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  1. The podcast Stationery Orbit pointed me to a couple of articles discussing how x-ray fluorescence spectroscopy was used to 'uncover' the redacted portions of Marie Antoinette's love letters. "A team of researchers, led by Anne Michelin from the Research Center for Conservation in Paris, tested whether common forensic techniques could differentiate between the inks used to write the passages and those used to cross them out. The composition of the two inks is very similar, which made the project challenging. After exploring analytical techniques, Michelin’s group found they could use the consistent copper-to-iron ratio between the inks in some of the original letters to uncover crossed-out words between the putative lovers. Using x-ray fluorescence spectroscopy and a suite of data processing tools, they deciphered the redacted text, which included words like “beloved,” “adore,” and “madly.” Historians had hypothesized that the Count’s great-nephew censored the letters to protect the von Fersen family’s reputation. But after analyzing the overlying redaction inks and comparing their composition to the inks that the Count used to write the letters, the researchers found that the inks were nearly identical and are now confident that it was the Count himself who censored the letters. Michelin, reached over email, says that result surprised her: “We didn’t think we would have such strong evidence.” see this link for website or this link for even more background info
  2. Here is the my latest pen! This is an ebonite pen, with an acrylic window within the section and the barrel. It is a capless pen with a twist mechanism, similar to the safety pen one. Twisting the section onto the barrel allows the nib to come in and out. The nib is juicy and flexible (Wahl eversharp #2). The filling mechanism is a copy of Fountainbell's bulkfiller with a modified magnetic (neodymium magnet) mechanism to retain the filling pellet. The barrel end is decorated with an amethyst. The pen length is 12,6 mm length closed and 13,4 mm opened, the maximum diameter is 16mm. The filling capacity is 3,5ml with a regular stroke but can be extended to 4,2ml expelling the air of the pen, penpoint up and resucking ink again. Here are the pictures and the X-ray of the pen.





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