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



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tinkerteacher

Yes, let us not forget that the fountain pen was invented by an Arab scientist in one of ancient Baghdad's many universities.

 

... and here I am typing this on an iPad, created by an Arab-American.

 

Interesting to think my two favorite methods of commincation, fountain pen and iPhone/iPad were both created by Arabs.

Edited by tinkerteacher

Semper Faciens, Semper Discens

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

 

I will update everybody for sure. The first start isn't that promising: first meeting, scheduled for tomorrow, postponed 2 weeks at least. The congregation is around six centuries old and they don't care if the update takes a month or one year, evidently. Anyway I will inform about this experience... as soon as I have some.

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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.

 

I will update. Excellent suggestion the gum sandarac, I will try to locate some, otherwise I will source it online.

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  • 8 months later...

I resurrect this to give some bit of informations and to thank everybody for active help, precious infos and support. I have done it.

The book is a rather old magnificent codex ( sorta of , I ignore if this is the right word to describe it) bound in fabric and parchment (very old, centuries old, hardly the original bound though, maybe). Handwritten on parchment, size roughly 'in folio' I think (quite a large book, like a volume of an encyclopedia). The first pages were really written 500 years ago, in another era. Over the centuries the writers used many different calligraphies, ranging from elegant stylish pompous Baroque to humble plain italics (corsivo) in the XVIII and XIX centuries. All writers signed with names and surnames after copying the names and titles of authorities they were copying in the book. Content is rather dull, a list of decrees and sentencies by countless old Venetian courts and magistratures and some contracts maybe that were relevant for the congregation or ordered written in the permanent books of that peculiar church by authorities (these authorities are for the most part long gone). There is even a quite remarkable entry relative to a fine elevated against the church's congregation in the XVIII century for presence of garbage near the church (evidently in the past, everybody was responsible to maintain somehow clean the area in front of their premises, without exceptions for churches) that is duly copied in all its parts, including date and amount of the fine. Most entries are hardly legible (some are in Latin) as difficult abbreviations are widely used and hard to read for the uninitiated. It is by no means a 'fancy' book, it is a 'working' one , a mere tool mandatory by law, that the congregation still finds some excuse to update sometimes even if it is no longer mandatory to do so. The 'modern' part is in beautiful paper, creamy and thick and clear like new, added in the end at some point roughly 200 years ago as the parchment part run out of sheets, and was evidently deemed too expensive to 'refill' with expensive parchment for such a lowly ledger. Rows were designed since the start on the paper pages with a pencil so it was easy to write straight and nicely formatted , thank to the good work done two centuries ago.

Despite reassurancies (copyists in the past were always members of the congregation, professionals were never hired for this, and some wrote really bad and quickly) I tried to write at my best, days of work to write some three pages, as this is the chance of a lifetime and I probably will never see the book again in my lifetime (who knows?).

Responsibles in charge were pleased though as the final resul looked very nice even compared to the past entries. I had sourced 'sandracca' (gum sandarac) in a local art shop for good measure but I discovered the last part of the book is in paper, so no need of that. Writing on old paper was a challenge (I ignore if they smoothed the paper pages before writing but I don't think so) as the beautiful tiny ribs we pay so dearly today to have on the best visit cards were present on all paper sheets and quite a challenge to write over, expecially on the obverse of the pages (the 'volta' in italian) that are quite rough compared to modern art paper. I wrote as suggested with Diamine Registrar's Ink and it 'aged' quite well afaik. I used Lamy Vista and Joy with calligraphy nibs (mostly 1.1 as text was long) and they were instrumental to the good results of my humble efforts, I had every kind of dip pen nibs for calligraphy sourced on-purpose along with dip pens barrels and full paraphernalia but the Lamys were much more safe and effective over the paper's tiny ribs. Unfortunately, no pictures (not allowed). But the job was enchanting, and the ancient closet where the book is stored in the Archive (forbidden to everybody including members, like the library in the 'In the Name of the Rose' U.Eco novel, except it's real) even more so. I'm really grateful for the many suggestions received.

Edited by duna
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Indeed it was. One of the more unusual experiences of my life. The fact the book had been in use for more than five centuries (despite restorations and new paper pages added) is stupefying as well. Old paper is amazing, such a perfect surface and colour after two centuries. Old parchment even more so: the perfect smoothness of the vellum is simply unbelievable to the inexperienced (I haven't written on it though obviously, as that older part of the book is already all written up).

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Thank you for updating us. You were privileged to be chosen to make the additions. It makes me smile that the humble Lamy Vista was the perfect instrument for this occasion. It is such an underrated pen.

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Well I had with me also an Al-Star (I recruited all suitable pens I had around including a Safari) that I tried; I previously rigged all suitable nibs on a disparate array of inked Lamys in order to be capable to switch nib quickly mantaining a consistent pen section and flow behaviour, simply changing pen. Nib thicknesses and results on paper privileged the nibs on the Vista and the Joy in the end : calligraphy nibs, in the 'thinnest' declinations, mostly due to space constraints even if results were obviously much nicer with the broader nibs. Lamy pens behaviour was excellent; in fact, I had not any problem, the pens were totally not an issue, their perfect and consistent behaviour (due to their well-known and generally appreciated good modern engineering) was expected and gave no surprises with broad or thin nibs. Past copysts used even thinner nibs, hair-thin, with less and less shadings as time advanced, in order to save paper as documents were long and available writing surface scarce, expensive and 'finite'. Use of abbreviations was substantial; despite this, rhetoric long and complex dates and signatures are present, with titles for relevant authorities, all duly copied.

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Setriode, you are right it was in fact (as it turned out) a great chance for a unique experience. Nobody wanted to do this, responsibles in charge asked directly to me as a member with a fountain pen (they spotted my Montblanc 147 while signing something, nothing they know about what lies in my drawers) and a decent calligraphy. At first I supposed they were bragging around with additions to be made to a book more than 500 years old, imagined it was some kind of set of old journal-like books, the oldest going back that much. Reality sometimes goes beyond imagination, I cannot describe the pain in seeing the actual codex presented to me. But, there I was, decree of the Chancery Council of the congregation in front of me, text ready for copying on the actual book, so for good measure I prepared a draft on modern paper of suitable size in front of them, and they were pleased, so I pressed on. Took days but time is not a problem there as you can imagine.

Despite success, paper was a real challenge, as it reacted as no modern paper I had used before. Ribs on paper had a much deeper texture than similar modern paper and nibs didn't glide at all on it, on the contrary they almost dragged on the paper, tactile sensation was great but they slowed down things. With modern pens and inks, slow careful movements, and much patience, this turned out not to be a problem, but with dip pens this would have been a nightmare. Carefully examining previous entries, this was visible as straight lines were always influenced by the deep texture of the quality paper, never really straight, no shades, so past copyists had to go slow as well. Probably such paper was great for writing before metal nibs were developed, or simply they wanted to add a good paper as the book was already ancient.

Edited by duna
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Yes, let us not forget that the fountain pen was invented by an Arab scientist in one of ancient Baghdad's many universities.

 

... and here I am typing this on an iPad, created by an Arab-American.

 

Interesting to think my two favorite methods of commincation, fountain pen and iPhone/iPad were both created by Arabs.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petrache_Poenaru

Peace and Understanding

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Thank you for the very interesting and informative posting. I've read it several times now and learn something new every time ;-)

The only constant is change.

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This was — and is — absolutely fascinating. Thank you for posting this saga, it's a privilege to read about it. I'll add that the "modern" paper is likely to be what is known as "rag" stock, and probably mostly linen and wool in content. Thanks again, and best regards.

 

Leon Jester

Roanoke Virginia USA

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Thank LWJ2, you are too kind! I totally agree to the 'rag' paper idea, paper should be basically 'charta lintea' , or 'pergamino de pano', rag stock. If I will be lucky enough to meet and talk to some expert in the future (the archive is 'often' visited by scholars) I will ask for sure about it.

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