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Iron Gall Water Resistance Comparison



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43 minutes ago, yazeh said:

I have no claim. 

I was just conveying what I'd read. That indigo, as Bokaba mentioned, was added in Stephen's writing fluid, in 183? (Not sure of the date) to attenuate the corrosive nature of iron gall on the newly introduced steel nibs. You've seen the bottles, I assume, where it's mentioned that it'll write blue but will oxidizes to black.... 

 

Ah, I see. Okay then. I'm not used to people just sharing a fact without a reason. I am still pretty sure that the reading I've done on more ancient IG inks indicates that such colorants and natural dyes were used earlier than this time period. I believe the 19th century is recognized as a time of significant commercialization of inks, whereas previously people often maintained their own recipes and mixed their own inks widely, but I am pretty sure that historical ink recipes document the use of indigo in iron gall ink long before Stephen's. See this:

 

New insights into iron-gall inks through the use of historically accurate reconstructions | Heritage Science | Full Text (springeropen.com)

 

David Carvalho's book does generally argue that indigo appeared in his research to be uniquely well suited as an additive to IG ink because it appeared not to affect its durability. 

 

However, Pharmacist is making a different claim. His claims about pigment retention has nothing to do with the inks changing color to black because of the oxidation process, but rather, with the retention of all components such that they will not be washed away, when two types of the traditional IG components are retained, which make the ink sensitive to light and oxygen oxidation, whereas modern IG inks apparently rely on a single element (tannic acid?) that makes the inks more light stable in the bottle but which also, according to Pharmacist, results in less solid fixation of the components on the page after oxidation. 

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A Smug Dill
On 1/18/2021 at 6:30 AM, bokaba said:

I think the only "true" iron galls on the market are Diamine, ESSRI, and Akkerman.

 

I'm not sure why Hero 232 Blue-Black would be excluded from that list; it certainly is still in the market.

 

 

While agonising over which inks to order this week, I finally decided I really don't need to know, much less find out by first-hand testing, how KWZ Ink Blue Black and ESSRI perform; I already have more blue-black iron-gall ink (and several other colours, too) in full bottles than I'll ever use up. There is no such thing as having complete product knowledge of all the market offerings, even just within a narrow category; what's complete today may not be so in a week's time, and so it's pointless and just an exercise in vanity for me to try, especially as a private project.

 

Phew. 😅

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct for valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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9 hours ago, arcfide said:

 

Ah, I see. Okay then. I'm not used to people just sharing a fact without a reason. I am still pretty sure that the reading I've done on more ancient IG inks indicates that such colorants and natural dyes were used earlier than this time period. I believe the 19th century is recognized as a time of significant commercialization of inks, whereas previously people often maintained their own recipes and mixed their own inks widely, but I am pretty sure that historical ink recipes document the use of indigo in iron gall ink long before Stephen's. See this:

 

New insights into iron-gall inks through the use of historically accurate reconstructions | Heritage Science | Full Text (springeropen.com)

 

David Carvalho's book does generally argue that indigo appeared in his research to be uniquely well suited as an additive to IG ink because it appeared not to affect its durability. 

 

However, Pharmacist is making a different claim. His claims about pigment retention has nothing to do with the inks changing color to black because of the oxidation process, but rather, with the retention of all components such that they will not be washed away, when two types of the traditional IG components are retained, which make the ink sensitive to light and oxygen oxidation, whereas modern IG inks apparently rely on a single element (tannic acid?) that makes the inks more light stable in the bottle but which also, according to Pharmacist, results in less solid fixation of the components on the page after oxidation. 

Thanks first for sharing the link. Eye opening. 

Actually yes, I was stating a claim, I was just too tired last night to word it. 

The dye was added to iron gall inks to attenuate the corrosive nature of iron nibs. As iron nibs appeared in early 19th century, then it makes sense to conclude that consistent adding of dyes began in the XIX century by manufactures, namely Stephens. 

 

However, history as we know is not black and white. While there are basically three types of historic ink families, namely, carbon based, plant based and iron gall, they were often mixed and matched. After all they didn't live in a world of precision as we do now. Depending what you had around you, you made your ink and wrote, that is, if you could read and write ;) and ink factories didn't exist in 2nd century, up to probably Herbin and even so :D

 

 

 

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21 minutes ago, A Smug Dill said:

 

I'm not sure why Hero 232 Blue-Black would be excluded from that list; it certainly is still in the market.

 

 

While agonising over which inks to order this week, I finally decided I really don't need to know, much less find out by first-hand testing, how KWZ Ink Blue Black and ESSRI perform; I already have more blue-black iron-gall ink (and several other colours, too) in full bottles than I'll ever use up. There is no such thing as having complete product knowledge of all the market offerings, even just within a narrow category; what's complete today may not be so in a week's time, and so it's pointless and just an exercise in vanity for me to try, especially as a private project.

 

Phew. 😅

It's such a relief isn't it. ;)

KWZ is wet.... Essri is dry, according to what I've read :D

 

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3 hours ago, yazeh said:

Thanks first for sharing the link. Eye opening. 

Actually yes, I was stating a claim, I was just too tired last night to word it. 

The dye was added to iron gall inks to attenuate the corrosive nature of iron nibs. As iron nibs appeared in early 19th century, then it makes sense to conclude that consistent adding of dyes began in the XIX century by manufactures, namely Stephens. 

 

However, history as we know is not black and white. While there are basically three types of historic ink families, namely, carbon based, plant based and iron gall, they were often mixed and matched. After all they didn't live in a world of precision as we do now. Depending what you had around you, you made your ink and wrote, that is, if you could read and write ;) and ink factories didn't exist in 2nd century, up to probably Herbin and even so :D

 

I don't know enough to say for certain, but I view the acidity reduction hypothesis for dyes in IG inks to be somewhat tenuous. I've seen it claimed, but I haven't seen strong evidence. In the case of the 19th century showing a significant degree of dye presence in inks because of the introduction of iron nibs, I think we should be careful of false attributions of causation in the presence of correlations, that is, it doesn't strictly make sense as you put it. 

 

There are a few reasons that I have for this view. 

 

1. Scholars and scribes were already known to use dyes and pigments in their IG ink recipes long before the 19th century. This was specifically because strict IG ink goes down a very pale color before darkening, and so the natural thing to do is to add dyes in order to make the writing more visible, as you have noted. This in itself would be sufficient justification for having pigments in the ink, and an appeal to Occam's Razor could be made that this is likely the biggest reason for adding dyes to the ink.

 

2. Writing manuals of the 19th century emphasize the use of steel nibs, but also emphasize that they are disposable and that they will wear out with writing, not only by ink corrosion but simply by the act of writing with them. In other words, steel nibs when used in earnest and professionally at the time were not very long lasting at all, due to nib wear as well as flexing eventually rendering them unfit for professional use, though they might have been retired at that point for a brief longer stint as personal writing instruments. See the writing notes of the famous Engrosser's on their tools and habits. Moreover, even with dyes, all professionally endorsed business inks of the time would have corroded nibs no matter what, but not likely at a rate that would be sufficient to justify added ingredients to reduce their acidity, *particularly* in light of the negative consequences to permanence and durability that came with the introduction of dyes. This makes the justification of reduced acidity relatively less motivated. 

 

3. There is a second invention to steel nibs that I believe strongly plays into this entire discussion. Previous to the 19th century, dye components for inks were relatively precious and expensive. The indigo trade was considered rather lucrative, and most other dyes and pigments were also laboriously produced. The large, wholesale production of high quantities of inks in bottles was *not* an economical proposition before the 19th century, and most businesses were in charge of at least some phase of their own ink production leading to the final writing fluid. However, in the early 19th century, aniline was synthesized and discovered. By the mid-19th century, aniline dyes and other techniques of mass manufacture of ink components became not only affordable, but highly economical to produce in large quantities. This lead to, at least according to my reading, a bit of a craze in creating "writing fluids" that were interesting, colored dyes designed for writing for fun. They began to use such writing fluids for personal letters and all manner of other things. However, this was considered, at least by some, to be a different thing than true "ink" which was expected to have a higher degree of permanence. However, it would have been a natural evolution of the introduction of a wide synthetic dye industry to begin integrating dyes and IG inks together (one of which was an aniline dye associated with indigo) to form new inks that would have behaved similar to traditional IG inks. However, long testing throughout the 19th century seems to have uncovered by a number of authors a limitation in this technique, so that blue-black ink remained the primary ink of the time due to its permanent nature and the affordability of its manufacture. 

 

it seems to me that there is less motivating evidence for someone at that time to use dyes and pigments in IG ink in order to reduce acidity (which was never going to be perfect anyways) versus the continued use of pigments in IG ink to make the writing more visible when first written, coupled with the new introduction of the aniline dye technology that had recently been invented to increase the economy of scale achievable with inks, and potentially making it more affordable to mass produce a quality ink that could be sold in bottles to various businesses. It seems much more likely and justified to me, based on the writings I've read, that the widespread standardization of inks on the "blue black" formulation was due to the introduction of aniline dyes and better chemistry techniques and knowledge of the time, *not* on a reduction of acidity due to the introduction of steel nibs, which were disposable items. 

 

Put another way, a "Stephen's Ink" formulation was well known to people by the start of the 19th century, but the innovation of that time period was probably more one of being able to produce it affordably and thus market bottles of the stuff, not the actual invention of "blue black" ink itself. 

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First of all Bokaba, I hope you don't mind if we've hijacked the thread. 

 

1) Yes and no. It really depends how the ink is made. If the ink is left for two months as per certain it writes quite dark instantly, at least when I checked the ink recipes thread for inspiration. I haven't made ink yet, so I cannot tell. 

Also each household, made their own ink, (assuming they had need for it), monasteries had their own formula etc. so there was no fix standardized recipe so to speak. 

 

2) The argument is that the rate of corrosion would've been less than no dye at all. Otherwise , they would've used the quill. 

 

3) I wish you could write in a more concise manner :) I agree that ink making is not/was not static at the time and "improved" with each discovery, as you said. But then again, it depends on the type of ink you use and who makes it. Again, if the ink is made properly it should oxidizes immediately. I have a bottle of commercial iron gall (for dip pen) that I yet have to use. But looking at several recipes, I didn't see a lot of stuff added. 

Check the home made recipes here:

 

4) Agreed with comment on Stephen's... :)

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