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Modern Ink To Write On Old Parchment - Diamine Registrar's?

vellum parchment ferrogallium ink

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33 replies to this topic

#1 duna

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Posted 28 September 2015 - 15:39

I have to perform an unusual task - I have to update some texts on an ancient parchment book. I will see the book (an ancient church journal, informal enough but 5 centuries old) in a few days.  For more important documents on other more important and precious books a calligrapher is hired but this is a 'modest' journal and traditionally must be updated by a member of the congregation so the  professionals are out of the question. I was asked to write on it as the old guys are no longer confident about this  and they need someone with a firmer hand (the fools :) ).  Too much time passed since the last time and they cannot remember which ink was used the  last time, but it was something tragically normal and commercially available.

I will use a modern FP (a Pelikan or a Montblanc or a Lamy, as for the latter I have calligraphy nibs if needed, I will see ) and  I have some modern inks (Pilot, Diamine, Aurora, Pelikan, Montblanc) but I need something with good permanence (the book is centuries old and in excellent condition for its age  and maybe good for another half millennia - I find this a little discomforting) but I was planning to use DIamine Registrar's as an ink with the correct combination of colour, permanence and good behaviour - all this in theory. I never used this ink on real parchment, only on modern papers. Any previous experience? Any suggestion? Thanks for any idea/exchange of experience on this unusual topic.



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#2 CAG_1787

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Posted 28 September 2015 - 16:38

Hmm, as I recall, iron gall ink will eventually (we're talking decades here) break down the paper on which it's written. Maybe a bulletproof or pigmented ink might be better.
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#3 Pterodactylus

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Posted 28 September 2015 - 17:20

I think you can't go wrong with a modern iron gall ink.
Your writing will last for centuries (without harming the paper)

Beside the Diamine IG ink personally I like the ESS Registrars Blue-Black.

The Rohrer&Klingner IG inks are also great (Salix, Scabiosa) if you like it more blue or purple.
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#4 Randal6393

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Posted 28 September 2015 - 17:47

Yes, sometimes IG inks hurt paper. If originally made with too much acid. The modern, fountain-pen versions are usually much better buffered and less stressful on parchment. The Registrar's Ink is a specific formula for producing an IG ink, a product of science and study. It originated in studies of old manuscripts, which ones survived and why. That lead to the adoption of the Registrar's Ink formula. English inks produced with the name "Registrar's Ink" are required to follow the classic formula.

 

Thus, would say Diamine Registrar's Ink and the ESS Registrar's Blue-Black are guaranteed to be safe and can be expected to last centuries. The R & K IG inks are reputed to be produced to much the same standard. So, you should be good with any one of the four discussed above.

 

Best of luck,


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Randal

From a person's actions, we may infer attitudes, beliefs, --- and values. We do not know these characteristics outright. The human dichotomies of trust and distrust, honor and duplicity, love and hate --- all depend on internal states we cannot directly experience. Isn't this what adds zest to our life?
 


#5 duna

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Posted 28 September 2015 - 18:18

Thanks to everybody for sharing precious knowledge about the properties of modern iron gall ink. Thus I'm relieved, that ink is exactly what I need - and I already have it.

If interesting, I will inform about the operation's eventual success. At least the ink is no longer a problem.



#6 the_gasman

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Posted 28 September 2015 - 18:43

I know that the advocacy of Registrar's Ink would still be correct but the author of this thread specifies that the medium is parchment, not paper.

Parchment and iron-gall ink lived in happy symbiosis for many centuries before upstart fountain pen ink hit the scene.

David.

#7 64alex

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Posted 28 September 2015 - 19:00

An alternative to IG ink could be a pigmented ink such as the platinum carbon ink.  It is pure black, waterproof, permament, not fading over time and not toxic to the paper.  

 

Alessandro



#8 e-beth

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Posted 28 September 2015 - 19:05

Thanks to everybody for sharing precious knowledge about the properties of modern iron gall ink. Thus I'm relieved, that ink is exactly what I need - and I already have it.

If interesting, I will inform about the operation's eventual success. At least the ink is no longer a problem.

Any chance of seeing pictures of the church journal? I would love to see some of the old writing in it and I'm sure others would as well!  


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#9 duna

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Posted 28 September 2015 - 23:22

Any chance of seeing pictures of the church journal? I would love to see some of the old writing in it and I'm sure others would as well!  

 

I would be delighted of course but to obtain access to archive material (not to mention taking images of it) proper authorizations are required,  these are afaik seldom granted and only for solid academic purposes. I will probably never see the book again in my life, after I'm finished.



#10 tinkerteacher

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Posted 29 September 2015 - 06:28

Hmm, as I recall, iron gall ink will eventually (we're talking decades here) break down the paper on which it's written. Maybe a bulletproof or pigmented ink might be better.

 

Actually pigmented or particle based inks like Sailor's or Platinum's won't work on real parchment, as it's non-absorbant. They would just rub off once dry.


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#11 kwzi

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Posted 29 September 2015 - 06:43

Yes, sometimes IG inks hurt paper. If originally made with too much acid. The modern, fountain-pen versions are usually much better buffered and less stressful on parchment. The Registrar's Ink is a specific formula for producing an IG ink, a product of science and study. It originated in studies of old manuscripts, which ones survived and why. That lead to the adoption of the Registrar's Ink formula. English inks produced with the name "Registrar's Ink" are required to follow the classic formula.


I do think that you have a bit to idealistic assumptions :P

Bases for modern IG Inks were made in the XIX century, while very reliable and accurate works being published from 1880-1890. It was very slow moving work because scientist in these times were simply making a series of inks with different proportions and than checked how the ink aged in different conditions.
There was fast development of ink composition in 1910-1920 years, and the idea was of using mixture of tannic and gallic acid or only gallic acid with addition of carboxylic acids instead of strong mineral acids. The last major update of Standard Registrar's inks formula was made in 30's of XX century and it was using of only Gallic acid, iron sulphate and tartaric acid and some kind of biocide for ink making.
Development of dye based inks and world war caused almost complete stop to development of IG Inks, the last works on IG inks that were meant to improve formula were taken in early 50's.

Reliable studies on nature of complexes of iron with different tanning agents were made in late 60's and late 70' but were focusing on use of tannic acid as corrosion inhibitor for steel and iron. In 80's there were few papers describing complexes of iron and other transition metals with gallic acid and it derivatives, but no ink mentioned there.

Studies on old manuscripts, their composition and preservation accelerated in late 80's with improvement of procesing power of computers, so many analysis methods become cheap and available - EPR, X - Ray fluorescence spectroscopy and few others.

So the story looks like that we first set the composition of Registrar's inks, after that we studied the nature of chemicals in them, and on the end we started checking why some old manuscripts look better than others :D

Modern IG inks like ESSR or Diamine Registrar's are of better quality than those made half century ago, but this was not because major improvements in composition of inks, but rather because improvement in processing and quality of components used in ink making. R&K IG inks do not look like typical Registrar's inks so it is likely that they made some effort on improving the formula on their own. Old Lamy BB was IMHO was significantly better made than above - I do not have opinion on old Montblanc IG inks ;)
I have a lot of tape - and I won't hesitate to use it!

#12 Algester

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Posted 29 September 2015 - 13:24

how old of a parchment are we talking about 18th century, 16th century tech? if ever then I think carbon based inks has to do it just like old times

#13 Randal6393

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Posted 29 September 2015 - 17:02

@kwzi: Will bow to your superior knowledge of the process. Still, my recommendation stands -- the four inks discussed are probably the best available for longevity, compatability with the medium and style of the journal, etc. Like you, I loved the old Lamy BB formulation. One of these days, will have to try a bottle of R & K ink. The Montblanc IG inks were nicely formulated but too dry for my tastes.

 

@Algeister: A registrar's journal is supposed to last centuries, with the possibility of exposure to water and the other elements. Problem with carbon-based inks of the past is that most of them can be washed off a page. In fact, palimsests are books that have been cleaned off and overwritten with other texts. Fortunately for paleography, with the proper use of lighting, many older written-over texts can be recovered. This is why we can read many of the documents that were written in the past. But it's also why carbon-based inks were not used in registrar's journals. IG inks are mentioned and were used since the time of the Romans, at least. So we find documents throughout history that were written to last, next to documents that were written in a more perishable media.

 

Enjoy,


Yours,
Randal

From a person's actions, we may infer attitudes, beliefs, --- and values. We do not know these characteristics outright. The human dichotomies of trust and distrust, honor and duplicity, love and hate --- all depend on internal states we cannot directly experience. Isn't this what adds zest to our life?
 


#14 duna

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Posted 29 September 2015 - 23:16

kwzi, thanks for your authoritative explanation on the genesys of IG inks. Randal, and all others, I really appreciate your contributions, I love this thread as I knew almost nothing on modern iron-gall inks (apart to the mandatory random exposure reading on FPN here ant there)  . Just in case, I placed another order for Diamine Registrar's Ink (and a few more Diamine FP ink  'colours' :P as I was at it, Sargasso Sea as it was running low and Onyx Black to compare it to Aurora Black, and Sepia 5cc vial to test it) , as I will leave a bottle at the workbench.

Randal, you nominated palimpsests: I was of the opinion (maybe I am wrong) palimpsest pages were usually scraped, not simply washed, in order to get rid of old pagan blasphemy written on it and to use the vellum for less mundane purposes (luckily for us, thus unwillingly preserving somehow the invaluable previous text that can be now revealed by modern optical and chemical technology). Maybe the matter is extremely complex (and fascinating...) and both occurrences (and more) can be met.



#15 dcwaites

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Posted 30 September 2015 - 01:14

I would go with the Iron-Gall Registrar's ink. Whether the book is parchment or paper, modern IG ink won't harm it.

 

To get a proper black once it has dried, you probably want to make sure your pen is a wet writer, or use a suitable dip pen. By suitable, I mean a clerical Post-Office or Scholar's nib rather than a manga drawing nib or very fine flex nib. That is because the clerical nibs are designed for writing, while the other types are for artwork (drawing or calligraphy).

 

Do lots of experimentation first. You can get some parchment-like papers from an art supply shop or good stationers. Make sure that what ever pens you take with you will put down enough Registrar's ink to dry to a good black.

 

Have a good look at the existing writing before you start as you may wish to use a pen/nib that isn't too different from what was used originally.


Edited by dcwaites, 30 September 2015 - 01:14.

fpn_1412827311__pg_d_104def64.gif

 

 

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#16 Randal6393

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Posted 30 September 2015 - 02:35

A quick look at Wikipedia says that palimsests were washed for several centuries before being scraped and washed. When scraped, it is almost impossible to recover the original writing. But, if just washed, many texts can be recovered.

 

The list of famous examples is interesting. One of the most interesting is the Novgorod Tablet. It is a wax tablet that has many texts written on it and impressed into the wood backing. In addition, one of the early books had two texts written on it under the present writing.

 

Enjoy,


Yours,
Randal

From a person's actions, we may infer attitudes, beliefs, --- and values. We do not know these characteristics outright. The human dichotomies of trust and distrust, honor and duplicity, love and hate --- all depend on internal states we cannot directly experience. Isn't this what adds zest to our life?
 


#17 Algester

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Posted 30 September 2015 - 03:14

@kwzi: Will bow to your superior knowledge of the process. Still, my recommendation stands -- the four inks discussed are probably the best available for longevity, compatability with the medium and style of the journal, etc. Like you, I loved the old Lamy BB formulation. One of these days, will have to try a bottle of R & K ink. The Montblanc IG inks were nicely formulated but too dry for my tastes.
 
@Algeister: A registrar's journal is supposed to last centuries, with the possibility of exposure to water and the other elements. Problem with carbon-based inks of the past is that most of them can be washed off a page. In fact, palimsests are books that have been cleaned off and overwritten with other texts. Fortunately for paleography, with the proper use of lighting, many older written-over texts can be recovered. This is why we can read many of the documents that were written in the past. But it's also why carbon-based inks were not used in registrar's journals. IG inks are mentioned and were used since the time of the Romans, at least. So we find documents throughout history that were written to last, next to documents that were written in a more perishable media.
 
Enjoy,

well just to be safe how about iron gall with gum arabic for extra permanence... again with this tech no one really used FPs back then and modern Iron gall cant be put the test of time so we just dont know how stable they are as some people have reported R&K IG inks arent light fast
and I dont think the very first bible was written with IG to make those fancy colors... though I do know they used gold leaf to an extent
but for fancy colors I presume they are crushed precious stones and metals suspended in a thick and permanent medium or was this only used in painting...

Edited by Algester, 30 September 2015 - 03:17.


#18 Venemo

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Posted 30 September 2015 - 04:18

I'd be interested in hearing about your experiences when you do the job. :)



#19 Sandy1

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Posted 01 October 2015 - 14:28

Hi,

 

I support the suggestion of Member Algester:

 

As parchment is treated animal hide, gum arabic will have greater adhesion/penetration than an FP iron-gall ink which does not include gum arabic. (I'd reach for a trusty Brause Ornament nib.)

 

A more receptive surface may also be achieved by pre-treating the area to be written upon with pounce, such as gum sandarac.

 

Please let us know how it goes.

 

Bye,

S1

 

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To maintain the provenance of your addition, kindly consider including a note on acid-free tissue paper, which should not stress the binding.


Edited by Sandy1, 02 October 2015 - 06:07.

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#20 Algester

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Posted 01 October 2015 - 16:32

A quick look at Wikipedia says that palimsests were washed for several centuries before being scraped and washed. When scraped, it is almost impossible to recover the original writing. But, if just washed, many texts can be recovered.
 
The list of famous examples is interesting. One of the most interesting is the Novgorod Tablet. It is a wax tablet that has many texts written on it and impressed into the wood backing. In addition, one of the early books had two texts written on it under the present writing.
 
Enjoy,

I'm also aware that books way way way way way back then were washed to be reused as such people like Plato's and Archimedes's works were lost in time (well its more like the Muslims were the ones who over wrote after translating the notebooks/books) so not really lost in time but yeah you get the drift don't blame them they were just doing their job for collecting worldly intel after the greek kingdom fell, the damage was more so done when the library of Alexandria was burned, sent the western world back to the dark ages, then to the medieval ages which I presume where the use of parchment was more acceptable, but history is kinda blurry to me
But washing books back then served its purpose as I know back then they have to recycle books because the people carrying these books were nomadic people so making parchment on the go wasnt the best practical idea cause some palimsests have arabic over greek on them when they were scanned for contents as was one of aristotle's works were written over with another scholar's work during the high ages of muslim intellects

Edited by Algester, 01 October 2015 - 17:02.






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