In collaboration with the Center for Colloid and Surface Science (CSGI) and the Department of Chemistry of the University of Florence, Stipula has developed a new formulation of the Iron-gall ink with total balancing of the chemical components both rich in the typical characteristics of the Iron-gall on one hand (namely its permanent action on paper and the persistent readability of the iron-gall ink writing in time) and, on the other hand, fully compatibility with its use in fountain pens and in contact with their metal nibs.
The Stipula Iron-Gall ink is in fact produced under the high supervision and expertise of the University of Florence scientists with materials pure beyond 99% and perfectly matching reagents. Thus giving rise to a modern ink of superior quality and standards.
The Iron-Gall ink, has been the reference ink from the Middle Ages until 1950 and, if of good quality, has considerable qualities of durability, strength and color. The chemical reaction between tannin and iron salts was known since antiquity. The era of the transition between the so-called Indian ink and iron-gall ink is indefinable, but the increased demand for inks and the ability to produce it easily made the latter commonly used in the Middle Ages. The formulas were passed from one generation to the next and this aspect makes it often difficult tointervene on the documents for the purpose of restoration and conservation.
Its basic formula was composed of four substances: pills of various plants (oak galls, Aleppo galls, Chinese, Japanese, acorns, etc.) vitriol (or iron sulphate), resin or arabic gum (obtained from the acacia plant and working like a binder between paper and ink) and water. Various substances can be used (and have been used) to modify the final characteristics of the ink, increasing or decreasing the amount of gallic acid, which is obtained with the first boiling of the galls. Using beer or wine to change the times and characteristics of fermentation that will transform the Gallotannic acid into gallic acid. Using vinegar or other acids will slow down too early precipitation of the preparation. Using sugar, honey or resin increases the ink gloss and slows drying. Due to its solubility the Iron-gall ink penetrated deeply into the paper, making it almost indelible. A curious feature of the original preparations, freshly made, is their particular color and their clear
aspect. Just after application the ink is almost illegible and begins to darken after a few seconds, with atmospheric oxygen exposure.
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