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Subject: Ethanol soluble ink

Ethanol soluble ink

From: Annlinn Kruger Grossman <agro>
Date: Tuesday, January 9, 2001
In the process of treating a manuscript dated 1833, components of an
ink solubilized in ethanol. In this area of the manuscript a color
shift from brown to magenta/mauve occurred. I would like to know if
anybody else has observed such a phenomenon.

The manuscript was silked. Extensive testing was done on several
sites including an anomalous area of the text where a line was
crossed out and the ink was smudged and areas of the paper without
ink. Testing with calcified deionized water (pH 8), ethanol, and
50/50 water/ethanol was done: through the silk; through the layer of
starch adhesive residue after the silk was removed (by a very light
application of water); and on the surface of after the adhesive
residue had been swelled (with water) and "scraped" off. Testing
consisted of increasingly aggressive drop/blot tests and then tests
where very small pieces of blotter were saturated with the test
solutions and left for 10 -15 minutes under plexi-glass with very
light weights; the ethanol blotters were repeatedly saturated as
they dried out during the test period. Testing indicated ink
stability; the only color picked up on the test and support
blotters in the ink test sites matched the pale brown color picked
up in the blank paper sites and was attributed to solubilization of
paper degradation products.

The manuscript was humidified (humidification chamber) in
preparation for fluxion and blotter washing with calcified deionized
water.  Prior to placement on the screen the manuscript was brushed
out with ethanol.  In the area of the crossed out text components of
the ink solubilized and were deposited on the support blotter;
colors included brown with areas of orange, green, pink, and blue.
There was a slight color shift in the cross lines from brown to
mauve/brown.  The area was brushed out again with very little
evidence of  solubilization or color shift.  The washing proceeded
as planned and the color shift of the cross lines seemed slightly
more pronounced as the paper was cleaned during fluxion and blotter
washing.  The manuscript was dried between spun polyester and felts
with plexiglass and moderate weight. After drying the color shift
was remarkable--having gone from mauve/brown to magenta/hot pink.
Localized application of ethanol was used on the suction table to
reduce the effect in this area.

The good news, for intellectual content, is that the text in the
crossed out area is much more legible. However, I really would like
to know what this ink is. The ink fluoresces under infrared
illumination. (This was checked after the washing--infrared testing
is not routinely done prior to treatment in our lab.) The rest of
the manuscript is clearly iron gall ink and the cross lines are
contemporary with the original text as far as we know.

Any ideas? Any conservation alchemy to reverse the color shift? I
still have the blotters and can do testing. All ideas welcomed. My
colleagues are stumped.

Annlinn K. Grossman

                  Conservation DistList Instance 14:37
                 Distributed: Tuesday, January 9, 2001
                       Message Id: cdl-14-37-022
Received on Tuesday, 9 January, 2001

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