black ink, but a copious quantity
of red ink had been used in interlineations. The
significant paragraph of the new will was a direction
to his heirs to purchase, if the testator had not succeeded
in doing so before his death, the Henry Adams
farm for $32,000. Minute directions were given to insure
the purchase, but no lower price than $32,000
was mentioned. Commenting upon this Chancellor
McGill's remarks:

"It is also to be here noted that the Adams farm
is now scarcely worth one-third the price for which
it is directed to be purchased."

Continuing the court says:

"The only living person who professes to have
had knowledge of this disputed paper prior to
November, 1890, is Henry C. Adams. He most
clearly and positively testified that he drew the
disputed paper at the instance of Mr. Gordon. He
produced a draft from which he said it was
copied. . . . I have already stated that Mr. Adams
testified most positively when the draft of the disputed
paper was offered in evidence that it was the
identical document from which the will of 1868 had
been copied, and it is to be remembered that the
interlineations in that draft are almost all made
with red ink, and that Mr. Adams testified that
those interlineations existed when the will was
copied from the draft. With a view to testing the
truth of this testimony the contestants submitted
the draft to scientific experts, who pronounced the
red ink to be a product of eosine, a substance
invented by a German chemist named Caro in the
year 1874, and after that time imported to this
country. At first it was sold for $125 a pound,
and was so expensive it could not be used commercially
in the manufacture of ink. Afterwards the
price was so greatly reduced that it became generally
used in making red ink. It is distinguished
by a peculiar bronze cast that is readily detected.
It was recognized in the red ink interlineations in
the draft of the disputed paper produced by Mr.
Adams by a number of scientific gentlemen, among
whom were some of the best known ink manufacturers
in the country, and Mr. Carl Pickhardt, who
first imported eosine. Upon further examination
the witness, Adams, said he thought the draft
produced to be the original until he saw the will on
blue paper, and that then he was perplexed, but
dismissed his doubt upon the suggestion of counsel,
but afterward he thought upon the subject 'in
the vigils of the night,' but by an unfortunate
coincidence did not reach substantial doubt enough
to correct his previous testimony until after the
testimony concerning the character of the red ink
he had used in interlining had been produced. . . .
It is impossible to study this remarkable case at
this point without grave doubts as to the truthfulness
of Mr. Adams, and indeed as to the frankness
with which the case was produced in court in
behalf of the proponents."

As to Adams as a witness, the court finally says:

"And as I read the confused answers of Mr.
Adams and note his apparent misapprehension of
questions that would tend to involve him, and note
the apparent failure of his theretofore wonderfully
clear and exact memory of the most trivial and unimportant
details, I am inclined to reject the whole
story as a fabrication that has been punctured and
fallen to pieces. . . . I find it to be impossible to
rely upon the testimony of Henry C. Adams. Excluding
it the will is not proved. . . .

"I will deny probate, revoking that which I
have heretofore granted in common form."
 *   *    *    *    *    *    *

In the attempt made to prove the alleged last will
and testament of Stephen C. Dimon, deceased, chemistry
was the all-determining factor in the most important
branch of the case. The peculiar features of
this remarkable and unique case are best described
by presenting them with a brief history of the entire

In 1884 Stephen C. Dimon of the city of New
York made and executed a will, choosing as legatee
and executrix a Mrs. Martha Keery. The will he
intrusted to the custody of his counsel. It appeared.
that some time during the following year his attorney
transferred this will from its resting place in a desk
drawer to a new safe and recalled having seen its envelope
a year later, but said he never saw the will

In 1893 Mr. Dimon died. No will being produced,
his brother took, out letters of administration. Whereupon
Mrs. Martha Keery commenced a suit against
the brother and the next of kin he represented, in
an effort to obtain the dead man's estate. She based
her claim solely on the LOST will, the contents of which
were recalled in the trial by Mr. Dimon's former
counsel, who was also one of the witnesses to the lost
will. During the course of the trial in the Supreme
Court, presided over by Justice George L. Ingraham,
Mrs. Keery's attorney produced a mutilated document
which from its reading indicated that it had once
been a will, though not the "lost" one. But the
names of the legatee, executrix, testator, names of
witnesses and their addresses were completely obliterated.
The written portions still undisturbed showed
it to be in the handwriting of Stephen C. Dimon.
Mrs. Keery's story was that after the death of Mr.
Dimon in going over an old coat formerly worn by
him, she had found it in a side pocket and had given
it to her counsel just as it came into her hands.

Its condition showed it to be considerably pocket-
worn. The obliterations referred to represented huge
blots of black ink covering a lot of scratches and
making it impossible to decipher the under writing.
Defendant's Counsel immediately requested that the
document be turned over to an expert, to see what
could be done with it. The judge granted the motion
and adjourned the case for several days to await

Counsel on both sides joined in the selection of
myself. Three days were occupied in its decipherment.
The will occupied two sides of a full sheet of
legal cap. The original ink which was employed in
the writing of the will was of pale gray color. The
first obliterations were a series of pen and ink
scratches and marks which destroyed the writing.
Not satisfied with them the operator had with a saturated
piece of blotting paper, brushed over the
scratches and as that ink was of good quality every
mark of writing had disappeared in the jumble and
blots. It so happened that three inks had been employed.
The original ink, the ink used for scratching
and the one employed to do the blotting. The three
inks were happily mixtures containing different constituents,
and so by utilizing the reagent of one which
did not affect the other, gradually the encrusted upper
inks were removed and later the original writing appeared
sufficiently plain not only to be read but to
identify it. Photographs made before and after the
chemical experiments, permitted court and counsel to
make their own comparisons during the giving of the
testimony about it.

It permitted also the finding of the two witnesses who
lived outside of the city and to learn many details
from them as to Mr. Dimon's conduct in the matter.

The restored will showed that Mrs. Keery at its
date (1891) was still in his mind, and its destruction
by himself--that he had changed his mind.

Justice Ingraham completes his opinion in deciding
the case as follows:

"In this case, however, the long time that
elapsed between the time of the delivery of the
will to Mr. Morgan and the death of the testator,
the absence of my satisfactory proof of the existence
of the will from the time it was delivered to
Mr. Morgan to the time of the testator's death,
and the fact that the testator made another will,
making substantially the same disposition of the
property, which he subsequently destroyed, all
tend to cast a doubt upon the fact that the will
was in existence at the time of the testator's death,
and there is positively no evidence that it was ever
fraudulently destroyed.

"I do not think the court is justified in diverting
a large sum of money from those legally entitled
to it, by allowing, a lost will to be proved, except
upon the clearest and most satisfactory evidence
of the existence of the will at the time of the testator's
death. And the testimony in this case falls
short of what I consider necessary to establish
such a will.

"There should be, therefore, judgment for the defendants
with costs."
 *   *    *    *    *    *    *

A case of considerable interest was tried before
Hon. Clifford D. Gregory in the month of March, 1899,
in the city of Albany, New York. It was entitled
the "People of the State of New York against Margaret
E. Cody," as charged with the crime of blackmail,
in the sending of a letter to Mr. George J.
Gould, in which she threatened to divulge certain
information which she claimed to possess about his
dead father, Jay Gould. The character of this
information was such that if true it meant that Jay
Gould and his wife had lived in bigamous relations
during a great number of years preceding their death
and hence also affected the legitimacy of the entire
Gould family. Mrs. Cody asserted that Jay Gould
was married to a Mrs. Angel some time in 1853, and
that as a result of that "lawful" marriage she gave
birth to a daughter, a Mrs. Pierce, who was still alive
and living somewhere in the west. As Mrs. Cody
offered to sell or secrete the information which she
said she possessed for a consideration, Mr. George J.
Gould and his sister, Miss Helen Gould, instantly
determined that it could be nothing else than a clear
case of an attempt at blackmail, which falsely impugned
the reputations of their dead parents. They
instituted criminal proceedings against Mrs. Cody,
charging that Mrs. Cody when she wrote the letter
well knew that her claim that his father had been
married to Mrs. Angel and that Mrs. Pierce was their
daughter, was absolutely false. Two trials followed,
the first in 1898 in which the jury disagreed, and a
second one in 1899 which lasted over a week. It
was in the second trial that chemical tests on a certain
entry in a church record in the presence of the
jury were made, which showed conclusively that
ancient writing of another character than that which
had been substituted was still existent beneath the
writing which was apparent to the naked eye.

The following are excerpts of the judge's charge
to the jury:

"I wish to invite your attention, for a few moments,
to the baptismal certificate. You have had
produced here before you the original baptismal
record of the church at Cooperville. It has been
substantially admitted, in the arguments of this
case, that there has been a change made in this
certificate. I do not think that the District Attorney
claims that there is any evidence that Mrs.
Cody herself changed this record; there is no
claim, as I understand it, made by the prosecuting
officer that she went there and obtained this book,
and with her own hand changed this record; but
he asks you to infer and find from the evidence
that has been given, that she was a party to this
change, that she was privy to this change, and that
knowing that fact she had guilty knowledge when
she wrote the letter upon which the indictment is

"You will remember that Mr. Carvalho, the
expert in handwriting, was placed upon the stand;
and he has testified in your presence as to his
qualifications in determining disputed handwritings,
and what his experience has been during a long
series of years. He tells you that he has examined
this record, and that there is no question but some
of the words have been erased and others substituted
in their places. He tells you that the words
'Jay Goulds' were not the original words in the
certificate, or if they were, the present 'Jay
Goulds,' as they appear in the certificate, have
been forged; that the words 'Mary S. Brown,'
the 'sex mois,' the French words for six months,
and other changes which he has described to you
are forgeries.

"I shall submit to you, as a question of fact,
whether or not Mrs. Cody had any knowledge or
took any part, or authorized or connived at any of
the changes made in this certificate. I do not
say that she did; I leave it to you to say, from
the evidence in this case, whether your minds are
convinced that she had any part or parcel, or
undertook in any way to accomplish the changes
which have been made in this baptismal record.
And if you find as matter of fact that she had
such knowledge at the time this letter was written;
if you find as matter of fact she had this information
given to her by Mrs. Angel, then I leave it
to you to say whether she had such knowledge,
such guilty knowledge, as should prevent her, if acting
honestly, from writing a letter such as has been
described here and contained in the indictment."

The jury brought in a verdict of guilty.

In the trial of the People v. David L. Kellam (1895),
who was charged with altering the dates of three
notes for $6,000 each, the contention of the prosecution
was that the dates of the notes had been changed
by chemicals, and with the consent of the defense a
reagent was applied to the suspected places and the
original dates restored. The verdict of the jury was

In the Holt Will case, tried in Washington, D. C.,
in the month of June, 1896, great stress was laid on
the fact of the difference in the admixture of inks
found on letters contemporaneous with the date of
the will, and it was asserted also that the ink with
which the will was written was not in existence at
the time it was alleged to have been made, June 14,
1873, and probably not earlier than ten years later.
Furthermore, that it was a habit of Judge Holt up to
the time of his death, which habit was illustrated in
his writings and correspondence to "sand" his writing.
The jury decided the will was a forgery.

Another famous case in which the scientific testimony
about ink and pencil writing must have assisted
the court in arriving at a conclusion was in the trial
of the famous Tighe will contest, tried before Hon.
Frank T. Fitzgerald, one of the present surrogates of
the county of New York. The story of this case is
incorporated in the opinion which is cited in part:

"Hon. Frank T. Fitzgerald, Surrogate of the
county of New York:

"That Richard Tighe died on the 6th day of
May, 1896, at No. 32 Union Square, in the city
and county of New York, where he had lived for
fifty years prior to his death, and was at the time
of his death over ninety years.

"That the testator, on or about the 27th day of
March, 1884, in the presence of the attesting witnesses,
duly signed the instrument in writing, and
duly published and declared the same to be his last
will and testament, and requested said witnesses
to witness the same, and pursuant to such request
said attesting witnesses did subscribe said will as
attesting witnesses. That at the time said Richard
Tighe so signed, published and declared the said
instrument to be his last will and testament, the
said Richard Tighe was in all respects competent
to execute the same, and was not under any restraint
or undue influence. That the said instrument,
so signed, published and declared by
testator was and consisted of the identical sheets
of paper and the identical writing now appearing
upon the same as to all except pencil writing; the
testator did not publish or declare the marks, words
or figures written in or upon said instrument in
pencil to be a part of his last will and testament,
and it is not found that such marks, words or figures
were upon said instrument at the time when
said instrument was so published and declared to
be the last will and testament of the testator.
That the said last will and testament is written
consecutively upon two sheets of legal cap paper.

"That the said last will and testament was originally
prepared with blank spaces left for the
insertion of the numbers of shares intended to be
bequeathed and devised to the various beneficiaries
named therein, and as so prepared was in the
hand-writing of Caroline S. Tighe, the wife of testator,
and that at some subsequent time and before
the execution of the said instrument by the said
Richard Tighe, the blank spaces hereinafter referred
to as filled in in ink, were filled in by or under the
direction of the testator. Upon said instrument
as offered for probate there appears in the blanks
originally left thereon, in some instances, pencil
writings superimposed over other pencil writings,
which have been either wholly or partially erased,
and in other instances ink writing different from
the body of the instrument in the material employed,
appearing over pencil writings wholly or
partially obliterated. . .

"That the said words written in ink filling such
blanks as aforesaid expressed the final determination
of the testator with regard to the beneficiaries
to whom the same applied; and that the words
and figures written in pencil filling such blanks as
aforesaid were written only deliberately and tentatively
and that as to those words and figures the
testator had not at the time when he executed,
published or declared said instrument to be his
last will and testament determined as to whom or
in what proportions he would give the several
shares of his estate and property covered by said
words and figures, but the testator attempted
and intended to reserve to himself the power of
making disposition of said shares thereafter, and
intended the final disposition thereof to be in ink
writing. . . ."




THE books contain no clearer or more forcible exposition
of "Chemico-legal" ink, in its relationship to
facts adduced from illustrated scientific testimony, than
is to be found in the final opinion written by that
eminent jurist Hon. Edgar M. Cullen on behalf of the
majority of the Court of Appeals of the State of New
York, in the case of De Frees Critten v. The Chemical
National Bank. It was the author's privilege to be the
expert employed in the lower court about whose testimony
Judge Cullen remarks (N. Y. Rep., 171, p. 223)
"The alteration of the checks by Davis was established
beyond contradiction," and again, p. 227, "The skill
of the criminal has kept pace with the advance in
honest arts and a forgery may be made so skillfully
as to deceive not only the bank but the drawer of the
check as to the genuineness of his own signature."
The main facts are included in the portion of the
opinion cited:

"The plaintiffs kept a large and active account
with the defendant, and this action is to recover an
alleged balance of a deposit due to them from the
bank. The plaintiffs had in their employ a clerk
named Davis. It was the duty of Davis to fill up
the checks which it might be necessary for the
plaintiffs to give in the course of business, to make
corresponding entries in the stubs of the check book
and present the checks so prepared to Mr. Critten,
one of the plaintiffs, for signature, together with
the bills in payment of which they were drawn.
After signing a check Critten would place it and
the bill in an envelope addressed to the proper
party, seal the envelope and put it in the mailing
drawer. During the period from September, 1897,
to October, 1899, in twenty-four separate instances
Davis abstracted one of the envelopes from the
mailing drawer, opened it, obliterated by acids the
name of the payee and the amount specified in the
check, then made the check payable to cash and
raised its amount, in the majority of cases, by the
sum of $100. He would draw the money on the
check so altered from the defendant bank, pay the
bill for which the check was drawn in cash and
appropriate the excess. On one occasion Davis
did not collect the altered check from the defendant,
but deposited it to his own credit in another
bank. When a check was presented to Critten for
signature the number of dollars for which it was
drawn would be cut in the check by a punching instrument.
When Davis altered a check he would
punch a new figure in front of those already appearing
in the check. The checks so altered by
Davis were charged to the account of the plaintiff s,
which was balanced every two months and the
vouchers returned to them from the bank. To
Davis himself the plaintiffs, as a rule, intrusted the
verification of the bank balance. This work having
in the absence of Davis been committed to another
person, the forgeries were discovered and Davis
was arrested and punished. It is the amount of
these forged checks, over and above the sums for
which they were originally drawn, that this action
is brought to recover. The defendant pleaded
payment and charged negligence on plaintiff's part,
both in the manner in which the checks were
drawn and in the failure to discover the forgeries
when the pass book was balanced and the vouchers
surrendered. On the trial the alteration of the
checks by Davis was established beyond contradiction
and the substantial issue litigated was that
of the plaintiff's negligence. The referee rendered
a short decision in favor of the plaintiffs in which
he states as the ground of his decision that the
plaintiffs were not negligent either in signing the
checks as drawn by Davis or in failing to discover
the forgeries at an earlier date than that at which
they were made known to them.

"The relation existing between a bank and a
depositor being that of debtor and creditor, the
bank can justify a payment on the depositor's account
only upon the actual direction of the depositor.
'The question arising on such paper (checks)
between drawee and drawer, however, always relate
to what the one has authorized the other to do.
They are not questions of negligence or of liability
to parties upon commercial paper, but are those of
authority solely. The question of negligence
cannot arise unless the depositor has in
drawing his cheek left blanks unfilled, or by some
affirmative act of negligence has facilitated the
commission of a fraud by those into whose
hands the check may come.' (Crawford v. West
Side Bank, 100 N. Y. 50.) Therefore, when the
fraudulent alteration of the checks was proved, the
liability of the bank for their amount was made
out and it was incumbent upon the defendant to
establish affirmatively negligence on the plaintiff's
part to relieve it from the consequences of its
fault or misfortune in paying forged orders. Now,
while the drawer of a check may be liable where he
draws the instrument ill such ill incomplete state
as to facilitate or invite fraudulent alterations, it
is not the law that he is bound so to prepare the
cheek that nobody else call successfully tamper
with it. (Societe Generale v. Metropolitan Bank,
27 L. T. [N. S.] 849; Belknap v. National Bank
of North America, 100 Mass. 380) In the present
case the fraudulent alteration of the checks was
not merely in the perforation of the additional
figure, but in the obliteration of the written name
of the payee and the substitution therefor of the
word 'Cash.' Against this latter change of the
instrument the plaintiffs could not have been expected
to guard, and without that alteration it
would have no way profited the criminal to raise
the amount. . . ."

A Pinkerton case of international repute, best
known as the "Becker" case, included the successful
"raising" of a check by chemical means from
$12 to $22,000. The criminal author of this stupendous
fraud was Charles Becker, "king of forgers,"
who as an all round imitator of any writing and manipulator
of monetary instruments then stood at the
head of his "profession." Arrested and taken to
San Francisco he was brought to trial. Two of his
"pals" turned state's evidence, and Becker was sentenced
to a life term. Through an error on the part
of the trial judge he secured a new trial on an appeal
to the Supreme Court. The jury disagreed on a second
trial, but on the third trial he was convicted.
Becker pleaded for mercy, and as he was an old
man and showed signs of physical break-down, the
court was lenient with him. Seven years was his

After his incarceration in San Quetin prison, he described
in one sentence how he had risen to the head
of the craft of forgers. "A world of patience, a heap
of time, and good inks,--that is the secret of my success
in the profession."

On completing his sentence, his reply to the question,
"What was the underlying motive which induced
you to forge?" was one word, "Vanity!"

The detailed facts which follow are from the "American

"On December 2, 1895, a smooth-speaking man,
under the name of A. H. Dean, hired an office in
the Chronicle building at San Francisco, under the
guise of a merchant broker, paid a month's rent in
advance, and on December 4 he went to the Bank
of Nevada and opened an account with $2,500
cash, saying that his account would run from
$2,000 to $30,000, and that he would want no
accommodation. He manipulated the account so as
to invite confidence, and on December 17 he deposited
a check or draft of the Bank of Woodland,
Cal., upon its correspondent, the Crocker-
Woolworth Bank of San Francisco. The amount was paid
to the credit of Dean, the check was sent through
the clearing-house, and was paid by the Crocker-
Woolworth Bank. The next day, the check having
been cleared, Dean called and drew out $20,000,
taking the cash in four bags of gold, the teller not
having paper money convenient. He had a vehicle
at the door, with his office boy inside as driver, and
away he went. At the end of the month, when
the Crocker-Woolworth Bank made returns to the
Woodland Bank, it included the draft for $22,000.
Here the fraud was discovered, and here the lesson
to bankers of advising drafts received a new
illustration. The Bank of Woodland had drawn no
such draft, and the only one it had drawn which
was not accounted for was one for twelve dollars,
issued in favor of A. H. Holmes to an innocent-
looking man, who, on December 9, called to ask
how he could send twelve dollars to a distant
friend, and whether it was better to send a money
order or an express order. When he was told he
could send it by bank draft, he seemed to have
learned something new; supposed that he could
not get a bank draft, and he took it, paying the fee.
Here came back that innocent twelve-dollar draft,
raised to $22,000, and on its way had cost somebody
$20,000 in gold.

"The almost absolute perfection with which the
draft had been forged had nearly defied the detection
of even the microscope. In the body of the
original $12 draft had been the words, 'Twelve
........ Dollars.' The forger, by the use of some
chemical preparation, had erased the final letters
'lve' from the word 'twelve,' and had substituted
the letters 'nty-two,' so that in place of the
'twelve,' is it appeared in the genuine draft,
there was the word 'twenty-two' in the forged

"In the space between the word 'twenty-two'
and the word 'dollars' the forger inserted the
word 'thousand,' so that in place of the draft
reading 'twelve dollars,' as at first, it read
'twenty-two thousand dollars,' as changed.

"In the original $12 draft, the figures '1' and
'2' and the character '$' had been punched so
that the combination read '$12.' The forger had
filled in these perforations with paper in such away
that the part filled in looked exactly like the field
of the paper. After having filled in the perforations,
he had perforated the paper with the combination,

"The dates, too, had been erased by the chemical
process, and in their stead were dates which
would make it appear that the paper bad been presented
for payment within a reasonable length of
time after it had been issued. The dates in the
original draft, if left on the forged draft, would
have been liable to arouse suspicion at the bank,
for they would have shown that the holder had departed
from custom in carrying, such a valuable paper
more than a few days.

"That was the extent of the forgeries which
had been made in the paper, the manner in
which they had been made betrayed the hand of
an expert forger. The interjected hand-writing
was so nearly like that in the original paper that it
took a great while to decide whether or not it was
a forgery.

"In the places where letters had been erased by
the use of chemicals the coloring of the paper had
been restored, so that it was well-nigh impossible
to detect a variance of the hue. It was the work
of an artist, with pen, ink, chemicals, camel's hair
brush, water colors, paper pulp and a perforating
machine. Moreover the crime was eighteen days
old, and the forger might be in Japan or on his
way to Europe. The Protective Committee of the
American Bankers' Association held a hurried consultation
as soon as the news of the forgery reached
New York, and orders were given to get this
forger, regardless of expense--he was too dangerous
a man to be at large. It was easier said than
done; but the skill of the Pinkertons was aroused
and the wires were made hot getting an accurate
description of Dean from all who had seen him.
Suspected bank criminals were shadowed night and
day to see if they connected with any one answering
the description, but patient, hard labor for
nearly two months did not seem to promise

Not satisfied with their success in San Francisco
these same bank workers began a series of operations
in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. This information
by chance reached the Pinkertons who laid
a trap and captured two of the gang. Shortly afterward
Becker on information furnished by them was
also arrested, taken to California and after three separate
trials as before stated, sent to San Quetin.

This triumph of the forger's art, I examined in the
city of San Francisco and although it was not, the first
time I had been brought into contact with the work of
Becker, was compelled to admit that this particular
specimen was almost perfect and more nearly so with a
single exception than any other which had come under
my observation. Becker was a sort of genius in the juggling
of bank checks. He knew the values of ink and
the correct chemical to affect them. His paper mill
was his mouth, in which to manufacture specially
prepared pulp to fill in punch holes, which when
ironed over, made it most difficult to detect even with
a magnifying glass. He was able also to imitate
water marks and could reproduce the most intricate
designs. He says he has reformed.

During the last twenty years quite a number of
cases have been tried in New York City and vicinity
in which the question of inks was an all important one.
The titles of a few not already referred to are given.
herewith: Lawless-Flemming, Albinger Will, Phelan-
Press Publishing Co., Ryold, Kerr-Southwick, N. Y.
Dredging Co., Thorless-Nernst, Gekouski, Perkins,
Bedell forgeries, Storey, Lyddy, Clarke, Woods,
Baker, Trefethen, Dupont-Dubos, Schooley, Humphrey,
Dietz-Allen, Carter, and Rineard-Bowers.




THE instruments of antiquity employed in the art
of writing belong to two of the most distant epochs.

In the first period, inscriptions were engraved,
carved or impressed with sharp instruments, and of
patterns characteristic of a graving tool, chisel or other
form which could be adapted to particular substances
like stone, leaves, metal or ivory plates, wax or clay
tablets, cylinders and prisms.

The ancient Assyrians even used knives or stamps
for impressing their cuneiform writing upon cylinders
or prisms of soft clay which were often glazed by
subsequent bakings in kilns.

The other period was that in which written characters
were made with liquids or paints of any kind or
color. The liquids (inks) were used in connection
with a pen manufactured from a reed (calamus), while
the paints were "painted" on the various substances
with a brush. The writing executed with both of
these instruments was on materials like the bark of
trees, cloth, skins, papyrus, vellum, etc.

The ancient as well as modern pens, though of many
sorts and kinds, are to be classified under two general
heads, those which scratch and those which use
an ink.

There is no authority to dispute the generally conceded
fact that the "scratching" instrument was the
first one used. Its most popular form seems to have
been the stylus or bodkin, which was made of a variety
of materials, such as iron, ivory, bone, minerals or any
other hard substance, which could be sufficiently
sharpened at one end to indent the various materials
employed in connection with its use. The other end
was flattened for erasing marks made on wax and
smoothing it. From it the Italian stilletto took its

The stylus is best described in the following

     "My head is flat and smooth, but sharp my foot,
     And by man's hand to different uses put;
     For what my foot performs with art and care,
     My head makes void, such opposites they are."

Relative to the employment of marking instruments
which belong to the most venerable antiquity, Noel
Humphreys observes:

"Before the growth of wealth and luxury had
taught nations to raise magnificent temples and
stately palaces, whose walls the hieroglyphic sculptor
covered with records of the pomp and pride
of princes, more purely national memorials had
found their place upon the native rock, the most
convenient surfaces of which were smoothed for
this purpose. Where no such rock existed in the
situation required, a massive stone was raised by
artificial means and the record, whether referring
to a victory, a new boundary, or any other event
of national interest was engraved upon it. Such
memorials have been described by Hebrew writers
as aumad or ammod, literally, the lips of the people,
or, the words of the people, but actually meaning
a pillar. Records in this form and the early name
they bore account for the strange legends of mediaeval
times referring to speaking stones--a name
by which such monuments were probably still called
long after time had effaced the speaking record,
and the original purport of the defaced stone was
forgotten. In semi-barbarous epochs, like the era
which followed the partial extinction of Roman
civilization, popular curiosity and superstition combined
would seek to give a meaning to the name of
such 'speaking stones,' and as an example of the
legends which thus arose, the itinerarium cambriae
of Geraldus may be cited, in which a stone is mentioned
at St. David's as the 'speaking stone'
(lech lavar) which was said to call out when a dead
body was placed upon it. The most remarkable
rock inscriptions still remaining are those of Assyria
and Persia, but many national tablets of more
recent date are still in existence. For the execution
of such records and those of the palaces of
Egypt and Assyria, some kind of steel point must
have been used, as no softer substance would have
served to engrave them in granitic and basaltic
slabs with the sharpness they still exhibit, which
proves that the art of hardening steel, long thought
a comparatively modern invention, was known to
the ancient people of Asia and Africa."

A list of the various devices of different countries,
by which characters could be legibly portrayed with
a scratching implement, is best recapitulated by Mr.
Knight, who presents them in the following order:

"The tabula or wooden board smeared with wax,
upon which a letter was written by a stylus.

"The Athenian scratched his vote upon a shell
as did the lout when he voted to ostracize Aristides.

"The records of Ninevah were inscribed upon
tablets of clay, which were then baked.

"The laws of Rome were engraved on brass and
laid up in the Capitol.

"The decalogue was graven upon the tables of

"The Egyptians used papyrus and granite.

"The Burmese, tablets of ivory and leaves.

"Pliny mentions sheets of lead, books of linen,
and waxed tablets of wood.

"The Hebrews used linen and skins.

"The Persians, Mexicans, and North American
Indians used skins.

"The Greeks, prepared skins called membrana.

"The people of Pergamus, parchment and

"The Hindoos, palm-leaves."

The written deeds of biblical time were kept in various
styles of pottery (Jeremiah xxxii. 14). Handwriting
on tiles was common in Egypt, Assyria and
Palestine (Ezekiel iv. I). Such handwritings were on
tablets of terra-cotta or common baked clay bricks.
One of the kind was fashioned by inscribing directly
with a "stylus" on the clay, before baking. Another,
were "moulds" made from older inscriptions or duplicates
from the first kind.

The Hebrew term sepher, translated into English
means a "book," and some authorities claim it is derived
from the same root as the Greek , a stone,
which would seem to point to engraved stones as the
earliest kinds of records. Indeed nearly all the passages
in the Five Books of Moses, in which writing is
mentioned, refer to records of this kind, or to tablets
of lead or wood, occasionally described as coated with

Long before the use of papyrus, or any like substance
was known as a material for writing on, thin
bricks were frequently utilized for such purposes.
The Chinese wrote on slips of bamboo which had
been previously scraped to be afterwards submitted to
intense heat which so hardened them, that a graver
would cut lines with the same facility, as could be
accomplished on soft metal like lead. These bamboo
tablets were joined together by means of cords made
of bark and when folded formed a "book." Different
nations adopted other modes in their preparation
of surfaces to engrave on. Many original
specimens have come down to us which present definite
evidence of the variety of materials and methods
employed in their manufacture.

Hilprecht, "Explorations in Bible Lands," 1903,
mentions many discoveries of such specimens. He
says that more than four thousand clay tablets were
discovered during the excavations of 1889 and 1900.

These relics call attention only to a very few
discoveries of this character. There were other explorers
who preceded Hilprecht in this direction, and
who with him have thus secured tangible evidence
which fully confirms all that has been said about the
employment of the most ancient of writing instruments,
the "stylus."

The diamond is also to be classified under the head
of "scratching implements" and many historical
incidents are recorded of its use. One of the most
interesting relates to Sir Walter Raleigh and Queen
Elizabeth and to be found in Scott's "Kenilworth."
Sir Walter, using his diamond ring, wrote on a pane
of glass in her summer-house at Greenwich:

          "Fain would I climb, but that I fear to fall."

The maiden Queen adding the words:

          "If thy mind fail thee, do not climb at all."

Biblical mention of the diamond, employed as a pen,
is found in Jeremiah xvii. 1.

          "The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron,
          and with the point of a diamond."

It has not always been possible to decipher and interpret
the character values of the most ancient hieroglyphics
or picture writings inscribed on bricks, stone
and metal slabs, and the Egyptian monuments. The
means to do so were furnished as the result of a very
fortunate accident or "find."

A French artillery officer in 1799 while excavating
the foundations for a fortification near the Rosetta
mouth of the Nile, found a curious black tablet of
stone. On it were engraved three inscriptions, each
of different characters and dialects.

The first of the three inscriptions was in hieroglyphic,
then unreadable; the second in demotic or
shorter script, also unknown, and the third in a living
language pertaining to the time of Ptolemy Epiphanes,
who reigned about 200 B. C.

This relic of antiquity is called the Rosetta stone.

Jean Francois Champollion, who with Dr. Thomas
Young studied the intricacies of these writings, first
established the fact that the three inscriptions on this
stone were translations of each other. Dr. Young's
investigations caused him to study the language included
in the second inscription, and made his deductions,
it is said, "by dint of thousands of scientific
guesses, all but a few of which were eliminated by
tests which he invented and applied; he at last discovered
and put together the set of fundamental principles
that govern the ancient writings."

Champollion, however, began at the bottom and
having successfully translated the LIVING language,
established a "key" or alphabet. Hence it became
possible, although requiring some years, to solve the
mystery of writings of 4000 or more years old.

Champollion pursued his discoveries so thoroughly
in this direction as to be able to complete in 1829 an
Egyptian vocabulary and grammar.

The Rosetta stone after remaining in the possession
of the French for many years was captured by the
English on the defeat of the French forces in Egypt
and is now in the British museum.

As writing with liquid colors on papyrus or analogous
materials which could be used in the form of rolls,
gradually came into vogue, the calamus or reed pen,
pencil brush (hair pencil), or the juncas, a pen formed
from a kind of cane, were more or less employed.

The "calamus" followed the "brush," just as

phonographic writing which denotes arbitrary sounds
or the language of symbols, came after the picture or
ideographic writing.

The places where the calamus grew and the modes
of preparing them are variously discussed by different
ancient and modern writers. Some claim that the
best reeds for pen purposes formerly grew near
Memphis on the Nile, near Cnidus of Caria, in Asia
Minor, and in Armenia. Those grown in Italy were
estimated to have been of but poor quality. Chardin
calls attention to a kind to be found, "in a large fen
or tract of soggy land supplied with water by the
river Helle, a place in Arabia formed by the united
arms of the Euphrates and Tigris. They are cut in
March, tied in bundles, laid six months in a manure
heap, where they assume a beautiful color, mottled
yellow and black." Tournefort saw them growing in
the neighborhood of Teflis in Georgia. Miller describes
the cane as "growing no higher than a man,
the stem three or four lines in thickness and solid
from one knot to another, excepting the central white
pith." The incipient fermentation in the manure
heap dries up the pith and hardens the cane. The
pens were about the size of the largest swan's quills.
They were cut and slit like a quill pen but with
much larger nibs.

In the far East the calamus is still used, the best
being gathered in the month of March, near Aurac,
on the Persian Gulf, and still prepared after the old
method of immersing them for about six months in
fermenting manure which coats them with a sort of
dark varnish and the darker their color the more
they are prized.

The "brush" also holds its career of usefulness,
more especially in China and Japan.

The earliest examples of reed pen writing are the
ancient rolls of papyrus which have been found
buried with the Egyptian dead. Some of these old
relics of antiquity are claimed to have been prepared
fully twenty centuries or more before the
Christian era.

The "reed" pen for ink writing held almost undisputed
sway until the sixth century after the Christian
era, when the quill (penna) came into vogue.

Reed pens preserved in excellent condition were
found in the ruins of Herculaneum.

"When he had finished, he dried the bamboo-pen
on his hair, and replaced it behind his ear, saying,
'Yak pose' (That is well). 'Temou chu' (Rest in
peace), we replied; and, after politely putting out
our tongues, withdrew." Abbe Hue at Lha-Ssa.




THE quills belonging to the feathers of birds seem
to have been the most successful and fitting of all materials
for pens, for, though steel and other metals are
now used for this purpose to an immense extent, there
is a power of adaptation in a quill pen which has never
yet been equalled in metal. Quills, however, like
other things, have a tendency to "wear out," and the
trouble resulting from the necessity of frequently
mending quill pens and a desire to write with more
rapidity have been the main causes of the introduction
of steel substitutes. A kind of affection has often
been felt by an author or official, or their admirers,
for the pen with which he has written any large or
celebrated work or signed some important document;
old worn-out pens, as well as new ones, have been preserved
as memorials in connection with such matters,
and Dr. Holland, who translated Pliny's "Natural
History" in the sixteenth century, recorded an exploit
connected with it in the following lines:

     "With one sole pen I wrote this book,
          Made of a gray goose-quill:
     A pen it was when it I took
          A pen I leave it still."

The quills employed for pens were generally those
of the goose, although the crow, the swan, and other
birds yielded feathers which were occasionally available
for this purpose. Each wing produced about five
good quills, but the number thus yielded was so small
that the geese reared in England could not furnish
nearly enough for the demand, hence the importation
of goose quills from the Continent was very large.
The process surrounding the manufacture of a quill
pen proves of considerable interest.

"The geese are plucked of their feathers three
or four times a year, the first time for the sake both
of the quills and the feathers, but the other times
for the feathers only. The pen quills are generally
taken from the ends of the wings. When plucked
the quills are found to be covered with a membranous
skin, resulting from a decay of a kind of
sheath which had enveloped them; the interior
vascular membrane, too, resulting from the decay
of the vascular pith, adheres so strongly to the barrel
of the quill as to be with difficulty separated,
while, at the same time, the barrel itself is opaque,
soft, and tough. To remove these various defects
the quills undergo several processes. In the first
instance, as a means of removing the membraneous
skin, the quills are plunged into heated sand, the
high temperature of which causes the external skin
of the barrel to crack and peel off, and the internal
membrane to shrivel up. The outer membrane
is then scraped off with a sharp instrument,
while the inner membrane remains in a state to be
easily detached. For the finest quills the heating
is repeated two or three times. The heat of the
sand, by consuming or drying up the natural
moisture of the barrel, renders it harder and more
transparent. In order to give the barrel a yellow
color, and a tendency to split more readily and
clearly, it is dipped in weak nitric acid, but this
was considered to render the quill more brittle and
less durable, and was therefore a sacrifice of utility
for the sake of appearance."

 "Oh! nature's noblest gift--my gray goose quill!
 Slave of my thoughts, obedient to my will,
 Torn from thy parent bird to form a pen,
 That mighty instrument of little men!"

To locate an exact period for the invention of the quill
pen is impossible. It could hardly have been in use
before the fourth century, probably not earlier than
two centuries later. Some writers have assumed that
it was employed by the Romans, but as no distinct
mention is made of them by early classical authors we
must accept the only information at hand.

Isidore (died A. D. 636) and contemporaries state
that the quills of birds came into use as pens only in
the sixth century. It is also known, St. Brovverus
being the authority, that in his time (seventh century)
the calamus or reed pen and the quill pen were
employed together, the calamus being used in the
writing of the uncial (inch) letters and capitals, and
the quill for smaller letters. Mention is also made by
many writers of the five centuries which followed
Isidore's time of the calamus, indicating that
notwithstanding it had been superseded by the quill
it was still a favorite writing implement in some places.

The use of the "steel pen" did not spring immediately
from that of the "quill pen." There were
several intermediate stages adopted before the fitness
of steel for this purpose was sufficiently known,
From about 1800 to 1835 the number of proposed
substitutes for the quill pen was very considerable.
Horn pens, tortoise-shell pens, nibs of diamond or ruby
imbedded in tortoise shell, nibs of ruby set in fine gold,
nibs of rhodium and of iridium imbedded in gold,--
all have been adopted at different times, but most of
them have been found too costly for general adoption.
Steel is proved to be sufficiently elastic and durable
to form very good pens, and the ingenuity of manufacturers
has been exerted to give to such pens as
many as possible of the good qualities possessed by
the quill pen.

The original flexible iron pen of modern times was
an experimental affair probably, being mentioned by
Chamberlayne as far back as 1685.

The first steel pens in regular use were made by
Wise, in London, in 1803, and for many years thereafter.

His pen was made with a barrel, by which it
was slipped upon a straight handle. In its portable
form it was mounted in a bone case for the pocket.
Prejudice, however, was strong against them, and up
to 1835 or thereabouts quills maintained their full
sway, and much later among the old-fashioned folks.
To him, however, is due the credit of being the inventor
of the modern steel pen.

It has been the thought of some people that Gillott
was the progenitor of the steel pen, but he was not.
Arnoux, a French mechanic, made metallic pens with
side slits in 1750. Samuel Harrison, an Englishman,
made a steel pen for Dr. Priestly in 1780. Peregrine
Williamson, a native of New York, while engaged as
a jeweler in the city of Baltimore, made steel pens in

Perry's first pens were of steel, rolled from wire,
the material costing seven shillings a pound. Five
shillings each was paid the workman for making them;
this was afterward reduced to thirty-six shillings
per gross, which price was continued for several

It was Joseph Gillott, however, originally a Sheffield
cutler, and afterwards a workman in light steel articles,
as buckles, chains, and other articles of that class, who
in 1822 gave impulse to the steel-pen manufacture.
Previous to his entering the business the pens were
cut out with shears and finished with the file. Gillott
adapted the stamping press to the requirements of the
manufacture, as cutting out the blanks, forming the
slits, bending the metal, and impressing the maker's
name on the pens. He also devised improved modes
of preparing the metal for the action of the press,
tempering, cleansing, and polishing, and, in short,
many little details of manufacture necessary to give
them the required flexibility to enable them to compete
with the quill pen. One great difficulty to be
overcome was their extreme hardness and stiffness;
this was effected by making slits at the side in addition
to the central one, which had previously been
solely used. A further improvement, that of cross
grinding the points, was subsequently adopted. The
first gross of pens with three slits was sold for seven
pounds. In 1830 the price was $2.00; in 1832, $1.50;
in 1861, 12 cents, and a common variety for 4 cents a
gross. About 9,300 tons of steel are annually
consumed, the number of pens produced in England alone
being about 8,000,000,000.

Bramah patented quill nibs made by splitting
quills and cutting the semicylinders into sections
which were shaped into pens and adapted to be
placed in a holder. These were, perhaps, the first
nibs, the progenitors of a host of steel, gold, and
other pens.

Hawkins and Mordan, in 1823, made nibs of horn
and tortoise shell, instead of quill. The tortoise shell
being softened, points of ruby and diamond were imbedded.
Metallic points were also cemented to the
shell nibs.

Doughty, about 1825, made gold pens with ruby

Gold pens with rhodium or iridium points were
introduced soon afterwards.

Mordan's oblique pen, English patent, 1831, was
designed to present the nibs in the right direction
while preserving the customary positions of the pen
and hand.

The fountain pen carries a supply of ink, fed gradually
to the point of the instrument. The first made
by Scheffer was introduced about 1835 by Mordan.
The pressure of the thumb on a stud in a holder
caused a continuous supply of ink to flow from the
reservoir to the pen.

The "stylographic" is a reservoir pen shaped like
a pencil, in which the flow of ink is regulated by
pressure of a style or fine needle with blunt point
upon the paper. It must be held in a vertical position.
All marks made with one, both up and down
strokes, are equal in width.

Gold pens are now usually tipped with iridium,
making what are commonly known as diamond points.

"The iridium for this purpose is found in small
grains of platinum, slightly alloyed with this latter
metal. The gold for pens is alloyed with silver to
about sixteen carats fineness, rolled into thin strips,
from which the blanks are struck. The under side
of the point is notched by a small circular saw to
receive the iridium point, which is selected with the
aid of a microscope. A flux of borax and a blowpipe
secure it to its place. The point is then ground
on a copper wheel of emery. The pen-blank is next
rolled to the requisite thinness by the means of rollers
especially adapted for the purpose, and tempered
by blows from a hammer. It is then trimmed
around the edges, stamped, and formed in a press.
The slit is next cut through the solid iridium point
by means of a thin copper wheel fed with fine emery,
and a saw extends the aperture along the pen itself.
The inside edges of the slit are smoothed and polished
by the emery wheel; burnishing and hammering
produce the proper degree of elasticity."

It is asserted that more steel is used in the manufacture
of pens than in all the swords and guns in the
world. This fact partly verifies the old saying, "The
pen is mightier than the sword."

 "Three things bear mighty sway with men,
 The Sword, the Sceptre, and the Pen;
 Who can the least of these command,
 In the first rank of Fame will stand."




THE black-lead pencil, under many circumstances,
is a very useful substitute for the pen, in that it
requires no liquid ink for marking the characters on
paper or other materials. The peculiar substance
which fills the central channel of the stick of cedar
has the property of marking when it touches paper;
and, as the marks thus made are susceptible to easy
removal, a pencil of this kind is available for purposes
which would not be answered by the use of pen and ink.

The substance misnamed "black-lead" contains NO
LEAD and is a carburet of iron, being composed of
carbon and iron. It generally occurs in Mountain districts,
in small kidney-shaped pieces, varying in size
from that of a pea upwards, which are interspersed
among various strata, and is met with in different
parts of the world.

Its principal source of supply until about 1845,
when it became exhausted, was the Borrowdale mine
in Cumberland, England, which was discovered in
1564. About 1852 a number of mines were opened
containing this substance in Siberia and from which
place the best products are now obtained.

The accidental discovery of this mineral at Borrowdale
was during the reign of Queen Elizabeth who
made many inquiries about it. The name of this
mineral was locally known as wad (graphite). So
valuable was it regarded that it commanded a very
high price, and this price acted as in inducement to
the workmen and others to pilfer pieces from the
mine. For a number of years scenes of great commotion
took place, arising out of these depredations; and
the result was that the proprietors adopted such
stringent rules that hardly anything was known of
the internal economy of the mine till about sixty
years ago, when Mr. Parkes gave a description of it,
from which I may condense a few particulars.

The mine is in the midst of a mountain about two
thousand feet high, which rises at in angle of about
45 degrees; and, as that part of the mine which has been
worked during the last century is near the middle
of the mountain, the present entrance is about a
thousand feet from the summit. The opening by
which the workmen enter descends by a flight of
steps; and in order to guard the treasure within, the
proprietors have erected a strong brick building of
four rooms, one of which is immediately over the
entrance into the mine. This entrance is secured by a
trap-door, and the room connected with it serves as a
dressing-room for the men when they enter and leave
the mine. The men work in gangs, which relieve
each other every six hours, and when the hour of
relief comes, a steward or foreman attends the dressing-
room to see the men change their dresses as they
come up one by one out of the mine. The clothes
are examined by the steward to see that no black-lead
is concealed in them; and when the men have dressed
they leave the mine, making room for another gang,
who change their clothes, enter the mine, and are fastened
in for six hours. In one of the four rooms of which
the house consists there is a table, at which men are
employed in sorting and dressing the mineral. This is
necessary, because it is usually divided into two qualities,
the finest of which have generally pieces of iron-
ore or other impurity attached to them, which must
be dressed off. These men, who are strictly watched
while at work, put the dressed black-lead into casks
holding about one hundred-weight each, in which state
it leaves the mine. The casks are conveyed down
the side of the mountain in a curious manner. Each
cask is fixed upon a light sledge with two wheels,
and a man, who is well used to the precipitous path,
walks down in front of the sledge, taking care that it
does not acquire momentum enough to overpower
him. When the cask has been thus guided safely to
the bottom, the man carries the sledge up hill upon
his shoulders, and prepares for another descent.

Up to about the middle of the eighteenth century the
mine was opened only once in seven years, the quantity
taken out at each time of opening being such as was
deemed sufficient to serve the market for seven years;
but when, at a later period, it was found that the
demand was increasing and the supply decreasing, it
was deemed necessary to work the mine six or seven
weeks every year. During the time of working, the
mine is guarded night and day; and when a quantity
sufficient for one year's consumption has been taken
out, the mine is secured until the following year.
Several hundred cartloads of rubbish are wheeled into
the mine, so as to block up the entrance completely;
and this rubbish acts as a dam to prevent the springs
and land waters from flowing out, so that the mine
gradually becomes flooded.

When the Year's mining is concluded, the barrels
of black-lead are brought to market, and the mode
of effecting the sales was described by Dr. Faraday
some years ago to be as follows: A market is held on
the first Monday of every month at a house in London,
where the buyers, who are generally only seven
or eight in number, examine each piece with a sharp
instrument to ascertain its hardness, those which are
too soft being rejected. The person who has the
first choice pays 45s. per pound, the others 30s.
But, as there is no addition made to the first quantity
in the market, the residual portions are examined
over and over again until they are exhausted. At
one time the annual sale was said to amount to the
value of L40,000 per annum, but it has been greatly
reduced since.

A mode of applying manufacturing processes to
the preparation of black-lead is described by Dr.
Ure as being adopted in Paris. The mineral, being
reduced to a fine powder, is mixed with very pure
powdered clay, and the two are calcined in a crucible
at a white heat; the proportion of clay employed
is greater as the pencil is required to be harder,
the average being equal parts of both. The
ingredients are ground with a muller on a porphyry slab and
then made into balls, which are preserved in a moist
atmosphere in the form of paste. The paste is pressed
into grooves cut in a smooth board, and another board,
previously greased, is pressed down upon it. When
the paste has had time to dry, the mould or grooved
board is put into a moderately heated oven, by which
the paste, now in the form of square pencils, shrinks
sufficiently to fall out of the grooves. In order to
give solidity to the pencils they are set upright in a
crucible and surrounded with pounded charcoal, fine
sand, or sifted ashes; the crucible, being covered, is
exposed to a degree of heat proportionate to the
hardness required in the pencils, the harder pencils
requiring the higher degree of heat. Some of the
pencils are shaped in a curious manner: models of the
pencils, made of iron, are stuck upright upon an iron
tray, having edges raised as high as the intended
length of the pencils; and a metallic alloy, made of
tin, lead, antimony and bismuth is poured into the
sheet-iron tray. When the alloy has cooled, it is inverted
and shaken off from the model-rods, so as to
form a mass of metal perforated throughout with
tubular cavities corresponding in size with the intended
pencil pieces; the pencil paste is introduced
by pressure into these cavities, and when nearly dry
the pieces shrink sufficiently to be easily removed
from the cavities.

The pencils just described are alike throughout all
their thickness, but in the majority of English pencils
there is a wooden holder to contain a narrow
filament of black lead running down the middle. So
long ago as the year 1618 this mode was adopted; for
Sir John Pettus, who was deputy governor of the
Borrowdale mine under Charles II, in his "Fleta
Minor," while, speaking of black-lead says, that "Of
late it is curiously formed into cases of deal or cedar
and so sold as dry pencils, something more useful than
pen and ink." In a general way modern black-lead
pencils, are made by sawing cedar first into long
planks, and then into smaller rods; grooves are cut
out by means of a cutting machine moved by a fly-
wheel to such a depth as will receive a small layer of
black-lead; the pieces of the mineral are cut into thin
slabs and then into rods the same size as the grooves,
into which they are inserted; the two halves of the
case are then glued together, and the whole is turned
into a cylindrical form by means of a guage.

The kind of pencil called "crayon" is a mixture
of some kind of earth with a coloring substance.
The earth employed is sometimes chalk, and at other
times pipe-clay, gypsum, starch-flour, or ochre. The
coloring substance is yellow ochre, mineral yellow,
chrome, red chalk, vermilion, indigo--indeed, any of
the usual dry colors, according to the tint required.
Besides the earth and the color, there is a gummy liquid
required to combine them together; gum arabic, gum
tragacanth, and in some cases oil, wax, or suet, are
used as the third ingredient. The crayons here alluded
to are employed rather for drawing than for writing,
but they obviously belong to the class of pencils in
their mode of action.

The ancients drew lines and letters with wooden
styles, and afterward an alloy of lead and tin was
used. Pliny refers to the use of lead for ruling lines
on papyrus. La Moine cites a document of 1387
ruled with graphite. Slips of graphite in wooden
sticks (pencils) are mentioned by Gesner, of Zurich, in
1565; he credits England with the production. They
are doubtless the product of the Borrowdale mine,
then lately discovered. In the early part of the seventeenth
century black-lead pencils are distinctly described
by several writers. They are noticed by
Ambrosinus, 1648; spoken of by Pettus, in 1683, as
inclosed in fir or cedar.

Red and black chalk pencils were used in Germany
in 1450; in fact, fragments of chalk, charcoal, and
shaped sticks of colored minerals had been in use
since times previous to all historic mention.

When Cortez landed in Mexico, in 1520, he found
the Aztecs using graphite crayons, which were probably
made from a mineral found in Sonora.

The firm of A. W. Faber are the largest manufacturers
of lead pencils in the world. They have compiled
a history of this implement of handwriting which
they have permitted me to use in the story which

The lead pencil is an invention of modern times,
and its introduction may deservedly be ranked with
the large number of technical innovations in which
more especially the last three centuries have been so
rich; nor can it be denied that pencils have played
an important part in the diffusion of arts and sciences
and in facilitating study and intellectual intercourse.

To the classic ages and their art the pencil, and in
general every application of lead as a writing material,
was entirely unknown, and it was not till the advent
of the middle ages that it began to be used for this
purpose. This lead, i. e. metallic lead, however, was
in no way equivalent to the graphite or black-lead of
our pencils, which are only honored with the prefix
of "lead," owing to the leaden color of the writing
done with them.

Moreover, in those days, lead was used exclusively
for ruling and in no way for writing or drawing; it
was employed in the form of round, sharp-edged discs,
similar to those which, it is said, were already used
for the same purpose in ancient classic times. It is
only with the development and growth of modern
painting that traces of pencil-like drawings first begin
to be met. At so early a period even as the fourteenth
century, mention is made by the masters of that
time, more especially by the brothers Van Eyck, and
again in the fifteenth century by Menlink and others,
of studies or compositions which were made with an
instrument similar to a lead pencil, upon a paper with
chalk prepared surface.

This type of drawing was commonly classed as "silver-
style," a term, however, which was no doubt
erroneous, as there could be no question of the use of
pure silver in this connection.

In the same way it is also reported of the later
mediaeval Italian artists that they drew their subjects
in "silver-style," upon planished fig-tree wood, the
surface of which had been prepared with the powder
obtained from calcined bones,--a method, however,
which seems only to have been employed in exceptional

But in the fourteenth century, drawings were frequently
done in Italy with pencils consisting of a
mixture cast from lead and tin; these drawings could
easily be erased with bread crumbs.

Petrarch's "Laura" was portrayed in this manner
by one of his contemporaries, and the method was
still in vogue in the days of Michael Angelo. From
Italy these pencils subsequently found their way to
Germany, but it is not apparent under what particular
name. In Italy itself they were called "stili," the
equivalent of the word stylus. At no time, however,
do these varieties seem to have been the predominating
material used for drawing purposes.

In conjunction with these, pens were used for
writing and drawing, and at the zenith of the art
period of those days black and red crayons were also
used on a large scale. The Italians imported the best
qualities of red crayons from Germany, the best black
chalk being obtained from Spain.

Vasari writes of a certain sixteenth century artist,
that he was equally skillful in handling the stylus or
the pen, black chalk or red crayon.

It was this period which witnessed the discovery of
plumbago, a mineral which was soon worked up into
an entirely new material for writing and drawing,--
the lead pencil.

This discovery, which was destined to confer such
great benefits not only upon practical life, but also
upon art, was made in England during the reign of
Queen Elizabeth, for in the year 1564 the celebrated
black-lead mines of Borrowdale, in Cumberland, were
discovered. With the opening of this mine, the first
material steps were taken to implant on English soil
a lead pencil industry which in the course of time was
to assume important dimensions.

The first lead pencils are supposed to have been
manufactured in England in the second half of the
sixteenth century. The raw plumbago, or "wad," as
it was locally termed, was subjected to the following
treatment: "On reaching the surface it was sawn
into strips of the required size, and these, without any
further manipulation, were inserted into the wood.
Strange though it may appear, the lead pencils first
manufactured in this manner are acknowledged to have
been the best--and even at the beginning of the present
century they remained unsurpassed upon the
score of the softness and fine tone of the lead. Although
the Cumberland lead pencils were in great demand
owing to the fact that they were the first to
successfully meet a long-felt want, they nevertheless
owed their permanent and wide-spread reputation--
more especially in artistic circles--to their excellent

Towards the end of the last century the black-lead
pencil industry was introduced into France, where
with some restrictions it soon developed.

With the removal of all restrictions on industrial
freedom in 1795, the idea was entertained of using
clay as a binding medium for black-lead. This
method offered several advantages, for not only did
the addition of clay cause a saving of a large percentage
of the valuable mineral, but it greatly facilitated
the method of manufacture, so that lead pencils
could now be offered at greatly reduced prices.

By these improvements a new era in the manufacture
of lead pencils was begun in France. Still,
there remained much to be done in the field of black-
lead pencil making in order to do justice to the increasing
demands of art and the requirements of more
civilized life.

It is true, different kinds of lead pencils of various
degrees were produced, but they did not comply by a
long way with the different uses for which they were
needed. The manipulation of the brittle material
required not only deep study, but also conscientious
and skillful workmen, in order to impart the necessary
standard of perfection to the lead pencil.

Among the various German industries the manufacture
of black-lead pencils occupied but a very
modest place.

The first traces of its existence are to be found at
Stein, a village not far from Nuremberg. As far back
as the year 1726 the church registers mention marriages
between "black-lead pencil makers," and, at a
later date references are found in the same registers
to "black-lead cutters" of both sexes.

The manufacture of black-lead pencils, however,
occupied a position on the very lowest rung of the
industrial ladder.

But is time proceeded the Bavarian government
directed their attention to this branch of industry,
and did all in their power to encourage it; and, as
early as the year 1766, a Count von Kronsfeld obtained
a concession to establish a lead pencil factory
at Jettenbach. Later on, in the year 1816, the
Bavarian government established a royal lead pencil
manufactory at Obernzell (Hafnerzell), and introduced
into it the French process, described above, of using
clay as a binding medium for graphite.




THE name paper is derived from papyrus, a reed
grown in Egypt, whose stalk furnished for so many
centuries the principal material for writing upon to
the people of that country and those bordering on
the Mediterranean Sea. In the first century of the
Christian era the younger Pliny remarks:

"All the usages of civilized life depend in a
remarkable degree upon the employment of paper.
At all events, the remembrance of past events."

A statement which has caused Mr. Knight to make
the following comment:

"This observation, undoubtedly true 1,800 years
ago, is much more remarkably so now; indeed, in
considering that paper as we now understand it
was entirely unknown to Europe in the time of
Pliny, the expression of the great dependence
upon what seems to us so fragile and inefficient a
substitute for real paper appears strange."

Mr. Knight also says that the Greek name papuros,
mentioned by Theophrastus, a contemporary of Aristotle
and Alexander, was probably the Egyptian name
of the reed with a Greek termination. It was also
called biblos by Homer and Herodotus, whence our
term bible. The term volumen, a scroll, indicates the
early form of a book of bark, papyrus, skin, or parchment,
as the term liber (Latin, a book, or the inner
bark of a tree) does the use of the bark itself. Hence
also our terms library and librarian. "Book" is
also derived from the Danish word bog, the bark of
the beech.
Pliny quoting Varro, who preceded him some two
centuries, asserts that before the invention of papyrus,
the large leaves of certain plants were prepared so
that they could be written upon. Hence originates
our term "leaves" of a book which in the Latin form
folium has also given us the modern term folio.

When, however, the reed pen and the pencil brush
and their kindred substances denominated colored
liquids or inks, came into vogue, some material on
which characters could be inscribed and preserved in
the shape of continuous rolls for record and other
uses became necessary. The papyrus plant seems to
have met every requirement. It is a noteworthy fact
that all information which can be derived from any
source, specifically calls attention to papyrus and
sometimes the inner barks of trees as being coexistent
with pen and ink.

Varro has been credited with many statements
which in the light of investigation and discovery are
proved to be incorrect. One of these is in effect
that the use of papyrus was an incident pertaining to
the expeditions of Alexander the Great. This assertion
is not only contradicted by Pliny, the historian,
who calls attention to "books of papyrus found in the
tomb of Numa " (Numa Pompilius, the second king of
Rome, B. C. 716-672,) but even at this late day many
monuments of ancient papyri are still extant and belonging
to periods more than a thousand years before
Alexander's time.

The real facts in respect to this matter are, that
the introduction of the use of papyrus to nations beyond
the limits of Egypt was an event that did not
take place until after the reign of the first Macedonian
sovereign of Egypt, Ptolemy Lagus (B. C. 323) when,
in return for Greek literature, Egypt gave back her
papyrus. Before this epoch the Greeks had been in
the habit of employing such materials as linen, wax,
bark and leaves for ordinary writing purposes, while
their public records were inscribed on stone, brass,
lead or other metals.

Papyrus as then introduced into those western
countries was the only substance for a long period
employed for literary purposes.

Parchment and vellum, which were adopted there
as writing materials about two centuries later, were
too costly to be used so long as papyrus was within

When the use of this ancient paper had become
established in the countries bordering on the Mediterranean,
all the MSS. assumed the form of rolls, being
rolled on cylinders of wood, ivory, bronze, glass and
other substances. Sometimes, the ends were decorated
by various ornaments. As a rule only one side of
the material was written upon. This was due largely
to the fact of its brittle character which would cause
it to break if rolled or bent the wrong way.

The ancient manufacture of papyrus for export
was carried on in Egypt on an extensive scale and
in the most systematic manner. A gradual improvement
in quality was the result, some of the kinds
being given well-known Roman names which are
mentioned by contemporary writers. The kind employed
by the Romans for ordinary use was designated
Charta. More expensive qualities were known as
"Augusta," "Livinia," "Hieratica," etc., the latter
being reserved for religious books. Some kinds were
sold by weight and employed by the tradesmen for
wrapping purposes, while the bark of the plant was
manufactured into cord and rope.

The methods of the manufacture of papyrus as a
writing material Pliny undertakes to describe at
great length, and while he asserts many things from
probable knowledge and the information at hand in
his time, yet he is not always correct. He says that
the reed stalks were cut into lengths and separated
"by splitting the successive folds of the stalk with a
fine metal point."

Mr. Knight, who investigated this matter with care,
is authority for the statement, that the papyrus stalk
as seen under the microscope shows that it does not
possess successive folds, but is a triangular stalk with
a single envelope with a pith on the inside, which
could only be divided into slices with a knife, either
in stripes of a width permitted by the sides of the prism,
or else shaved round and round, like the operation of
cork making, and producing a long spiral shaving.

In the description which Pliny gives of the various
homes of this plant in Egypt, he calls particular
attention to its abundance in marshy places where
the Nile overflows and stagnates: "It grows like a
great bulrush from fibrous, reedy roots, and runs up
in several triangular stalks to a considerable height."
They possessed large tufted heads, but only the stem
was fit for making into paper. After the pellicles or
thin coats were removed from the stalk, they were
laid upon tables two or more over each other and
glued together with the muddy and glutinous water
of the Nile or with fine paste made of wheat flour;
after being pressed and dried they were made smooth
with a ruler and then rubbed over with a glass hemisphere.
The size of the paper seldom exceeded two

Papyrus was also known to the Hebrews.

The Prophet Isaiah (B. C. 752) refers to this plant
when he says:

"The paper reeds by the brooks, and everything
sown by the brooks, shall wither, be driven away
and be no more."

Which prediction seems to have been long ago fulfilled
as the plant is now exceedingly rare.

The manufacture of Egyptian paper from papyrus
it is said was quite an industry in the ancient city of
Memphis more than six hundred years before the
Christian era.

The Mexicans employed for writing a paper which
somewhat resembled the Egyptian papyrus. It was
prepared from the aloe, called by the natives Maguey
which grows wild over the tablelands of Mexico. It
could be easily colored and seemed to bind to ink
very closely. It could be rolled up in scrolls just like
the more ancient rolls of papyrus.

The following account of an interesting discovery
of a fragment of one of the "Orations of Hyperides,"
by Mr. Harris, the well-known Oriental scholar, is
derived from the London Athenaeum:

"In the winter of 1847 Mr. Harris was sitting
in his boat, under the shade of the well-known
sycamore, on the western bank of the Nile, at
Thebes, ready to start for Nubia, when an Arab
brought him a fragment of a papyrus roll, which
he ventured to open sufficiently to ascertain that it
was written in the Greek language, and which he
bought before proceeding further on his journey.
Upon his return to Alexandria, where circumstances
were more favorable to the difficult operation of
unrolling a fragile papyrus, he discovered that be
possessed a fragment of the oration of Hyperides
against Demosthenes, in the matter of Harpalus,
and also a very small fragment of another oration,
the whole written in extremely legible characters,
and of a form or fashion which those learned in
Greek MSS. consider to be of the time of the
Ptolemies. With these interesting fragments of orations
of an orator so celebrated is Hyperides, of whose
works nothing, is extant but a few quotations in
other Greek writers, he embarked for England.
Upon his arrival there he submitted the precious
relics to the inspection of the Council and members
of the Royal Society of Literature, who were unanimous
in their judgment as to the importance and
genuineness of the MSS.; and Mr. Harris immediately
set to work, and with his own hand made a
lithographic facsimile of each piece. Of this performance
a few copies were printed and distributed
among the savants of Europe,--and Mr. Harris returned
to Alexandria, whence he has made more
than one journey to Thebes in the hope of discovering
some other portion of the volume, of which
he already had a part. In the same year (1847)
another English gentleman, Mr. Joseph Arden, of
London, bought at Thebes a papyrus, which he
likewise brought to England. Induced by the success
of Mr. Harris, Mr. Arden submitted his roll
to the skilful and experienced hands of Mr.
Hogarth; and upon the completion of the operation
of unrolling, the MSS. was discovered to be the
terminating portion of the very same volume of
which Mr. Harris had bought a fragment of the
former part in the very same year, and probably of
the very same Arabs. No doubt now existed that
the volume, when entire, consisted of a collection
of, or a selection from, the orations of the celebrated
Athenian orator, Hyperides.

"The portion of the volume which has fallen into
the possession of Mr. Arden contains 'fifteen continuous
columns of the "Oration for Lycophron,"
to which work three of Mr. Harris's fragments appertained;
and likewise the "Oration for Euxenippus,"
which is quite complete and in beautiful
preservation. Whether, as Mr. Babington observes
in his preface to the work, any more scraps of
the "Oration for Lycophron" or of the "Oration
against Demosthenes" remain to be discovered,
either in Thebes or elsewhere, may be doubtful,
but is certainly worth the inquiry of learned travellers.'
The condition, however, of the fragments
obtained by Mr. Harris but too significantly indicate
the hopelessness of success. The scroll had
evidently been more frequently rolled and unrolled
in that particular part, namely, the speech of Hyperides
in a matter of such peculiar interest as
that involving the honor of the most celebrated
orator of antiquity; it had been more read and
had been more thumbed by ancient fingers than any
other speech in the whole volume; and hence the
terrible gap between Mr. Harris's and Mr. Arden's
portions Those who are acquainted with the
brittle, friable nature of a roll of papyrus in the dry
climate of Thebes, after being buried two thousand
years or more and then coming first into the hands
of a ruthless Arab, who, perhaps, had rudely
snatched it out of the sarcophagus of the mummied
scribe, will well understand how dilapidations occur.
It frequently happens that a single roll, or possibly
an entire box, of such fragile treasures is
found in the tomb of some ancient philologist or
man of learning, and that the possession is immediately
disputed by the company of Arabs who may
have embarked on the venture. To settle the dispute,
when there is not a scroll for each member
of the company, an equitable division is made by
dividing the papyrus and distributing the portions.
Thus, in this volume of Hyperides, it seems that
it has fallen into two pieces at the place where it
had most usually been opened, and where, alas! it
would have been most desirable to have kept it
whole; and that the smaller fragments have been
lost amid the dust and rubbish of the excavation,
while the two extremities have been made distinct
properties, which have been sold, as we have seen,
to separate collectors. So, at all events, such
matters are managed at Thebes.

"Mr. Harris mentions fragments of the 'Iliad,'
which he had purchased of some of the Arab disturbers
of the dead in the sacred cemeteries of
Middle Egypt, most probably Saccara."

The oldest known specimens of the Greek papyri
and which were found in Egypt, have a range of one
thousand years; that is, from the third century B. C.
to the seventh century A. D.

The first discovery of Greek papyri was made at
Herculaneum in 1752. Papyrus, however, in the
most ancient, periods was not the only pliable material
used to write on which could be rolled on cylinders.
Linen or cloth, which had been first treated
with substances which filled the interstices and
characteristic of our oil-cloth, the inner bark of certain
trees, or in fact any material which would receive ink
and roll around a cylinder was in vogue. This form
of manuscript was later termed by the Romans rolles,
to roll round, or more commonly volvere, to roll over.

It is not certain, however, that this character of
manuscript immediately superseded the tablet form
of records inscribed on wood or metal. Noel Humphreys
is one of several to suggest:

"The reference to the 'pen of a ready writer,'
mentioned in the Psalms of David (B. C. 1086-
1016) could scarcely be the sharp point, or stilus,
by means of which characters were engraved upon
wood or metal, but rather the calamus or juncas,
used for writing with a dark fluid upon bark or
linen. The word volume indeed occurs in Psalms
xxxix., and these volumina or volumes must have
been either rolls of leaves, or bark, or Egyptian

Some writers like Casley, Purcelli, Haygen, Calmet,
and others, who also more or less discuss this subject,
do not view it entirely the same.




THE great abundance of papyrus in Egypt, the
chief source of its supply, the genius and magnificence
of the rulers of that country, and the army of
learned men who resorted thither, caused it to become
the principal home of those immense libraries of antiquity
already mentioned as having perished by fire
and tumults included in periods between B. C. 48 and
A. D. 640.

The Pergamus library which was deposited by
Cleopatra, B. C. 32, in the city of Alexandria, is said
to have been composed almost wholly of parchment
written volumes. The reason or cause of such employment,
of parchment in preference to papyrus is
attributed to jealousies existing between Eumenes,
King of Pergamus, and Ptolemy Philadelphus, the
ruler of Egypt, contemporaries of each other.

This Ptolemy, B. C. 202, issued an edict prohibiting
the exportation of papyrus from Egypt, and hoped
thereby to rid himself of foreign rivals in the formation
of libraries; also that he might never be subject
to the inconvenience of wanting paper for the multitude
of scribes whom he kept constantly employed,
both to write original manuscripts as well as to multiply
them by duplication.

Before this period the exportation of papyrus had
been a very considerable article of Egyptian commerce,
but thereafter it became much curtailed, and
about A. D. 950 had ceased altogether.

Eumenes, it appears, was not to be deterred from
his favorite study and pastime, so lie contrived a peculiar
mode of dressing skins, which seems to have
answered very fully the requirements of fluid-ink
writing methods and thus avoiding the necessity of
employing paints, the only material which would
"bind" to undressed parchment (skins).

That the refined and luxurious Romans, after the
introduction of parchment, vellum, and paper, insisted
on an improvement in quality and appearance is certain.
This appears from various passages in their best authors.
Ovid, writing to Rome from his place of exile,
complains bitterly that his letter must be sent plain,
simple, and without the customary embellishments.

We can safely date the first step towards the modern
form of books to the introduction of dressed skins
(parchment and vellum), as surfaces to receive ink
writing. These materials could be formed into leaves,
instead of metal, wood, ivory, or wax tablets, a use to
which papyrus could not be put on account of its brittleness.
Thus originated the libri quadrali, or square
books, which eventually superseded the ancient volumina

Parchment and vellum gradually superseded all
other substances in Europe as a general material
for writing upon, after the third or fourth century.
The employment of papyrus, however, in ecclesiastical
centers continued even as late as the eleventh

A kind of bark paper was manufactured in Europe
previous to the introduction of linen ("cotton,"
"Bombycina") paper from the East. The ancient Chinese
made various kinds of paper and had a method of producing
pieces sometimes forty feet in length. The
Chinese record, called "Sou kien tchi pou," states
that a kind of paper was made from hemp, and another
authority (Du Halde) observes, "that old pieces
of woven hemp were first made into paper in that
country about A. D. 95, by a great mandarin of the
palace." Linen rags were afterwards employed by
the Chinese.

The introduction of "linen" paper into Europe
did not materially affect or interfere with the use of
parchment or vellum until after the invention of
printing in the fifteenth century.

The class of substances to which parchment and
vellum belong has already received some consideration
but is a subject well worth some further discussion.

Allusions are found in some of the classical writers
to inscriptions written on the skins of goats and
sheep; it has, indeed, been asserted by some scholars
that the Books of Moses were written on such skins.
Dr. Buchanan many years ago discovered, in the
record chest of some Hebrews at Malabar, a manuscript
copy of the greater part of the Pentateuch,
written in Hebrew on goat's skins. The goat skins
were thirty-seven in number, dyed red, and were
sewn together, so as to form a roll forty-eight feet in
length by twenty-two inches in width. At what date
this was written cannot be now determined, but it is
supposed to be extremely ancient.

The Hebrews began, early after the invention of
parchment, to write their scriptures on this material,
of which the rolls of the law used in their synagogues
are still composed.

Scriptural, like many other classes of MSS. originating
previous to the eighth century and ink written
either on parchment or vellum, or both, are in
capital letters without spaces between words and
exceedingly rare. The more important and valuable of
them which apply to the New Testament are respectively
known as the Sinaitic, the Vatican and the
Alexandrian, many of whose various translations and
readings are incorporated by Tischendorf in his
Leipzig edition of the English New Testament. The
stories relating to the discovery and obtaining of
these relics of the first centuries of our era are
startling ones. The reputation and standing, however,
of the discoverers, and the investigations
subsequently made by known scholars of their time,
serves to invest them with a certain degree of truthfulness.
The most interesting is the story about the
Sinaitic codex, the oldest of any extant and which is
best told by Madan:

"The story of the discovery of this famous
manuscript of the Bible in Greek, the oldest existing
of all the New Testament codexes, and in
several points the most interesting, reads like a
romance. Constantine Tischendorf, the well-
known editor of the Greek Testament, started on
his first mission litteraire in April, 1844, and in
the next month found himself at the Convent of
St. Catherine, at the foot of Mount Sinai. There,
in the middle of the hall, as he crossed it, he saw
a basket full of old parchment leaves on their way
to the burning, and was told that two baskets had
already gone! Looking at the leaves more closely,
he perceived that they were parts of the Old Testament
in Greek, written in an extremely old handwriting.
He was allowed to take away forty-three
leaves; but the interest of the monks was aroused,
and they both stopped the burning, and also refused
to part with any more of the precious fragments.
Tischendorf departed, deposited the forty-
three leaves in the Leipsig Library, and edited
them under the title of the Codex Friderico-Au-
gustanus, in compliment to the King of Saxony, in
1846. But he wisely kept the secret of their provenance,
and no one followed in his track until he
himself went on a second quest to the monastery in
1853. In that year he could find no traces whatever
of the remains of the MSS. except a few fragments
of Genesis, and returned unsuccessful and disheartened.
At last, he once more took a journey
to the monastery, under the patronage of the
Russian Emperor, who was popular throughout the
East as the protector of the Oriental Churches.
Nothing could he find, however; and he had
ordered his Bedouins to get ready for departure,
when, happening to have taken a walk with the
steward of the house, and to be invited into his
room, in the course of conversation the steward
said: 'I, too, have read a Septuagint,' and produced
out of a wrapper of red cloth, 'a bulky
kind of volume,' which turned out to be the whole
of the New Testament, with the Greek text of the
Epistle of Barnabas, much of which was hitherto
unknown, and the greater part of the Old Testament,
all parts of the very MSS. which had so long
been sought! In a careless tone Tischendorf
asked if he might have it in his room for further
inspection, and that night (February 4-5, 1859)
it 'seemed impiety to sleep.' By the next morning
the Epistle of Barnabas was copied out, and a
course of action was settled. Might he carry the
volume to Cairo to transcribe? Yes, if the Prior's
leave was obtained; but, unluckily the Prior had
already started to Cairo on his way to Constantinople.
By the activity of Tischendorf he was
caught up at Cairo, gave the requisite permission,
and a Bedonin was sent to the convent, and returned
with the book in nine days. On the 24th
of February, Tischendorf began to transcribe it;
and when it was done, conceived the happy idea of
asking for the volume as a gift to the Emperor of
Russia. Probably this was the only possible plea
which would have gained the main object in view,
and even as it was there was great delay; but at
last, on the 28th of September, the gift was formally
made, and the MSS. soon after deposited in
St. Petersburg, where it now lies. The date of
this MSS. is supposed to be not later than A. D.
400, and has been the subject of minute inquiry in
consequence of the curious statement of Simonides
in 1862, that he had himself written it on Mount
Athos in 1839-40."

Constantine Simonides was a Greek who was born
in 1824 and is believed to have been the most versatile
forger of the nineteenth century. From 1843
until 1856 he was in evidence all over Europe offering
for sale fraudulent MSS. purporting to be of
ancient origin.

In 1861 Madan says:

"He boldly asserted that he himself had written
the whole of the Codex Sinaiticus which Tischendorf
had bought in 1856 from the monastery of St.
Catherine on Mount Sinai. The statement was, of
course, received with the utmost incredulity; but
Simionides asserted, not only that he had written it,
but that, in view of the probable skepticism of the
scholars, he had placed certain private signs on
particular leaves of the codex. When pressed to
specify these marks he gave a list of the leaves on
which were to be found his initials or other monogram.
The test was a fair one, and the MSS.,
which was at St. Petersburg, was carefully inspected.
Every leaf designated by Simonides was
found to be imperfect at the part where the mark
was to have been found. Deliberate mutilation by
an enemy, said his friends. But many thought that
the wily Greek had acquired through private friends
a note of some imperfect leaves in the MSS., and
had made unscrupulous use of the information."

A curious kind of document, which links the classical
times with the middle ages, in respect to the we
of parchment, is afforded by the "palimpsests," or
manuscripts from which old writing had been erased
in order to make way for new. A well-prepared leaf
of parchment was so costly an article in the middle
ages, that the transcribers who were employed by the
monastic establishments in writing often availed themselves
of some old manuscript, from which they scraped
off the writing; such a doubly-used piece of parchment
was called a "palimpsest." This practice seems
to have been followed long before, but not to so great
an extent as about the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries,
at which time there were persons regularly
employed as "parchment-restorers." The transcribers
had a regular kind of knife, with which they scratched
out the old writing, and they rubbed the surface
with powdered pumice stone, to prepare it for receiving
the new ink. So common was this practice that
when one of the emperors of Germany established
the office of imperial notary, it was one of the articles
or conditions attached to the holding of the office that
the notary should not use "scraped vellum" in drawing
deeds. Sometimes the original writing, by a
careful treatment of the parchment, has been so far
restored as to be visible, and it is found to be parallel,
diagonal, and sometimes at right angles to the writing
afterwards introduced. In many cases the ancient
writing restored beneath is found to be infinitely
more valuable than the monkish legends written afterwards.

Cicero's De Republica was discovered by Angelo
Mai in the Vatican library written under a commentary
of St. Augustine on the Psalms; and the Institutions
of Gains, in the library of the chapter of Verona,
were deciphered in like manner under the works of
St. Jerome.

Papyrus, parchment, and vellum were sometimes
used together in the MSS. books. Thompson, author
of "Greek and Latin Palaeography," observes:

"Examples, made up in book form, sometimes
with a few vellum leaves incorporated to give stability,
are found in different libraries of Europe.
They are: The Homilies of St. Avitus, of the 6th
century, at Paris; Sermons and Epistles of St. Augustine,
of the 6th or 7th century, at Paris and
Genoa; works of Hilary, of the 6th century, at
Vienna; fragments of the Digests, of the 6th
century, at Pommersfeld; the Antiquities of Josephus,
of the 7th century, at Milan; an Isidore,
of the 7th century, at St. Gall. At Munich, also,
is the register of the Church of Ravenna, written
on this material in the 10th century."

The rolls and records connected with the early
parliamentary and legal proceedings in England furnish
interesting examples of the use of parchment in writing.
The "Records," so often alluded to in such
matters, are statements or details, written upon rolls
of parchment, of the proceedings in those higher
courts of law which are distinguished as "Courts of
Record." It has been stated that "our stores of public
records are justly reckoned to excel in age, beauty,
correctness, and authority whatever the choicest archives
abroad can boast of the like sort."

The records are generally made of several skins or
sheets of parchment or vellum, each sheet being about
three feet long and often nine to fourteen inches in
width. They are either all fastened together at one
end, so as to form a kind of book, or are stitched end
to end, so as to constitute an extended roll. These
two methods appear each to have had its particular
advantages, according to the way in which, and the
time at which, the manuscript was filled up. Some
of the records of the former of these two kinds contain
so many skins of parchment that they form a
huge roll equal in size to a large bass drum, and
requiring the strength of two men to lift them. Some
of these on the continuous plan are also said to be of
immense size; one, of modern date, is nine hundred
feet in length and employs a man three hours to unroll
it. The invaluable old record, known by the
name of "Doomsday Book," is shaped like a book,
and is much more convenient to open than most of
the others. Various other legal documents, to an immense
amount, are "filed," or fastened together by
a string passing through them.

It seems a very strange contradiction, but it is positively
asserted as a fact, that the parchment employed
for these records was of very fine quality down to the
time of Elizabeth, but that it gradually deteriorated
afterwards, insomuch that the latest are the worst.
Some of these records and rolls are written in Latin,
some in Norman French, and some in English.

The modes of depositing and carrying the ancient
records were curious, and there seems to have been no
very definite arrangement in this respect. Great numbers
were kept in pouches or bags made of leather,
canvas, cordovan, or buckram; they were tied like
modern reticules. When such pouches have escaped
damp they have preserved the parchment records for
centuries perfectly clean and uninjured. Another kind
of receptacle for records was a small turned box, called
a "skippet," and another was the "hanaper," or hamper,
a basket made of twigs or wicker-work. Chests,
coffers, and cases of various shapes and sizes formed
other receptacles for the records. The mode of finding
the particular document required was not by a
system of paging and an index, as in a modern book,
because the arrangement of the written sheets did not
admit of this, but there were letters, signs, and inscriptions,
or labels for this purpose; they constitute
an odd assemblage, comprising ships, scales, balances,
castles, plants, animals, etc.; in most instances the
signs or symbols bear some analogy, or supposed analogy,
with the subject of the record, such as an oak
on a record relating to the forest laws, a head in a cowl
on one relating to a monastery, scales on one relating
to coining, etc.

At a time when books were prepared by hand instead
of by printing, and when each copy became
very valuable, books were treated with a degree of
respect which can be hardly understood at the present
day. The clergy and the monks were almost exclusively
the readers of those days, and they held the
other classes of society in such contempt, in all that
regarded literature and learning, that Bishop de Burg,
who wrote about five centuries ago, expresses an opinion
that "Laymen, to whom it matters not whether
they look at a book turned wrong side upwards or
spread before them in natural order, are altogether
unworthy of any communion with books."

It is stated by Mr. Knight, in his "Life of Caxton:"

"We have abundant evidence, whatever be the
scarcity of books as compared with the growth of
scholarship, that the ecclesiastics laboured most
diligently to multiply books for their own establishments.
In every great abbey there was a room
called the Scriptorium, where boys and novices were
constantly employed in multiplying the service-
books of the choir, and the less valuable books
for the library; whilst the monks themselves laboured
in their cells upon bibles and missals. Equal
pains were taken in providing books for those who
received a liberal education in collegiate establishments."

Warton says:

"At the foundation of Winchester College, one
or more transcribers were hired and employed by
the founder to make books for the library. They
transcribed and took their food within the college,
as appears by computation of expenses on their
account now remaining. But there are many indications
that even kings and nobles had not the advantage
of scholars by profession, and, possessing
few books of their own, had sometimes to borrow
of their more favoured subjects."

We learn from another source that the great not
only procured books by purchase, but employed transcribers
to make them for their libraries. The manuscript
expense account of Sir John Howard, afterwards
Duke of Norfolk, shows in 1467, Thomas Lympnor,
that is Thomas the Limner of Bury, was paid the sum
of fifty shillings and two pence for a book which he
had transcribed and ornamented, including the vellum
and binding. The limner's bill is made up of a number
of items, "for whole vignettes, and half-vignettes,
and capital letters, and flourishing and plain writing."

These transcribers and limners worked principally
upon parchment and vellum, for the use of paper was
by no means extensive until the invention of the art
of printing. Some of the old manuscripts contain
drawings representing a copier or transcriber at work,
where the monk is represented as provided with a
singular and tolerably complete set of apparatus to
aid him in his work. The desk for containing the
sheet or skin on which he is writing, the clasp to keep
this sheet flat, the inkstand, the pen, and the knife,
the manuscript from which the copy is being made,
the desk for containing that manuscript, and the
weight for keeping it in its place,--all are shown, with
a clearness which, despite of bad perspective, renders
them quite intelligible.

Of the two substances, parchment and vellum, before
the invention of paper, another word or two may be
said. Parchment is made from the skin of sheep or
lambs; vellum, from that of very young calves (sometimes
unborn ones), but the process of preparing is
pretty much the same in both cases. When the hair
or wool has been removed, the skin is steeped in lime
water, and then stretched on a square frame in a light
manner. While so stretched, it is scraped on the
flesh side with a blunt iron, wetted with a moist rag,
covered with pounded chalk, and rubbed well with
pumice stone. After a time, these operations are
repeated, but without the use of chalk; the skin is
then turned, and scraped on the hair side once only;
the flesh side is then scraped once more, and again
rubbed over with chalk, which is brushed off with a
piece of lambskin retaining the wool. All this is
done by the skinner, who allows the skin to dry on a
frame, and then cuts it out and sends it to the parchment
maker, who repeats the operation with a sharper
tool, using a sack stuffed with flocks (wool or hair) to
lay the skin upon, instead of stretching it on a frame.

Respecting the quality, value, and preparation of
parchment in past ages, it is stated in the "Penny
Cyclopaedia" that parchment from the seventh to the
tenth century was "white and good, and at the
earliest of these periods it appears to have nearly
superseded papyrus, which was brittle and more
perishable. A very few books of the seventh century
have leaves of parchment and papyrus mixed, that
the former costly material might strengthen and support
the friable paper. About the eleventh century
it grew worse, and a dirty colored parchment is
evidence of a want of antiquity. This may possibly
arise from the circumstances that writers of this time
prepared their own parchment, and they were probably
not so skilled as manufacturers. A curious
passage from a sermon of Hildebert, Archbishop of
Tours, who was born in 1054, is a voucher for this
fact. The sermon is on the "Book of Life," which
he recommends his hearers to obtain:

'Do you know what a writer does? He first
cleanses his parchment from the grease, and takes
off the principal part of the dirt; then he entirely
rubs off the hair and fibres with pumice stone; if
he did not do so, the letters written upon it would
not be good, nor would they last long. He then
rules lines that the writing may be straight. All
these things you ought to do, if you wish to possess
the book which I have been displaying to you.'

At this time parchment was a very costly material.
We find it mentioned that Gui, Count of Nevers,
having sent a valuable present of plate to the Chartreux
of Paris, the unostentatious monks returned it
with a request that he would send them parchment




WHEN it was that the great change occurred and
true paper made of fibrous matter or rags reduced to
a pulp in water was invented has been a subject of
considerable thought and investigation. Munsell, in
his "Chronology of Paper and Paper-Making," credits
it to the Chinese, and estimates its date to be
included in the first century of the Christian era. He

"The Chinese paper is commonly supposed to
be made of silk; but this is a mistake. Silk by
itself cannot be reduced to a pulp suitable for making
paper. Refuse silk is said to be occasionally
used with other ingredients, but the greater part
of the Chinese paper is made from the inner bark
of the bamboo and mulberry tree, called by them
the paper tree, hempen rags, etc. The latter are
prepared for paper by being cut and well washed
in tanks. They are then bleached and dried; in
twelve days they are converted into a pulp, which
is then made into balls of about four pounds
weight. These are afterwards saturated with
water, and made into paper on a frame of fine
reeds; and are dried by being pressed under large
stones. A second drying operation is performed
by plastering the sheets on the walls of a room.
The sheets are then coated with gum size, and
polished with stones. They also make paper from
cotton and linen rags, and a coarse yellow sort
from rice straw, which is used for wrapping. They
are enabled to make sheets of a large size, the
mould on which the pulp is made into paper being
sometimes ten or twelve feet long and very wide,
and managed by means of Pulleys.

"The Japanese prepare paper from the mulberry
as follows: in the month of December the twigs
are cut into lengths not exceeding thirty inches and
put together in bundles. These fagots are then
placed upright in a large vessel containing alkaline
ley, and boiled till the bark shrinks so as to allow
about a half an inch of the wood to appear free at
the top. After they are thus boiled they are exposed
to a cool atmosphere, and laid away for
future use. When a sufficient quantity has been
thus collected, it is soaked in water three or four
days, when a blackish skin which covered it is
scraped off. At the same time also the stronger
bark which is of a full year's growth is separated
from the thinner, which covered the younger
branches, and which yields the best and whitest
paper. After it has been sufficiently cleansed out
and separated, it must be boiled in clear ley, and
if stirred frequently it soon becomes of a suitable

"It is then washed, a process requiring much
attention and great skill and judgment; for if it
be not washed long enough, although strong and
of good body, will be coarse and of little value; if
washed too long it will afford a white paper, but
will be spongy and unfit for writing upon. Having
been washed until it becomes a soft and woolly
pulp, it is spread upon a table and beat fine with a
mallet. It is then put into a tub with an infusion
of rice and breni root, when the whole is stirred
until the ingredients are thoroughly mixed in a
mass of proper consistence. The moulds on which
sheets are formed are made of reeds cut into narrow
strips instead of wire, and the process of dipping
is like that of other countries. After being
allowed to remain a short time in heaps under a
slight pressure, the sheets are exposed to the sun,
by which they are properly dried.

"The Arabians in the seventh century appear
to have either discovered or to have learned from
the Chinese or Hindoos, quite likely from the latter,
the art of making paper from cotton; for it is
known that a manufactory of such paper was established
at Samarcand about the year 706 A. D, The
Arabians seem to have carried the art to Spain,
and to have there made paper from linen and hemp
as well as from cotton.

"The art of manufacturing paper from cotton
is supposed to have found its way into Europe in
the eleventh century. The first paper of that kind
was made of raw cotton; but its manufacture was
by the Arabians extended to old worn-out cotton,
and even to the smallest pieces it is said. But as
there are cotton plants of various kinds, it was natural
that they should produce papers of different
qualities; and it was impossible to unite their
woolly particles so firmly as to form a strong substantial
paper, for want of sufficient skill and
proper machinery, using as they did mortars and
rude horse-mills. The Greeks, it is said, made
use of cotton paper before the Latins. It came
into Germany through Venice and was called Greek

"The Moors, who were the paper-makers of
Spain, having been expelled by the Spaniards,
the latter, acquainted with water mills, improved
the manufacture so as to produce a paper from
cotton nearly equal to that made of linen rags."

A chronology of paper relating to the earliest specimens
of them can also be found in Munsell's work on
that subject; several are here cited:

"A. D. 704. The Arabians are supposed to
have acquired the knowledge of making paper of
cotton, by their conquests in Tartary.

"A. D. 706. Casiri, a Spanish author, attributes
the invention of cotton paper to Joseph Amru, in
this year, at Mecca; but it is well known that the
Chinese and Persians were acquainted with its
manufacture before this period.

"A. D. 900. The bulls of the popes in the eighth and ninth
centuries were written upon cotton paper.

"A. D. 900. Montfaucon, who on account of
his diligence and the extent of his researches is
great authority, wrote a dissertation to prove that
charta bombycine, cotton paper, was discovered in
the empire of the east toward the end of the ninth
or beginning of the tenth century.

"A. D. 1007. The plenarium, or inventory, of
the treasure of the church of Sandersheim, is written
upon paper of cotton, bearing this date.

"A. D. 1049. The oldest manuscript in England
written upon cotton paper, is in the Bodleian collection
of the British Museum, having this date.

"A. D. 1050. The most ancient manuscript on
cotton paper, that has been discovered in the
Royal Library at Paris having a date, bears record
of this year.

"A. D. 1085. The Christian successors of Moorish
paper-makers at Toledo in Spain, worked the
paper-mills to better advantage than their predecessors.
Instead of manufacturing paper of raw
cotton, which is easily recognized by its yellowness
and brittleness, they made it of rags, in moulds
through which the water ran off; for this reason it
was called parchment cloth.

"A. D. 1100. The Aphorisms of Hippocrates, in
Arabia, the manuscript of which bears this date,
has been pronounced the oldest specimen of linen
paper that has come to light.

"A. D. 1100. Arabic manuscripts were at this
time written on satin paper, and embellished with
a quantity of ornamental work, painted in such
gay and resplendent colors that the reader might
behold his face reflected as if from a mirror.

"A. D. 1100. There was a diploma of Roger,
king of Sicily, dated 1145, in which be says that
he had renewed on parchment a charter that had
been written on cotton paper in 1100.

"A. D. 1102. The king of Sicily appears to
have accorded a diploma to an ancient family of
paper-makers who had established a manufactory
in that island, where cotton was indigenous, and
this has been thought to point to the origin of cotton
paper, quite erroneously.

"A. D. 1120. Peter the Venerable, abbot of
Clum, who flourished about this time, declared
that paper from linen rags was in use in his day.

"A. D. 1150. Edrisi, who wrote at this time,
tells us that the paper made at Xativa, an ancient
city of Valencia, was excellent, and was exported
to countries east and west.

"A. D. 1151. An Arabian author certifies that
very fine white cotton paper was manufactured in
Spain, and Cacim aben Hegi assures us that the best
was made at Xativa. The Spaniards being acquainted
with water-mills, improved upon the Moorish
method of grinding the raw cotton and rags; and
by stamping the latter in the mill, they produced a
better pulp than from raw cotton, by which various
sorts of paper were manufactured, nearly equal to
those made from linen rags.

"A. D. 1153. Petrus Mauritius (the Abbi de
Cluni), who died in this year, has the following
passage on paper in his Treatise against the Jews;
'The books we read every day are made of sheep,
goat, or calf skin; or of rags (ex rasauris veterum
pannorum),' supposed to allude to modern paper.

"A. D. 1178. A treaty of peace between the
kings of Aragon and Castile is the oldest specimen
of linen paper used in Spain with a date. It
is supposed that the Moors, on their settlement in
Spain, where cotton was scarce, made paper of
hemp and flax. The inventor of linen-rag paper,
whoever he was, is entitled to the gratitude of

"A. D. 1200. Casiri positively affirms that
there are manuscripts in the Escurial palace near
Madrid, upon both cotton and hemp paper, written
prior to this time."

Abdollatiph, an Arabian physician, who visited
Egypt in 1200, says that the linen mummy-cloths
were habitually used to make wrapping paper for the

A document with the seals preserved dated A. D.
1239 and signed by Adolphus, count of Schaumburg
is written on linen paper. It is preserved in the
university of Rinteln, Germany, and establishes the
fact that linen paper was already in use in Germany.

Specimens of flax paper and still extant are quite
numerous, a very few of them having dates included
in the eighth and ninth centuries.

The charta Damascena, so-called from the fact of
its manufacture in the city of Damascus, was in use in
the eighth century. Many Arabian MSS. on such a
paper exist dating from the ninth century.

The charta bombycina (bombyx, a silk and cotton
paper) was much employed during mediaeval periods.

The microscope, however, has demonstrated conclusively
many things formerly in doubt and relating
particularly to the matter of the character of fibre
used in paper-making. One of the most important
is the now established fact that there is no difference
between the fibres of the old cotton and linen papers,
as made from rags so named.

To ascertain the precise period and the particular
nation of Europe, when and among whom the use of
our common paper fabricated from linen rags first
originated, was a very earnest object of research
with the learned Meerman, author of a now exceedingly
rare work on this subject and published in 1767.
His mode of inquiry was unique. He proposed a
reward of twenty-five golden ducats, to whoever
should discover what on due examination should appear
to be the most ancient manuscript or public
document inscribed on paper manufactured from
linen rags. This proposal was distributed through
all parts of Europe. His little volume contains the
replies which Meerman received. The scholars who
remitted the result of their investigations were unable
to distinguish between what they estimated as
cotton or linen rags. They did, however, establish
the fact that paper made of linen rags existed before
1308, and some of them even sought to give the
honor of the invention to Germany. They also asserted
that the most ancient English specimen of
such a paper belonged to the year 1342.

The transformation of paper made from every conceivable
fibrous material into what is commonly
known as "linen" or true paper was of slow growth
until after the invention of printing. Following that
great event it is surprising, how, in so short a period,
the manufacturers of paper improved its quality and
the degree of excellence which it later attained.
They imitated the old vellum so closely that it was
even called vellum and is so known to this day.
This class of paper was employed both for writing
and printing purposes and has never been excelled,
surpassing any like productions of modern times.

A curious custom came into vogue during the
early infancy of the "linen" paper industry, which
is of so much interest and possesses so curious a
history as to be well worth mentioning. It is the
water mark as it is commonly but erroneously termed
in connection with paper manufacture.

Its origin dates back to the thirteenth century,
though the monuments indicating its use before the
time of printing are but few in number.

The real employment of the water mark may be
said to have commenced at the time when it was
a custom of the first printers to omit their names
from their works. Also, it is to be considered that at
this period comparatively few people could either
read or write and therefore pictures, designs or other
marks were employed to enable them to distinguish
the paper of one manufacturer from another. These
marks as they became common naturally gave their
names to the different sorts of paper.

The earliest known water mark on linen paper
represented a picture of a tower and was of the date
of 1293. The next known water mark which can be
designated is a ram's head and is found in a book of
accounts belonging to an official of Bordeaux which
was then subject to England. It is dated 1330.

In the fifteenth century there were no distinctions
in the quality of paper used for manuscripts or for
books. In the Mentz Bible of 1462 are to be found
no less than three sorts of paper. Of this Bible, the
water mark in some sheets is a bull's head simply,
and in others a bull's head from whose forehead rises
a long line, at the end of which is a cross. In other
sheets the water mark is a bunch of grapes.

In 1498 the water mark of paper consisted of an
eight pointed star within a double circle. The design
of an open hand with a star at the top which
was in use as early as 1530, probably gave the name
to what is still called hand paper.

It appears that even so high a personage as Henry
VIII of England in 1540 utilized the water mark in
order to show his contempt for and animosity to
Pope Paul III, with whom he had then quarreled,
gave orders for the preparation of paper, the water
mark of which was a hog with a miter: this he used
for his private correspondence.

A little later, about the middle of the sixteenth
century, the favorite paper mark was the jug or pot,
from which would appear to have originated the term
pot paper. Still another belonging to this period
was the device of a glove.

At the beginning of the seventeenth century, the
device was a fool's cap and which has continued by
name as the particular size which we now designate
fool's cap.

The water mark has continued to increase in popularity
and to-day may be found in almost any kind of
paper, either in the shape of designs, figures, numbers
or names.

The circumstance of the water mark has at various
times been the means of detecting frauds, forgeries
and impositions in our courts of law and elsewhere.
The following is introduced as a whimsical example
of such detections and is said to have occurred in the
fifteenth century, and is related by Beloe, London,

"The monks of a certain monastery at Messina
exhibited to a visitor with great triumph, a letter
which they claimed had been written in ink by the
Virgin Mary with her own hand, not on the ancient
papyrus, but on paper made of rags. The visitor
to whom it was shown observed with affected
solemnity, that the letter involved also a miracle
because the paper on which it was written could
not have been in existence until over a thousand
years after her death."

An interesting example of the use of water marks
on paper for fraudulent purposes is to be found in a
pamphlet entitled "Ireland's Confessions." This person,
a son of Samuel Ireland, who was a distinguished
draughtsman and engraver, about the end of the
eighteenth century fabricated a pretended Shakespeare
MSS., which as a literary forgery was the
most remarkable of its time. Previous to his confessions
it had been accepted by the Shakespearean
scholars as unquestionably the work of the immortal
bard. The following is a citation from his Confessions:

"Being thus urged forward to the production of
more manuscripts, it became necessary that I
should posses; a sufficient quantity of old paper to
enable me to proceed; in consequence of which I
applied to a book-seller named Verey, in Great
May's buildings, St. Martin's Lane, who, for the
sum of five shillings, suffered me to take from all
the folio and quarto volumes in his shop the fly
leaves which they contained. By this means I was
amply stored with that commodity--nor did I fear
any mention of the circumstance by Mr. Verey,
whose quiet, unsuspecting disposition, I was well
convinced, would never lead him to make the transaction
public; in addition to which, he was not
likely even to know anything concerning the supposed
Shakespearean discovery by myself, and even
if he had, I do not imagine that my purchase of
the old paper in question would have excited in
him the smallest degree of suspicion. As I was
fully aware, from the variety of water-marks, which
are in existence at the present day, that they must
have constantly been altered since the period of
Elizabeth and being for some time wholly unacquainted
with the water-marks of that age, I very
carefully produced my first specimens of the
writing on such sheets of old paper as had no
marks whatever. Having heard it frequently stated
that the appearance of such marks on the papers
would have greatly tended to establish their validity,
I listened attentively to every remark which
was made upon the subject, and from thence I at
length gleaned the intelligence that a jug was the
prevalent water-mark of the reign of Elizabeth; in
consequence of which I inspected all the sheets of
old paper then in my possession, and having selected
such as had the jug upon them, I produced the
succeeding manuscripts upon these, being careful,
however, to mingle with them a certain number of
blank leaves, that the production on a sudden of so
many water-marks might not excite suspicion in
the breasts of those persons who were most conversant
with the manuscripts."

Fuller, writing in 1662, characterizes the paper of
his day:

"Paper participates in some sort of the character
of the country which makes it; the Venetian
being neat, subtle, and court-like; the French
light, slight, and slender; and the Dutch thick,
corpulent, and gross, sticking up the ink with the
sponginess thereof. And he complains of the
'vast sums of money expended in our land for
paper out of Italy, France, and Germany, which
might be lessened were it made in our nation.' "

Ulman Strother in 1390 started his paper mill at
Nuremberg in Bavaria which was the first paper
mill known to have been established in Germany, and
is said to have been the only one in Europe then
manufacturing paper from linen rags.

Among the privy expenses of Henry VII of the
year 1498 appears the following entry: "A reward
given to the paper mill, 16s. 8d." This is probably
the paper mill mentioned by Wynkin de Worde, the
father of English typography. It was located at
Hertford, and the water mark he employed was a star
within a double circle.

The manufacture of paper in England previous to
the revolution of 1688 was an industry of very small
proportions, most of the paper being imported from

The first paper mill established in America was by
William Rittenhouse who emigrated from Holland
and settled in Germantown, Pa., in 1690. At Roxborough,
near Philadelphia, on a stream afterwards
called Paper Mill run, which empties into the Wissahicken
river, was located the site which in company
with William Bradford, a printer, he chose for
his mill. The paper was made from linen rags,
mostly the product of flax raised in the vicinity and
made first into wearing apparel.

It was Reaumer, who in 1719 first suggested the
possibility of paper being made from wood. He
obtained his information on this subject from examination
of wasps' nests.

Matthias Koops in 1800 published a work on
"Paper" made from straw, wood and other substances.
His second edition appeared in 1801 and
was composed of old paper re-made into new. Another
work on the subject of "Paper from Straw, &c.,"
by Piette, appeared in 1835, which said work contains
more than a hundred pages, each one of which
was made from a different kind of material.

Many other valuable works are obtainable which
treat of rag paper manufacture and the stories they
tell are instructive as well as interesting.




PAPER manufacturers have tried all the pulp-making
substances. This statement to the unlearned must
seem curious, because in the very early times they
were content with a single material and that did not
even require to be first made into the form of pulp.
When the supply of papyrus failed, it was rags which
they substituted. By the simplest processes they
produced a paper with which our best cannot compare.
In some countries great care is exercised in
selecting the quality of paper for official use, in others
none at all.

What will be the state of our archives a few hundred
years hence, if they be not continually recopied?

Some of the printed paper rots even more quickly
than written.

The late Pope at one time invited many of the
savants, chemists and librarians of Europe, to meet
at Einsiedlen Abbey in Switzerland. He requested
that the subject of their discussions should be both
ink and paper. He volunteered the information,
already known to the initiated, that the records of
this generation in his custody and under his control
were fast disappearing and unless the writing materials
were much improved he estimated that they
would entirely disappear. It is stated that at this
meeting the Pope's representative submitted a number
of documents from the Vatican archives which
are scarcely decipherable though dated in the nineteenth
century. In a few of those of dates later than
1873 the paper was so tender that unless handled
with exceptional care, it would break in pieces like
scorched paper.

These conditions are in line with many of those
which prevail with few exceptions in every country,
town or hamlet.

A contributory cause as we know is a class of poor
and cheap inks now in almost universal use. The
other is the so-called "modern" or wood-pulp paper
in general vogue.

Reaumur, as already stated, back in 1719 suggested
from information gathered in examinations of wasps'
nests, that a paper might be manufactured from
wood. This idea does not appear to have been acted
upon until many years later, although in the interim
inventors were exhausting their ingenuity in the
selection of fibrous materials from which paper might
be manufactured.

The successful introduction of wood as a substitute
for or with rags in paper manufacture until about
1870 was of slow growth; since which time vast
quantities have been employed. In this country
alone millions of tons of raw material are being imported
to say nothing of home products.

Its value in the cause of progress of some arts
which contribute greatly to our comfort and civilization
cannot be overestimated, but nevertheless the
wood paper is bound to disintegrate and decay, and
the time not very far distant either. Hence, its use
for records of any kind is always to be condemned.

There are three classes of wood pulp; mechanical
wood, soda process, and the sulphite. The first or
mechanical wood is a German invention of 1844,
where the logs after being cut up into proper blocks,
were then ground against a moving millstone against
which they were pressed and with the aid of flowing
water reduced to a pulpy form. This pulp was
transported into suitable tanks and then pumped to
the "beaters."

The soda process wood and sulphite wood pulp are
both made by chemical processes. The first was
invented by Meliner in 1865. The preparation of
pulp by this process consists briefly in first cutting up
the logs into suitable sections and throwing them
into a chipping machine. The chips are then introduced
into tanks containing a strong solution of
caustic soda and boiled under pressure.

The sulphite process is substantially the same except
that the chips are thrown into what are called
digesters and fed with the chemicals which form an
acid sulphite. The real inventor of this latter process
is not known.

The chemicals employed in both of these processes
compel a separation of the resinous matters from the
cell tissues or cellulose. These products are then
treated in the manufacturing of paper with few variations,
the same as the ordinary rag pulp.

These now perfected processes are the results of long
and continuing experimentations made by many inventors.

The following paper was read before the London
Society of Arts by Mr. Alfred Glyde, in May, 1850,
and is equally applicable to some of the wood paper
of the present day:

"Owing to the imperfections formerly existing
in the microscope, little was known of the real nature
of the plants called fungi until within the last
few years, but since the improvements in that instrument
the subject of the development, growth,
and offices of the fungi has received much attention.
They compose, with the algae and lichens,
the class of thallogens (Lindley), the algae existing
in water, the other two in air only. A fungus
is a cellular flowerless plant, fructifying solely by
spores, by which it is propagated, and the methods
of attachment of which are singularly various and
beautiful. The fungi differs from the lichens and
algae in deriving their nourishment from the
substances on which they grow, instead of from the
media in which they live. They contain a larger
quantity of nitrogen in their constitution than vegetables
generally do, and the substance called 'fungine'
has a near resemblance to animal matter.
Their spores are inconceivably numerous and minute,
and are diffused very widely, developing
themselves wherever they find organic matter in a
fit state. The principal conditions required for
their growth are moisture, heat, and the presence
of oxygen and electricity. No decomposition or
development of fungi takes place in dry organic
matter, a fact illustrated by the high state of
preservation in which timber has been found after the
lapse of centuries, as well as by the condition of
mummy-cases, bandages, etc., kept dry in the hot
climate of Egypt. Decay will not take place in a
temperature below that of the freezing point of
water, nor without oxygen, by excluding which, is
contained in the air, meat and vegetables may be
kept fresh and sweet for many years.

"The action which takes place when moist vegetable
substances are exposed to oxygen is that of
slow combustion ('eremacausis'), the oxygen
uniting with the wood and liberating a volume of
carbonic acid equal to itself, and another portion
combining with the hydrogen of the wood to form
water. Decomposition takes place on contact with
a body already undergoing the same change, in the
same manner that yeast causes fermentation. Animal
matter enters into combination with oxygen in
precisely the same way as vegetable matter, but as,
in addition to carbon and hydrogen, it contains nitrogen,
the products of the eremacausis are more
numerous, being carbon and nitrate of ammonia,
carburetted and sulphuretted hydrogen, and water,
and these ammoniacal salts greatly favor the growth
of fungi. Now paper consists essentially of woody
fibre, having animal matter as size on its surface.
The first microscopic symptom of decay in paper is
irregularity of surface, with a slight change of color,
indicating the commencement of the process just
noticed, during which, in addition to carbonic acid,
certain organic acids are formed, as crenic and ulmic
acids, which, if the paper has been stained by
a coloring matter, will form spots of red on the
surface. The same process of decay goes on in
parchment as in paper, only with more rapidity,
from the presence of nitrogen in its composition.
When this decay has begun to take place, fungi are
produced, the most common species being
Penicilium glaucum. They insinuate themselves between
the fibre, causing a freer admission of air, and
consequently hasten the decay. The substances most
successfully used as preventives of decay are the
salts of mercury, copper, and zinc. Bichloride of
mercury (corrosive sublimate) is the material employed
in the kyanization of timber, the probable
mode of action being its combination with the albumen
of the wood, to form an insoluble compound
not susceptible of spontaneous decomposition, and
therefore incapable of exciting fermentation. The
antiseptic power of corrosive sublimate may be
easily tested by mixing a little of it with flour
paste, the decay of which, and the appearance of
fungi, are quite prevented by it. Next to corrosive
sublimate in antiseptic value stand the salts of
copper and zinc. For use in the preservation of
paper the sulphate of zinc is better than the chloride,
which is to a certain extent delinquescent."

There are numerous paper tests which include the
matter of sizing, direction of the grain, absorbing
powers, character of ingredients, etc. A few of them
are cited.

SIZING.--The everyday tests as to hardness of
sizing answer every ordinary purpose: Moisten with
the tongue, and if the paper is slack-sized you can
detect it often by the instant drawing or absorption
of the moisture. Watch the spot moistened, and the
longer it remains wet the better the paper is sized.
Look through the spot dampened--the poorer the
sizing the more transparent is the paper where it is
wet. If thoroughly sized no difference will be apparent
between the spot dampened and the balance
of the sheet. When there is a question as to whether
a paper is tub or engine sized, it can be usually decided
by wetting the forefinger and thumb and pressing
the sheet between them. If tub-sized, the glue
which is applied to the surface will perceptibly cling
to the fingers.

Draw a heavy ink line across the sheet. If the paper
is poorly sized, a feathery edge will appear, caused
by spreading of the ink. Slack-sized paper will be
penetrated by the ink, which will plainly appear on
the reverse side of the sheet.

An easy but sure test to determine the direction of
the grain in a sheet of paper, which will be found
useful and worth remembering, is as follows:

For instance, the size of sheet is 17x22 inches.
Cut out a circular piece as nearly round as the eye
can judge; before entirely detaching from the sheet,
mark on the circle the 17-inch way and the 22-inch
way; then float the cut out piece on water for a few
seconds; then place on the palm of the hand, taking
care not to let the edges stick to the hand, and the
paper will curl until it forms a cone; the grain of the
paper runs the opposite way from which the paper

tests as to absorbing powers of blotting
can be made between sheets of same weight per
ream by allowing the pointed corner of a sheet to
touch the surface of a drop of ink. Repeat with each
sheet to be tested, and compare the height in each to
which the ink has been absorbed. A well-made
blotting paper should have little or no free fibre dust
to fill with ink and smear the paper.

TEST FOR GROUND WOOD.--Make a streak across
the paper with a solution of aniline sulphate or with
concentrated nitric acid; the first will turn ground
wood yellow, the second will turn it brown. I give
aniline sulphate the preference, as nitric acid acts
upon unbleached sulphite, if present in the paper, the
same as it acts upon ground wood, viz., turning it

Phloroglucin gives a rose-red stain on paper containing
(sulphite) wood pulp, after the specimen has been
previously treated with a weak solution of hydrochloric

About the end of the eighteenth century it became
necessary to make special papers denominated "safety
paper." Their manufacture has continued until the
present day although much limited, largely because
of the employment of mechanical devices which seek
to safety monetary instruments. Such safety papers
are of several kinds.

1. Paper made with distinguishing marks to indicate
proprietorship, as with the Bank of England
water mark, to imitate which is a felony. Or the
paper of the United States currency, which has silk
fibers united with the pulp, the imitation of which is
a felony.

2. Paper made with layers or materials which are
disturbed by erasure or chemical discharge of written
or printed contents, so as to prevent fraudulent

3. Paper made of peculiar materials or color, to
prevent copying by photographic means.

A number of processes may be cited:

One kind is made of a pulp tinged with a stain
easily affected by chlorine, acids, or alkalis, and is
made into sheets as usual.

Water marks made by wires twined among the
meshes of the wire cloth on which the paper is

Threads embodied in the web of the paper.
Colored threads systematically arranged were formerly
used in England for post-office envelopes and exchequer

Silken fibers mixed with the pulp or dusted upon
it in process of formation, as used in the United
States currency.

Tigere, 1817, treated the pulp of the paper, previous
to sizing, with a solution of prussiate of potash.

Sir Win. Congreve, 1819, prepared a colored layer
of pulp in combination with white layers, also by
printing upon one sheet and covering it with an
outer layer, either plain or water-marked.

Glynn and Appel, 1821, mixed a copper salt in the
pulp and afterward added an alkali or alkaline salt to
produce a copious precipitate. The pulp was then
washed and made into paper and thereafter dipped in
a saponaceous compound.

Stevenson, 1837, incorporated into paper a metallic
base such as manganese, and a neutral compound like
prussiate of potash, to protect writing from being tampered

Varnham, 1845, invented a paper consisting of a
white sheet or surface on one or both sides of a colored

Stones, 1851. An iodide or bromide in connection
with ferrocyanide of potassium and starch combined
with the pulp.

Johnson, 1853, employed the rough and irregular
surface produced by the fracture of cast iron or other
brittle metal to form a water mark for paper by taking
an impression therefrom on soft metal, gutta-
percha, etc., and afterward transferring it to the wire
cloth on which the paper is made.

Scoutteten, 1853, treated paper with caoutchoue
dissolved in bisulphide of carbon, in order to render
it impermeable and to prevent erasures or chemical

Ross, 1854, invented water-lining or printing the
denomination of the note in colors while the pulp was
yet soft.

Evans, 1854, commingled a lace or open-work fabric
in the pulp.

Courboulay, 1856, mixed the pulp and applied to
the paper salts of iodine or bromine.

Loubatieres, 1857, manufactured paper in layers,
any or all of which might be colored, or have impressions
or conspicuous marks for preventing forgery.

Herapath, 1858, saturated paper during or after its
manufacture with a solution of a ferrocyanide, a ferriccyanide,
or sulphocyanide of potassium, sodium, or

Seys and Brewer, 1858, applied aqueous solutions
of ferrocyanide of potassium or other salts, which
formed an indelible compound with the ferruginous
base of writing ink.

Sparre, 1859, utilized opaque matter, such as prussian
blue, white or red lead, insoluble in water and
stenciled on one layer of the paper web, forming a
regular pattern; this was then covered by a second
layer of paper.

Moss, 1859, invented a coloring matter prepared
from burned china or other clay, oxide of chromium
or sulphur, and combined it with the pulp.

Barclay, 1859, incorporated with the paper:

1. Soluble ferrocyanides, ferricyanides, and sulphocyanides
of various metals, by forming dibasic salts
with potassium, sodium, or ammonium, in conjunction
with vegetable, animal, or metallic coloring matters.

2. Salts of manganese, lead, or nickel not containing

3. Ferrocyanides, etc., of potassium, sodium, and
ammonium, in conjunction with insoluble salts of
manganese, lead, or nickel.

Hooper, 1860. Employed oxides of iron, either
alone or dissolved in an acid, and mixed with the

Nissen, 1860. Treated paper with a preparation of
iron, together with ammonia, prussiate of potash and
chlorine, while in the pulp or being sized.

Middleton, 1860. Joined together one portion of a
bank note printed upon one sheet of thin paper and
the other part on another; the two were then cemented
together by india-rubber, gutta-percha, or other compound.
The interior printing could be seen through
its covering sheet, so that the whole device on the
note appeared on its face.

Olier, 1861. Employed several layers of paper of
various materials and colors; the middle one was
colored with a deleble dye, whose color was changed
by the application of chemicals to the outer layer.

Olier, 1863. Prepared a paper of three layers of
different thicknesses, the central one having an easily
removable color, and the external layers were charged
with silicate of magnesia or other salt.

Forster and Draper, 1864. Treating paper during
or after manufacture with artificial ultramarine and
Prussian blue or other metallic compound.

Hayward, 1864. Incorporated threads of fibrous
materials of different colors or characters into and
among the pulp.

Loewenberg, 1866. Introduced prussiate of potash
and oxalic acid or such other alkaline salts or acids
into the pulp, in order to indicate fraud in the removal
of cancellation stamps or written marks.

Casilear, 1868. Printed numbers on a fugitive
ground, tint or color in order to prevent alteration of
figures or numbers.

Jameson, 1870. Printed on paper, designs with
ferrocyanide of potassium and then soaked the paper
when dry in a solution of oxalic acid in alcohol.

Duthie, 1872. Made a ground work of writing ink
of different colors by any known means of pen ruling.

Syms, 1876. Produced graduated colored stains,
which were made to partially penetrate and spread in
the pulp web.

Van Nuys, 1878. Colored the Paper with a pigment
and then printed designs with a soluble sulphide.

Casilear, 1878. United two distinctive colored
papers, one a fugitive and the other a permanent

Hendrichs, 1879. Dipped ordinary paper in an
aqueous solution of sulphate of copper and carbonate
of ammonia and then added alkaline solutions of
cochineal or equivalent coloring matter.

Nowlan, 1884. Backed the ordinary chemical paper
with a thin sheet of waterproof paper.

Menzies, 1884. Introduced iodide and iodate of
potassium or their equivalents into paper.

Clapp, 1884. Saturated paper with gallo-tanic acid,
but the ink used on this paper contained ferri-sesquichloride
or other similar preparation of iron.

Hill, 1885. Introduced into paper, ferrocyanide of
manganese and hydrated peroxide of iron.

Schreiber, 1885. Colored paper material with indigo
and with a subsequent treatment of chromates
soluble only in alcohol.

Schreiber, 1885. Treated finished paper with ferric-
oxide salts and with ferrocyanides insoluble in water
but soluble in acids.

Schlumberger, 1890. Impregnated white paper with
a resinated ferrous salt, a resin compound of plumbic
ferrocyanide, and a resin compound of ferrocyanide
of manganese in combination with a salt of molybdenum
and a resin compound of zinc sulphide.

Schlumberger, 1893. Dyed first the splash fibers
and mixed them with the paper pulp. Second. He also
treated portions of the surface with an alkali, so as to
form lines or characters thereon, then immersed the
same in a weak acid, in order to produce water-mark

Carvalho, 1894. 1. Charged the paper with bismuth
iodide and sodium iodide. 2. Charged the paper with
a bismuth salt and iodide of soda in combination with
primulin, congo red or other pigment. 3. Charged the
paper with a benzidine dye and an alkaline iodide.

1895. Applied a compound, sensitive to ink erasing
chemicals, AFTER the writing has been placed on the

Hoskins and Weis, 1895, a safety paper having
added thereto a soluble ferrocyanide and a per-salt of
iron insoluble in water but decomposable by a weak
acid in the presence of a soluble ferrocyanide, as and
for the purpose described. (2) A safety paper having
added thereto a ferrocyanide soluble in water, a
per-salt of iron insoluble in water but easily decomposed
by weak acids in the presence of a ferrocyanide
soluble in water, and a salt of manganese easily decomposed
by alkalis or bleaching agents, substantially
as described.

A review of the various processes for treatment of
paper in pulp or when finished, demonstrates that
time, money and study has been devoted to the
production of a REAL safety paper. Some compositions
and processes have in a measure been successful. It
is found, however, that the ingenuity of those evil-minded
persons, to the detection of whose efforts to
alter the writing in documents this class of invention
has more particularly been directed, finds a ready way
of removing in some cases the evidence which the
chemical reagent furnishes. This being true most of
them have become obsolete, having entirely failed to
accomplish the purposes for which they were invented.

There are but three so-called safety papers now on
the market, if we exclude those possessing printed designs
in fugitive colors.

It is a strange anomaly, nevertheless it is true, that
90 per cent or more of the "raised" checks, notes,
or other monetary instruments which were in their
original condition written on ordinary or so-called
safety paper, never could have been successfully "put
through" but for the gross and at times criminal negligence
of their writers by the failure to adopt precautions
of the very simplest kinds, and thereby
avoided placing temptation in the way of many who
under other circumstances would never have thought
of becoming forgers.

There is no safety paper, safety ink, or mechanical
appliance which will prevent the insertion of words or
figures before other words or figures if a blank space
be left where the forger can place them.




IN considering the important and kindred subjects
of "gall" ink and "pulp" paper, we are not to
forget the LITTLE things connected with their development
and which, indeed, made their invention

The gall-nut contains gallic and gallo-tannic acid,
and which acids, in conjunction with an iron salt,
forms the sole base of the best ink. This nut is
produced by the punctures made on the young buds of
branches of certain species of oak trees by the female
wasp. This same busy little insect was also the
first professional paper maker. She it was who taught
us not only the way to change dry wood into a suitable
pulp, the kind of size to be used, how to waterproof
and give the paper strength, but many more
marvelous details appertaining to the manufacture
of paper which in their ramifications have proved
of inestimable benefit and service to the human
 *   *    *    *    *    *    *

The Greek word "Phoenicia" means literally "the
land of the purple dye," and to the Phoenicians is
attributed the invention of the art of writing.


 "Creator of celestial arts,
     Thy painted word speaks to the eye;
 To simple lines thy skill imparts
     The glowing spirit's ecstasy."

The oldest piece of literary composition known in
the oldest book (roll) in existence is to be found in
the celebrated papyrus Prisse, now in the Louvre at
Paris. It consists of eighteen pieces in Egyptian
hieratic writing, ascribed to about the year B. C.

While the papyrus plant has almost vanished from
Egypt, it still grows in Nubia and Abyssinia. It is
related by the Arab traveler, Ibn-Haukal, that in the
tenth century, in the neighborhood of Palermo in
Sicily, the papyrus plant grew with luxuriance in the
Papirito, a stream to which it gave its name.

Du Cange, 1376, cites the following lines from a
French metrical romance, written about that time, to
show that waxen tablets continued to be occasionally
used till a late period:

 "Some with antiquated style
     In waxen tablets promptly write;
 Others with finer pen, the while
     Form letters lovelier to the sight."

The laws of Greece were promulgated by means of
MSS. on linen, as they were also in Rome, and in addition
to linen; cloth and silk were occasionally used.
Skins of various kinds of fish, and even the "intestines
of serpents" were employed as writing materials.
Zonaras states that the fire which took place
at Constantinople in the reign of Emperor Basiliscus
consumed, among other valuable remains of antiquity,
a copy of the Iliad and Odyssey, and some other ancient
poems, written in letters of gold upon material formed
of the intestines of a serpent. We are also informed
by Purcelli that monuments of much more modern
dates, the charter of Hugo and Lothaire, A. D. 933
(kings of Italy), preserved in the archives of Milan,
are written upon fish skins.

Constantine authorized his soldiers dying on the
field of battle to write their last will and testament with
the point of their sword on its sheath or on a shield.

B. C. 270. The Jewish elders, by order of the
high priest, carried a copy of the law to Ptolemy Philadelphus,
written in letters of gold upon skins, the
pieces of which were so artfully put together that the
joinings did not appear.

No monuments of Hebrew writing exist which are
not posterior even to the Christian era, with the exception
of those on the coins of the Maccabees, which
are in the ancient or what is termed the Samaritan
forms of the Hebrew letters. This coinage took place
about B. C. 144.

The most ancient specimen of Hebrew ink writing
extant is alleged to have been written A. D. 489.
It is a parchment roll which was found in a Kariat
synagogue in the Crimea. Another, brought from
Danganstan, if the superscription be genuine, has a
date corresponding with A. D. 580. The date of still
another of the celebrated Hebrew scriptural codices,
about which there is no dispute, is the Hilel codex
written at the end of the sixth century. Its name is
said to be derived from the fact that it was written at
Hila, a town built near the ruins of the ancient Babel;
some maintain, however, that it was named after the
man who wrote it.

One of the earliest specimens of Greek (wax) writing
is an inscription on a small wooden tablet now in
the British museum. It refers to a money transaction
of the thirty-first year of Ptolemy Philadelphus, B. C.

In England the custom of using wooden tallies, inscribed
as well as notched in the public accounts, lasted
down to the nineteenth century.

Gold writing was a practice which died out in the
thirteenth century.

The first discovery of Greek papyri in Egypt took
place in the year 1778. It is of the (late of A. D.
191 and outside of Egypt and Herculaneum is the only
place in which the Greek papyri has ever been found.

Square capital ink writing in Latin of ancient date
is found on a few leaves of an MS. of Virgil, which is
attributed to the close of the fourth century, and the
first rustic MS. to which an approximate date can be
given, belongs to the close of the fifth century.

The most ancient uncial ink writing extant, belongs
to the fourth century, whilst the earliest mixed uncial
and miniscule writing pertains to the sixth century.

The oldest extant Irish MS. in the round Irish
hand is ascribed to the latter part of the seventh century,
while the earliest specimen of English writing
of any kind extant dates about the beginning of the
eighth century.

The gold pen won by Peter Bales in his trial of
skill with Johnson, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth,
if really made for use, is probably the first
modern example of such pens. Bales was employed
by Sir Francis Walsingham, and afterwards kept a
writing school at the upper end of the Old Bailey.
In 1595, when nearly fifty years old, he had a trial of
skill with one Daniel Johnson, by which he was the
winner of a golden pen, of a value of L20, which, in
the pride of his victory, he set up as his sign. Upon
this occasion John Davis made the following epigram
in his "Scourge of Folly:"

 "The Hand and Golden Pen, Clophonion
 Sets on his sign, to shew, O proud, poor soul,
 Both where he wonnes, and how the same he won,
 From writers fair, though he writ ever foul;
 But by that Hand, that Pen so borne has been,
 From place to Place, that for the last half Yeare,
 It scarce a sen'night at a place is seen.
 That Hand so plies the Pen, though ne'er the neare,
 For when Men seek it, elsewhere it is sent,
 Or there shut up as for the Plague or Rent,
 Without which stay, it never still could stand,
 Because the Pen is for a Running Hand."

The sign of the "Hand and Pen" was also used by
the Fleet street marriage-mongers, to denote "marriages
performed without imposition."

Robert More, a famous writing master, in 1696
lived in Castle street, near St. Paul's churchyard,
London, at the sign of the "Golden Pen."

The ink horn in Queen Elizabeth's time was in popular
use as a receptacle for holding writing ink, and
Petticoat lane in London was the great manufacturing
center for them. Bishops Gate in the same vicinity
was known as the "home of the scribblers."

Beginning with 1560 and for many years thereafter
the sign of the Five Ink Horns was appropriately
displayed by Haddon on the house in which he dwelt.

Away back in the time of King Edward III (1313-
1377), royalty was employing the pen, both quill and
gold, as badges. This is indicated in the accompanying
interesting list to be found in the Harlein library:

"King Edward the iii. gave a lyon in his proper
coulor, armed, azure, langue d'or. The oustrich
fether gold, the pen gold, and a faucon in his
proper coulor and the Sonne Rising.

"The Prince of Wales the ostrich fether pen and all arg.

"Henry, sonne of the Erl of Derby, first Duk
of Lancaster, gave the red rose uncrowned, and
his ancestors gave the Fox tayle in his prop. coulor
and the ostrich fether ar. the pen ermyn.

"The Ostrych fether silver, the pen gobone
sylver and azur, is the Duk of Somerset's bage.

"The ostrych fether silver and pen gold ys the

"The ostrych fether pen and all sylver ys the

"The ostrych fether sylver, pen ermyn is the
Duke of Lancesters.

"The ostrych fether sylver and pen gobone is
the Duke of Somersets."
 "What's great Goliath's spear, the sevenfold shield,
 Scanderbeg's sword, to one who cannot wield
 Such weapons? Or, what means a well cut quill,
 In th' untaught hand of him that's void of skill?"
                                   --COCKER, A. D. 1650.

The oldest ink (Russian) documents that exist in
Russia are two treaties with the Greek emperors, made
by Oleg, A. D. 912, and Igor, A. D. 943. Christianity,
introduced into Russia at the beginning of the eleventh
century by Vladimir the Great, brought with it many
words of Greek origin. Printing was introduced there
about the middle of the sixteenth century. The oldest
printed book which has been discovered is a Sclavonic
psalter, the date Kiev, 1551, two years after a press
was established in Moscow.

It is said that the skins of 300 sheep were used in
every copy of the first printed Bible. Hence the old
saying, "It takes a flock of sheep to write a book."

What would have been the comment in olden times,
to learn that it takes almost a forest of trees to print
the Sunday edition of some of our great newspapers?

Wax (shoemakers') was first employed on
documents A. D. 1213, although it was white wax which
was used to seal the magna charta, granted to the
English barons by King John, A. D. 1215. In 1445
red wax was much employed in England, but the earliest
specimen of red sealing wax extant is found on
a letter dated August 3, 1554.

Pliny enumerates and describes eight different
kinds of papyrus paper:

1. Charter hieratica--sacred paper, used only for
books on religion. From adulation of Augustus it
was also called charta augusta and charta livia.

2. Charta amphitheatrica--from the place where it
was fabricated.

3. Charta fannia--from Fannius, the manufacturer.

4. Charta saitica--from Sais in Egypt. This appears
to have been a coarser kind.

5. Charta toeniotica--from the place where made,
now Damietta. This was also of a less fine quality.

6. Charta claudia. This was an improvement of
the charta hieratica, which was too fine.

7. Charta emporitica. A coarse paper for parcels.

There was also a paper called macrocollum, which
was of a very large size.

Of all these, he says, the charta claudia was the best.

The ink-written rolls of papyrus were placed vertically
in a cylindrical box called capsula. It is very
evident that a great number of such volumes might
be comprised in this way within a small space, and
this may tend to explain the smallness of the rooms
which are considered to have been used for containing
the ancient libraries.

At Mentz, in Upper Germany, is a leaf of parchment
on which are fairly written twelve different kinds of
handwritings in six different inks also a variety of
miniatures and drawings curiously done with a pen
by one Theodore Schubiker, who was born without
hands and performed the work with his feet.

In Rome the very plate of brass on which the laws
of the ten tables are written is still to be seen.

Stylographic inks should not be used upon records,
most of them are aniline. The absence of solid matter,
which makes them desirable for the stylographic
pen, unfits them for records.

Never add water to ink. While an ink which has
water as its base might, under certain conditions bear
the addition of an amount equal to that lost by evaporation,
as a rule the ink particles which have become
injured will not assimilate again.

One of the best methods to cleanse a steel pen after
use, is to stick it in a raw (white) potato.

Inks which are recommended as permanent, because
water will not remove them, while it does immediately
obliterate others, may not be permanent as against
time. These inks may be the best for monetary purposes,
but, owing to an excess of acid in them, may
be dangerous in time to the paper.

It is interesting, since coal tar has acquired so important
a position in the arts, to trace how its various
products successively rose in value. The prices in
Paris, as given by M. Parisal in 1861, are as follows:

 Coal,.................................. 1/4 c. per lb.
 Coal tar,.............................. 3/4  "      "
 Heavy coal oil,.............. 2 1/2 a 3 3/4  "      "
 Light coal oil,............. 6 3/4 a 10 1 /4 "      "
 Benzole,........................ 10 1/2 a 13 "      "
 Crude nitro-benzole,................ 57 a 61 "      "
 Rectified nitro-benzole,............ 82 a 96 "      "
 Ordinary aniline,............. $3.27 a $4.90 "      "
 Liquid aniline violet,.............. 28 a 41 "      "
 Carmine aniline violet,....... 32 c. a $1.92         "
 Pure aniline violet, in powder,.... $245 a $326.88   "

The last is equal to the price of gold. And so, says
M. Parisal, from coal, carried to its tenth power, we
have gold; the diamond is to come.

Modern chemistry offers many formulas and
methods of rendering visible secret or sympathetic
inks. Writing made with any of the following solutions,
and permitted to dry, is invisible. Treatment
by the means cited will render them visible.

     Solution.               After treatment.   Color produced.
 Acetate of lead.          Sulphuret of potassiurin.   Brown.
 Gold in nitrohydroChloric acid.   Tin in same acid.   Purple.
 Nut-galls.                        Sulphate of iron.   Black.
 Dilute sulphuric acid.            Heat.               Black.
 Cobalt in dilute                  Heat.               Green.
    nitrohydrochloric acid.
 Lemon juice.                      Heat.               Brown.
 Oxide of copper in                Heat.               Blue.
     acetic acid and salt
 Nitrate of bismuth.           Infusions of Nutgalls.  Brown.
 Common starch.                    Iodine in alcohol.  Purple.
 Colorless iodine.                 Chloride of lime.   Brown.
 Phenolphtalin.                    Alkaline solution.  Red.
 Vanadium.                         Pyrogallic acid.    Purple.

The Patent Office at Washington, D. C., for more
than forty years employed a violet copying ink made
of logwood. From 1853 until 1878 it was furnished
by the Antoines of Paris, of the brand termed
"Imperial;" in later years it was supplied by the Fabers.
Since 1896 they have been using "combined" writing

The following facts elicited by the unrollment of a
mummy at Bristol, England, in 1853, were communicated
to the Philosophical Magazine, by Dr. Herapath.
He says:

"On three of the bandages were hieroglyphical
characters of a dark color, as well defined as if
written with a modern pen; where the marking fluid
had flowed more copiously than the characters required,
the texture of the cloth had become decomposed
and small holes had resulted. I have no
doubt that the bandages were genuine, and had
not been disturbed or unfolded; the color of the
marks were so similar to those of the present
'marking ink,' that I was induced to try if they
were produced by silver. With the blowpipe I
immediately obtained a button of that metal; the
fibre of the linen I proved by the microscope, and
by chemical reagents, to be linen; it is therefore
certain that the ancient Egyptians were acquainted
with the means of dissolving silver, and of applying
it as a permanent ink; but what was their solvent?
I know of none that would act on the
metal and decompose flax fibre but nitric acid,
which we have been told was unknown until discovered
by the alchemist in the thirteenth century,
which was about 2200 years after the date of this
mummy, according as its superscription was read.

"The Yellow color of the fine linen cloths which
had not been stained by the embalming materials,
I found to be the natural coloring matter of the
flax; they therefore did not, if we judge from this
specimen, practice bleaching. There were, in some
of the bandages near the selvage, some twenty or
thirty blue threads; these were dyed by indigo,
but the tint was not so deep nor so equal as the
work of the modern dyers; the color had been
given it in the skein.

"One of the outer bandages was of a reddish
color, which dye I found to be vegetable, but could
not individualize it; Mr. T. J. Herapath analyzed
it for tin and alumina, but could not find any.
The face and internal surfaces of the orbits had
been painted white, which pigment I ascertained
to be finely powdered chalk."

 "I am a scribbled form, drawn with a Pen
 Upon a Parchment, and against this fire
 Do I shrink up."
                         --KING JOHN, v, 7.

 "With much ado, his Book before him laid,
 And Parchment with the smoother side display'd;
 He takes the Papers, lays 'em down agen,
 And with unwilling fingers tries his Pen;
 Some peevish quarrel straight he tries to pick,
 His Quill writes double, or his Ink's too thick;
 Infuse more Water; now 'tis grown too thin,
 It sinks, nor can the characters be seen."
                         --Persius, translated by Dryden.


"These operations are liquors of a different nature,
which do destroy one another; the first is an infusion
of quick-lime and orpin; the second a water turn'd
black by means of burned cork; and the third is a
vinegar impregnated with saturn.

"Take an ounce of quick-lime, and half an ounce of
orpin, powder and mix them, put your mixture into
a matrass, and pour upon it five or six ounces of water,
that the water may be three fingers breadth above
the powder, stop your matrass with cork, wax, and a
bladder; set it in digestion in a mild sand heat ten or
twelve hours, shaking the matrass from time to time,
then let it settle, the liquid becomes clear like common

"Burn cork, and quench it in aqua vitae, then dissolve
it in a sufficient quantity of water, wherein you
shall have melted a little gumm arabick, in order to
make an ink as black as common ink. You must
separate the cork that can't dissolve, and if the ink be
not black enough, add more cork as before.

"Get the impregnation of saturn made with vinegar,
distilled as I have shewn before, or else dissolve
so much salt of saturn as a quantity of water
is able to receive: write on paper with a new
pen dipt in this liquor, take notice of the place
where you writ, and let it dry, nothing at all will

"Write upon the invisible writing with the ink
made of burnt cork, and let it dry, that which you
have writ will appear as if it had been done with common

"Dip a little cotton in the first liquor made of lime
and orpin, but the liquor must be first settled and
clear; rub the place you writ upon with this cotton
and that which appeared will presently disappear, and
that which was not seen will appear.


Take a book four fingers breadth in bigness, or
bigger if you will: write on the first leaf with your
impregnation of saturn, or else put a paper that you
have writ upon between the leaves; turn to t' other
side of the Book, and having observed as near as may
be the opposite place to your writing, rub the last leaf
of the book with cotton dipt in liquor made of quick-
lime and orpin, nay and leave the cotton on the place
clap a folded paper presently upon it, and shutting
the book quickly, strike upon it with your hand four
or five good strokes; then turn the book, and clap it
into a press for half a quarter of an hour; take it out
and open it, you'll find the place appear black, where
you had writ with the invisible ink. The same thing
might be done through a wall, if you could provide
something to lay on both sides, that might hinder the
evaporation of the spirits.


"These operations are indeed of no use, but because
they are somewhat surprizing, I hope the curious will
not take it ill, that I make this small digression.

"It is a hard matter to explicate well the effects I
have now related, nevertheless I shall endeavour to
illustrate them a little, without having recourse to
sympathy and antipathy, which are general terms, and
do not explicate nothing at all; but before I begin, we
must remark several things.

"The first is, that it is an essential point to quench
the coal of cork in aqua vitae, that the visible ink may
become black with it.

"Secondly, that the blackness of this ink does
proceed from the fuliginosity or sooty part of the coal
of the cork which is exceeding porous and light, and
that this fuliginosity is nothing but an oil very much

"Thirdly, that the impregnation of saturn, which
makes the invisible ink, is only a lead dissolved, and
held up imperceptibly in an acid liquor, as I have said,
when I spoke of this metal.

"Fourthly, that the first of these liquors in a mixture
of the alkali and igneous parts of quick-lime with
the sulphureous substance of arsenick; for the orpin
is a sort of arsenick, as I said before.

"All this being granted, as no body can reasonably
think otherwise, I now affirm, that the reason why the
visible ink does disappear, when the defacing liquor is
rubbed upon it, is that this liquor consisting of an
alkali salt, and parts that are oily and penetrating,
this mixture does make a kind of soap, which is able
to dissolve any fuliginous substance, such as burnt
cork, especially when it has been already rarefied and
disposed for dissolution by aqua vitae, after the same
manner as common soap, which is compounded of oil,
and an alkali salt, is able to take away any spots made
by grease.

"But it may be demanded, why after the dissolution
the blackness does disappear.

"I answer, that the fuliginous parts have been so
divided, and locked up in the sulphureous alkali of
the liquor, that they are become invisible, and we see
every day that very exact solutions do render the thing
dissolved imperceptible, and without colour.

"The little alkali salt which is in the burnt cork
may also the better serve to joyn with the alkali of
the quick-lime, and to help the dissolution.

"As for the invisible ink, it is easy to apprehend
how that appears black, when the same liquor, which
serves to deface the other, is used upon it. For whereas
the impregnation of saturn is only a lead suspended by
the edges, of the acid liquor, this lead must needs revive,
and resume its black colour, when that which held it
rarefied is entirely destroyed; so the alkali of quick-
lime being filled with the sulphurs of arsenick becomes
very proper to break and destroy the acids, and to
agglutinate together the particles of lead.

It happens that the visible ink does disappear by
reason that the parts which did render it black have
been dissolved; and the invisible ink does also appear
because the dissolved parts have been revived.

"Quick-lime and, orpiment being mixed and digested
together in water, do yield a smell much like
that which happens when common sulphur is boiled in
a lixivium, of tartar. This here is the stronger, because
the sulphur of arsenick is loaded with certain salts
that make a stronger impression on the smell. Quick-
lime is an alkali that operates in this much like the
salt of tartar in the other operation; you must not
leave the matrass open, because the force of this
water doth consist in a volatile.

"The lime retains the more fixt part of the arsenick
and the sulphurs that come forth are so much the
more subtile, as they are separated from what did fix
them before, and this appears to be so, because the
sulphurs must of necessity pass through all the book to
make a writing of a clear and invisible liquor appear
black and visible: and to facilitate this penetration the
book is strook, and then turned about, because the spirit
or volatile sulphurs do always tend upwards; you must
likewise clap it into a press, that these sulphurs may
not be dispersed in the air. I have found, if that these
circumstances are not observed, the business fails.
Furthermore that which persuades me that the sulphurs
do pass through the book, and not take a circuit
to slip in by the sides, as many do imagine, is
that after the book is taken out of the press, all the
inside is found to be scented with the smell of this

"There is one thing more to be observed, which is,
that the infusion of quick-lime and orpin be newly
made, because otherwise it will not have force enough
to penetrate. The three liquors should be made in
different places too; for if they should approach near
one another, they would be spoiled.

"This last effect does likewise proceed from the defacing
liquor; for because upon the digestion of quick-
lime and orpin, it is a thing impossible for some of the
particles will exalt, stop the vessel as close as you
will; the air impregnated with these little bodies does
mix with, and alter the inks, insomuch that the visible
ink does thereby become the less black, and the invisible
ink does also acquire a little blackness."

Priceless MSS. in immense number written in
periods between the third and thirteenth centuries
have been destroyed by modern scholars in experimentations
based on the false theory that the faded
inks on them, whether above or below other inks
(palimpsests), contained iron.

Sulphocyanide of potassium is highly esteemed as a
reagent for the restoration of writing, if iron is present.
Theoretically, it is one of the best for such a purpose
if employed with acetic acid. It causes, however, such
a decided contraction of parchment as to be utterly
useless, but for paper MSS. is excellent. The metallic
sulphides generally pronounced harmless, causes
the writing to soften and become illegible in a short
time. On the other hand, yellow prussiate of potash,
with acetic acid in successive operations is of great
service in treating the most perplexing palimpsests.

Ink which badly corrodes a steel pen need not
necessarily be condemned; it may contain just the qualities
which make it bind to the paper and render it
more durable.

Some inks which are fairly permanent against time
if not tampered with, can be removed with water.
This is true of the most lasting of inks,--the old

In ancient Latin MSS. the words fuco, fucosus
and fucus are found to be frequently employed. It
is interesting to note the variations in their meaning:

FUCO.--To color, paint or dye a red color.

FUCOSUS.--Colored, counterfeit, spurious, painted, etc.

FUCUS.--Rock lichen (orchil) red dye. Red or
purple color. The (reddish) juice with which bees
stop up the entrance to their hives. Bee glue.

FUCUS.--A drone.

In Japan the word "ink" possesses more than
one meaning Four hundred Inks--one degree of
sixty miles." (See Geographical Grammar, of 1737, page 3.)

 "Say what you will Sir, but I know what I know;
 That you beat me at the Mart, I have your hand to show;
 If the skin were Parchment, and the blows you gave were Ink,
 Your own Hand-writing would tell you what I think."
                              --Comedy of Errors, iii, 1.

The first book ever printed in Europe, to wit, a
copy of "Tully's Offices," is carefully preserved in Holland.

White's Latin-English Dictionary, 1872, distinguishes
the words Atramentum and Sutorium in their interpretations.

ATRAMENTUM.--The thing serving for making
black. A black liquid of any kind. A writing ink.
Shoemaker's black. Blue vitriol.

SUTORIUM.--Belonging to a shoemaker.

Before the employment of blotting paper a pounce-
box which contained either powdered gum sandarach
and ground cuttle-fish bones, or powdered charcoal, sand
and like materials was used by shaking it like a pepper-
box on freshly written manuscripts.

Blotting paper as first employed consisted of very
thin sheets and of a dark pink color, which fashion
changed to blue in later years.

Good blotting paper of the present time removes
fully two thirds of fresh ink when used on HARD
finished paper.

Blotting paper should not be used upon records.
Its use removes the body of the ink, leaving discoloration,
but nothing for penetration. In inks intended
for copying, the employment of blotting paper is
especially bad.

 "Thou hast most traitorously corrupted the youth of
the realm in erecting a Grammar School; and
whereas, before, our forefathers had no other
books but the score and the tally, thou hast
caused printing to be used, and contrary to the
King, his crown and dignity, thou hast built a
paper mill."
                              --2 King Henry VI, iv, 5.

Mr. Knight relates a conversation between Dr. Gale
and a gentlemen from the West relative to the introduction
of some material into ink to prevent moulding.
Dr. Gale had astonished his friend by stating--
"will prevent the deposition of the ova of infusoria
animalcutae;" when it was suggested that he add
"and the sporadic growths of thallogenic cryptograms
and be fatal to the fungi."

The University of Pennsylvania claims to possess
the oldest piece of writing in the world and which is
on a fragment of a vase found at Nippur. It is an
inscription in picture writing supposed to have been
made 4,500 years before Christ.

Wafers were not introduced until the close of the
sixteenth century.

The Persians in ancient times, some 800 years
B. C., were in the habit of celebrating certain festivals
and it is related that in the month of December one
of their ceremonies was that of driving the Dives
(spirits) out of their houses.

For this purpose the Magi wrote certain words
with saffron on skins, papyrus or wood and then
smoked it over a fire. The spell thus prepared was
glued or nailed to the inside of the door, which was
painted red. The priest then took sand, which he
spread with a long knife, whilst he muttered certain
prayers and then throwing it on the floor the enchantment
was complete; and the Dives were supposed
immediately to vanish; or at least to be deprived of
all malignant influence.

Aristotle's work on the Constitution of Athens,
B. C. 340, or probably the copy made by Tyrannio,
was discovered transcribed underneath farm accounts
of land in the district of Hermopolis in Egypt in the
reign of Vespasian, A. D. 9 to 79.

In MSS. written before the invention of printing
and indeed for many years after, the title page if any,
will be found on the last page with the date.

 "Let lawyers bawl and strain their throats,
     'Tis I that must the lands convey,
 And strip their clients to their coats,
     Nay, give their very souls away!"
               --DEAN SWIFT, "On ink."

"It is certain that in their treaties with the
European Greeks of Constantinople the Arabs
always stipulated for the delivery of a fixed number
of manuscripts. Their enthusiasm for Aristotle is
equally notorious; but it would be unjust to imagine
that, in adopting the Aristotelian method, together
with the astrology and alchemy of Persia,
and of the Jews of Mesopotamia and Arabia, they
were wholly devoid of originality."

The "Arabic" numerals which we now employ are
probably of Indian origin, having been brought by
Arab traders from the East and introduced by them
into Spain in the middle ages, whereas they spread
over Europe coming in use in England perhaps about
the eleventh century. But whether India invented
them or borrowed from Greek or other traders from
the West is unknown.

The ancient writing implement known as the stylus
was made of every conceivable material, sometimes
with the precious metals, but usually of iron, and on
occasion might be turned into formidable weapons.
It was with his stylus that Caesar stabbed Casca in the
arm, when attacked in the senate by his murderers;
and Caligula employed some person to put to death a
senator with a like instrument.

In the reign of Claudius women and boys were
searched to ascertain whether there were any styluses
in their pen cases. Stabbing with the pen, therefore,
is not merely a metaphorical expression.

Sir William Gore Ouseley, a famous diplomat and
savant, who was living at the beginning of the nineteenth
century, during his long residence in India
spent a fortune in the collection of ancient Persic and
Arabic MSS. In 1807 he permitted them to be examined
by Beloe, whose description of a few will bear

"No. 1. A Koran, in the Cufi or Cufic character,
said to be written by Ali, the son-in-law of
Mahammed, the Arabian prophet. The substance
upon which this curious manuscript is written
appears to be a fine kind of asses' skin or vellum,
and the ink of a red, brownish colour. The ends
of verses are marked by large stars of gold. If
written by Ali, it must be nearly twelve hundred
years old, but at all events may be considered as
very ancient, many hundred years having elapsed
since the use of the Cufi character has given way
to the Neskh, Suls, etc., etc. This manuscript is
still in excellent preservation."

"No. 4. Beharistan, 'The Garden of Spring.'
A book on ethics and education, illustrated by interesting
anecdotes and narratives, written both in
verse and prose, in imitation of the Gulistan, or
'Rose garden' of Saadi, and like it divided into
eight chapters, composed by Nuruddin, Abdurrahman
Jami, ben Ahmed of the village of Jam, near
Herat. He was born A. H. 817 and died at the
age of 81 years (about A. D. 1492). As a grammarian,
theologist and poet he was unequalled, and
his compositious are as voluminous as they are
excellent. The enormous expense which people
have incurred to possess accurate copies of and to
adorn and embellish his works, is no small proof
of the great estimation in which they were held by
the literati of the East."

"This volume is a small folio, consisting of 134
pages, written in the most beautiful Nastilik
character, by the famous scribe Mohammed Hussein,
who, in consequence of his inimitable penmanship,
obtained the title of Zerin Kalm, or 'Pen of
Gold.' The leaves are of the softest Cashmirian
paper, and of such modest shades of green, blue,
brown, dove, and fawn colors, as never to offend
the eye by their glare, although richly powdered
with gold. The margins, which are broad, display
a great variety of chaste and beautiful delineations
in liquid gold, no two pages being alike. Some
are divided into compartments, others are in running
patterns, in all of which the illuminations
show the most correct, and at the same time fanciful
taste. Many are delineations of field sports,
which, though simple outlines of gold, are calculated
to afford the highest gratifications to the lover of
natural history, as well as the artist, from the
uncommon accuracy with which the forms of the
elephant, rhinoceros, buffalo, lion, tiger, leopard,
panther, lynx, and other Asiatic animals are portrayed.
It appears, by the names which are inserted
at the bottom of the pages, that several
artists were employed in the composition and
combination of these ornaments, one for the landscape,
another for the animals, and a third for the
human figures, all of whom have given proofs of
superior merit. It would take almost a month to
inspect all the excellencies of this rare manuscript;
for, although so richly ornamented in gold, the
chaste colors of the ground prevent any glaring
obtrusion on the eye, and oblige the examiner to
place it in a particular point of light to see the
exquisite and minute beauties of the delineations.
The paintings, which are meant to illustrate the
subject of the book, are done in colors, and in the
center of the leaves.

"On the back of the first page are the autographs
of the Emperors of Hindustan, Jehangir
and his son Shajehan."

"No. 5. 'A Diwan i Shahi.' A Diwan or Collection
Odes by Shahi,' transcribed by the famous
penman Mir Ali, in Bokar