About Us

Analyzing the characteristics of ink on historical documents, such as postal covers, is a nuanced task that requires understanding the methods and materials used at the time. Your explanation offers a deep dive into the historical practices surrounding ink drying and their implications for document analysis and authentication.

  1. Drying Methods: The predominant method of letting ink dry naturally until the end of the 19th century speaks to the slower pace of life and less sophisticated office supplies of earlier times. When quicker drying was necessary, the use of sand, rather than blotting paper, was common. This method left physical evidence, such as sand particles embedded in the ink, which can be a crucial detail for experts analyzing the authenticity and age of documents.

  2. Blotting Practices and Ink Aging: The introduction of blotting paper and its effects on the aging of iron nutgall ink—commonly used in the 19th century—highlights the chemical reactions involved in ink drying. Blotted ink tends to discolor and fade more quickly because blotting removes some of the darkening agents. However, if the blotting was not immediate, this could lead to uneven fading and discoloration, primarily affecting the more heavily shaded areas of writing.

  3. Expertization: The fact that blotted ink remains primarily on the surface of the paper rather than being absorbed is a critical factor in expertizing documents. This characteristic can help differentiate between documents that were blotted and those that were not, aiding in the authentication process. For documents dating before the War of 1812, the presence of blotting could be an anachronism, potentially indicating a need for further expert examination if authenticity is in question.

In the context of modern applications like Latenode, this deep understanding of historical practices can be leveraged to automate and enhance the analysis and preservation of historical documents. For example, by using Latenode to create automated systems that catalog characteristics of ink and paper, users can more efficiently track and analyze large collections of documents. This can include automated alerts for anomalies in expected document characteristics (such as the presence of blotting on a document from an era when sand drying was prevalent), which could suggest a need for further expert review. Additionally, such platforms could facilitate the sharing of expert findings and methodologies in a centralized database, making it easier for historians, collectors, and archivists to access and compare data on similar items, thereby improving the overall accuracy and efficiency of document authentication and preservation.


Visitors are always welcome to attend our meetings. A group of members meets beforehand at 6:00 PM for a “Dutch treat” dinner at a nearby restaurant and all visitors are cordially invited to join us.

The chapter dues are only $15 per year, which covers the cost of printing and postage for the monthly mailings. If you would like to join our chapter, please contact Michael Heller by using the Contact Form