The earliest use of inks or writing can be traced back all the way to 26th century ancient Egypt. Ancient Egyptians used ink for writing and drawing on papyrus, a material similar to thick paper. Even before that, lampblack, a kind of soot collected as a byproduct of fire was used as ink by Greeks and Romans.
In India, ink or as they called it ‘masi’ was made from burnt bones, tar, and pitch.
Ink has a fascinating history around the world. But with time rolling and advancements, inks upgraded from bones and soot to formulated liquid pigments and dyes. Ink formulas are made using a base like water which absorbs dyes or pigments and other chemicals that aid in drying time, texture, and preservation of the ink.
Dyes And Pigments
Inks could be dye-based or pigment-based.
Dyes are way finer than pigments. The size of dye particles is way smaller than a particle of pigment. It’s like comparing a football (pigment) to a pinhead (dye). This makes dyes soluble in many liquids, unlike pigments. Pigments are insoluble in water and most solvents, hence most writing inks are dye-based.
Here Are Different Types Of Writing Inks
Fountain Pen Ink
These expensive fancy pens are without doubt status objects. Not so Fun fact: one of the many reasons why fountain pens are so expensive is they are not meant to be replaced when you run out of ink. The most important part of these inks is the materiel of their nibs. Made from expensive metals like gold, they deliver ultra-fineness on paper. The ideal fountain pen ink is free-flowing, free of sediments, and non-corrosive.
The pens which put fountain pens out of business folks. The ink used is a paste of 25% to 40% dye and chemical ‘oils’. The most common oils are benzyl alcohol or phenoxyethanol. These oils are mixed with dyes to create a smooth paste that dries quickly. The drying time varies depending upon the viscosity of ink and the diameter of the ball.
They have been patented since the 1800s, but it took years to perfect the formula. Fountain pens used to be the ballpoints one time. But when ballpoint ink formula was perfected they became the superior writing tool. They wrote on horrible paper, uneven surfaces, plastic, rubber, metals, heck even walls.
Gel Pen Ink
Giving tough competition to all the ball pens out there are gel pens. Gel pens are used widely for writing (obviously) and for illustration since the ink is thick and opaque shows up on more clearly on a dark and slick surface.
Gel pens use a combination of pigment suspended in a water-based gel. Extremely popular amongst artists, doodles and illustrates for their wide range of colorful inks, availability, and cost-effectiveness.
Invisible inks were at their peak during world war-I. Many secretive messages were exchanged during the war which may have brought about historical changes. The very first records of invisible inks are from the first century AD, also popular during the renaissance. The formula of invisible ink was upgraded and changed throughout the years. It is now commercially produced and can be made at home as a fun activity using lemon juice.
Gillet Company’s division Papermade put out erasable inks in 1979, known as eraser- mate which was quickly picked up by the market. The company initially wasn’t expectant of their new product, but contrary to their beliefs, the pen proved to be a rage, and variations were introduced.
The ink is made up of liquid rubber cement. When you erase the ink, the eraser and surface create friction, which creates heat and dissolves the ink.
See also: Types of paper