A few words on the benefits of good, lasting black ink

You need a gift for a person who loves to write? In this case, we have the perfect recipe for you! The front cover of a 19th century church record from Biedebach features a detailed recipe for “good, black ink”. All you need are gall nuts, iron vitriol (today also knows as ferrous sulphate), water, gum arabic and lots of time:

Kurhessen-Waldeck: Landeskirchliches Archiv Kassel > Hersfeld > Biedebach > KB 1830-1990, Image 141

Not only the recipe is very interesting, however, but also the “detrimental consequences” of inferior ink the bookseller and bookbinder Friedrich Carl Hoffmann stated further below: “Worst of all, the detrimental consequences [...] do not show at once but often only after ten and more years have passed [...]: that the ink either fades completely and the writing becomes illegible or that the writing turns yellow-reddish or that the ink subsequently eats up the paper and leaks through.” Family researchers can certainly lament this phenomenon!

Anyway: The Archion team wishes you all the best with your self-made ink! Be careful, though: Iron vitriol is highly irritating and should be treated with extreme caution! Otherwise, not only the paper will suffer but also your skin. ;-)

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