[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

VMs: Re: Facts and Fallacies


Gordon asked

>...........if the VMS is written in oak gall ink
>which turns brown with age. I don't know how quickly this
>happens - does anyone out there have any figures?

At least some 'black' ink faded to a light brown colour relatively
quickly, though this was on paper not parchment, and I don't know
exactly how long it took, or what the formula for the ink would
have been. I have just looked up some old letters in my family
archives and the most recent relevant example I can find would be
this one dated 1902 which says -

"...... and the sad fellow's foot and leg were dreadfully caught
and are now become vastly swollen and much discoloured, and
all the toes quite black as could be, black as this ink I write with;
they had better had the leg off some time since, and saved the
poor lad such tribulation......."

(The incident relates to one of the all-too-common mining
accidents in rural Derbyshire at that time.)

When I first transcribed this letter in late 1962, the writing had 
faded to a mid brown colour.  It was written on good paper
stock and had, I think, always been kept in dry household
conditions. (Though the house was always cold, as I well know!)
Great-grandfather Thomas invariably used an old steel "Waverley"
pen [1] and would have been very likely to have made his own ink,
though if his receipt has survived I cannot find it.

So in at least one case, somewhat less than 60 years had led to
considerable fading to brown.

HTH. Not very useful but better than nothing......



"They come as a boon
And a blessing to Men:
The Pickwick, the Owl,
And the Waverley Pen."

I have some of his original stock of these excellent pens here still.

To unsubscribe, send mail to majordomo@xxxxxxxxxxx with a body saying:
unsubscribe vms-list