Wednesday, August 10, 2016


I've been looking for a recipe to make ink that quite possibly would have been used during the 19th century. The fountain pen came into use in 1888 by Watermen. Prior to that people used their own quill pens or purchased nibs and a pen. I've been told gold is the best since it wouldn't corrode but it generally took 4 months for a pen to adjust to the owner's writing style. People rarely shared their pens because of this.

Below is a recipe to make ink that I think is the most likely to have been used. I'm still searching, if you've run across a 19th century recipe please share it.

BTW Gall is the gallates that grown on leaves, primarily oak leaves in America.

To make common Black Ink

Pour 1 gall. of boiling soft water on 7 lb. of powdered galls, previously put into a proper vessel. Stop the mouth of the vessel, and set it in the sun in summer, or in winter where it may be warmed by any fire, and let it stand 2 or 3 days. Then add 1/2 lb. of green vitriol powdered, and having stirred the mixture well together with a wooden spatula, let it stand again for 2 or 3 days, repeating the stirring, when add further to it 5 oz. of gum Arabic dissolved in a quart of boiling water; and, lastly, 2 oz. of alum, after which let the ink be strained through a coarse linen cloth for use.

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