How to restore decayed writings



1. Cover the letters with solution of ferrocyanide of potassium, with the addition of a diluted mineral acid; upon the application of which, the letters change very speedily to a deep blue color, of great beauty and intensity. To prevent the spreading of the color, which, by blotting the parchment, detracts greatly from the legibility, the ferrocyanide should be put on first, and the diluted acid added upon it. The method found to answer best has been to spread the ferrocyanide thin with a feather or a bit of stick cut to a blunt point. Though the ferrocyanide should occasion no sensible change of color, yet the moment the acid comes upon it, every trace of a letter turns at once to a fine blue, which soon acquires its full intensity, and is beyond comparison stronger than the color of the original trace. If, then, the corner of a bit of blotting-paper be carefully and dexterously applied near the letters, so as to imbibe the superfluous liquor, the staining of the parchment may be in a great measure avoided; for it is this superfluous liquor which, absorbing part of the coloring matters from the letters, becomes a dye to whatever it touches. Care must be taken not to bring the blotting-paper in contact with the letters, because the coloring matter is soft whilst wet, and may easily be rubbed off. The acid chiefly employed is the muriatic; but both the sulphuric and nitric succeed very well. They should be so far diluted as not to be liable to corrode the parchment, after which the degree of strength does not seem to be a matter of much nicety.

2. Morid's Process.--The paper or parchment written on is first left for some time in contact with distilled water. It is then placed for 5 seconds in a solution of oxalic acid (1 of acid to 100 of water); next, after washing it, it is put in a vessel containing a solution of gallic acid (10 grs. of acid to 300 of distilled water); and finally washed again and dried. The process should be carried forward with care and promptness, that any accidental discoloration of the paper may be avoided.





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