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Subject: Letter books

Letter books

From: Mike Hodgson <hodgsonm>
Date: Wednesday, November 10, 2004
Andres Felipe Robayo Franco <robayo_andres [at] hotmail__com> writes

>I have some letter books, those that were used in the first half of
>the 20 century. They have in the first part an index and the second
>empty pages of copying paper, I would like to know if somebody can
>explain how they were used, I haven't found any explanation on how
>letters were copied to them. Were used with carbon copy sheets? or
>other media? How? Thanks for any explanation,

Before the introduction of carbon paper in the late nineteenth
century making copies of letters was carried out in the following

The letter book which consisted of from 250 to 1000 unsized sheets
of tissue paper numbered and bound strongly.  A copy of a letter was
made by dampening one of the tissue pages with a brush, or by using
a water soaked cotton cloth which was placed on top of the tissue.
Oiled paper protected the adjacent dry tissues in the book. The
letter to be copied was inserted under the dampened tissue 'write'
way up, the book closed and placed in a letter press (now to be
found in conservation studios all over the world) for two minutes.
When taken out there was a 'copy' on the tissue sheet which was a
transfer of a small amount of ink from the surface of the letter
onto the copy book page which can be read through the tissue because
of its thinness.

Despite the availability of carbon paper letter copy books were used
well into the 20th century because in legal circles it was accepted
as a true copy of the original which was not the case with carbon

Michael Hodgson
Conservation Officer
Glamorgan Record Office

                  Conservation DistList Instance 18:23
                 Distributed: Monday, November 22, 2004
                       Message Id: cdl-18-23-006
Received on Wednesday, 10 November, 2004

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