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Subject: Iron gall ink

Iron gall ink

From: Jack C. Thompson <tcl>
Date: Wednesday, February 20, 2002
Richard Aitken <richard [at] wyasbrad__demon__co__uk> writes

>I have read an article recently on ways to remove acid from iron
>gall inks. On of the methods described was the use of an envelope
>made of "Hollytex" and supporting the document in the envelope and
>immersing in boiling water. The article does not mention the length
>of time.
>   "50-100% of the destructive (soluble iron II) ions are removed
>    from the paper, as well as acids. Rag paper appeared stronger
>    and more flexible after treatment"
>I was wondering if anybody else knows of this method and the

It is one thing to have recently read an article; I recently read an
article about medieval bookbinding which was published in 1879.

Would you please identify the author, title of the article, date and
journal of publication.

While it is true that immersion in water (the universal solvent)
will remove many things from paper, one of the things is sizing and
boiling water acts more rapidly than water at ambient temperature.

It is not unrealistic to reflect upon the utility of paper as coffee
filters.  Cellulose (paper) filters are used because they sequester
so well.  If one boils paper to remove localized contaminants (iron
gall ink?), what is to prevent the rest of the paper from becoming

Although rag paper is generally stronger than, for instance, paper
manufactured from wood pulp, there is quite a difference between rag
paper made from pulp from a stamper and rag paper made from pulp
produced by a hollander.  The manner of sizing and the materials
used must also be taken into consideration.

All of which brings us back to who, what, when, and where.

Jack Thompson
Thompson Conservation Lab.
7549 N. Fenwick
Portland, Oregon USA
503-735-3942  (phone/fax)

                  Conservation DistList Instance 15:59
               Distributed: Wednesday, February 27, 2002
                       Message Id: cdl-15-59-015
Received on Wednesday, 20 February, 2002

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