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Origin of blue black ink


yazeh
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Since several intriguing and passionate posts about blue black inks were posted, I thought I'll add some historical context. 

When steel nibs were created and soon replaced goose quills (in early XIX century), in order to deal with the corrosive nature of iron gall inks, ink makers added dyes to the iron gall ink, which apparently tempered its corrosiveness. 

This made the written word legible in blue before the ink oxidized and turned black. Often iron gall ink writes in a pale, pasty grey colour until the oxidization process happenes and turns into the black colour. and overtime to brown....

I am sure many of the esteemed members with scientific background can explain it in more detail. 

 

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Note on the bottle: This ink writes a clear blue and changes to an intense Black.

 

Please feel free to add, correct or comment :)

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I said this before and some people jumped on me for it.  Blue-Black is not a color.  It is a color change.  Dark Blue is the color people are talking about so often when they use the term Blue-Black.

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Blue Black is an accurate descriptor of what is in the bottle, though. It goes down (dark) blue, and dries black.

 

In the case of iron galls, that is. Most non-gall blue blacks are just dark blues, that are referencing the behaviour of traditional inks.

Vintage. Cursive italic. Iron gall.

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2 hours ago, kronos77 said:

Blue-Black is not a color.

 

 

In your world perhaps.

#51 Kobe Kano Cho 😁

"Simplicate and add Lightness."

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9 hours ago, yazeh said:

Since several intriguing and passionate posts about blue black inks were posted, I thought I'll add some historical context. 

When steel nibs were created and soon replaced goose quills (in mid XIX century), in order to deal with the corrosive nature of iron gall inks, ink makers added indigo dye to the iron gall ink, which apparently tempered its corrosiveness. 

This made the written word legible in blue before the ink oxidized and turned black. Often iron gall ink writes in a pale, pasty grey colour until the oxidization process happenes and turns into the black colour. and overtime to brown....

I am sure many of the esteemed members with scientific background can explain it in more detail. 

 

spacer.png

 

Note on the bottle: This ink writes a clear blue and changes to an intense Black.

 

Please feel free to add, correct or comment :)

 

Hi Yazeh,

 

thanks for the interesting post. 🙂

As You show a nice bottle of Stevens BB, I'd like to add:

Do you know who once worked at Stevens and produces a great iron gall blue-black ink in this tradition today!?

Spoiler:

https://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/226244-stephens-radiant-blue/?do=findComment&comment=2602139

 

Best

Jens

 

Edited by Schaumburg_Swan
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2 hours ago, Schaumburg_Swan said:

 

Hi Yazeh,

 

ihanks for the interesting post. 🙂

As You show a nice bottle of Stevens BB, I'd like to add:

Do you know who once worked at Stevens and produces a great iron gall blue-black ink in this tradition today!?

Spoiler:

https://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/226244-stephens-radiant-blue/?do=findComment&comment=2602139

 

Best

Jens

 

Wow, Jens!!!!

Amazing. All the roads end to Essri. It seems I finally have to get that and Gutenberg :)

 

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2 hours ago, yazeh said:

Wow, Jens!!!!

Amazing. All the roads end to Essri. It seems I finally have to get that and Gutenberg :)

 

 

Looks like a good plan! 🙂

G10 is really unique as a sepia-black. As you know, to ESSRI there alternatives like Diamine's Registrars/Akkerman#10 - a bit different, but as great inks.

Edited by Schaumburg_Swan
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I'm quite certain iron gall blue-then-black was in use with quills.  I think the coloring was made from logwood.  Indigo was very expensive, I highly doubt they'd use it for ink.  Or maybe they did.

And no, tempering the ink would decompose and ruin the ink.  You used your nib, you bought new nibs.  Yes, acid corrodes steel.  Plain water also corrodes steel.  (just slower)

i-g ink turning brown is because the iron gallate decomposes, from UV light for example.

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10 minutes ago, wallylynn said:

i-g ink turning brown is because the iron gallate decomposes, from UV light for example.

Which is interesting when you come to think of it -- woad/indigo used as dye goes down as sort of yellowish -- but then turns blue in open air (I went to a class/demo on using woad for dyeing a number of years ago, and you can watch it happen, much as oxidation changes the colors of iron gall inks). 

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

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12 hours ago, wallylynn said:

I'm quite certain iron gall blue-then-black was in use with quills.  I think the coloring was made from logwood.  Indigo was very expensive, I highly doubt they'd use it for ink.  Or maybe they did.


And no, tempering the ink would decompose and ruin the ink.  You used your nib, you bought new nibs.  Yes, acid corrodes steel.  Plain water also corrodes steel.  (just slower)

i-g ink turning brown is because the iron gallate decomposes, from UV light for example.

Stephens' ink (pictured above) was created in 1834. (obviously not the above bottle!). He used specifically Indigo. I can give you the references if you want :)

Obviously during the interloping period between quills and the new iron nib they were used. What I meant was the addition of dye was supposed to slower the corrosion of the nibs....

 

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13 hours ago, wallylynn said:

I'm quite certain iron gall blue-then-black was in use with quills.  I think the coloring was made from logwood.  Indigo was very expensive, I highly doubt they'd use it for ink.  Or maybe they did.

And no, tempering the ink would decompose and ruin the ink.  You used your nib, you bought new nibs.  Yes, acid corrodes steel.  Plain water also corrodes steel.  (just slower)

i-g ink turning brown is because the iron gallate decomposes, from UV light for example.

All the logwood I used as a kid was more purplish. (It's used to be in all chemistry sets.)  I do think logwood is used for the purplish colored IG inks. Not the blue.

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The traditional ink histories I have read indicate the indigo and other blue dyes for iron gall ink were in popular use long before steel nibs came into common use. 

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