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Did the Diary author utilize writing sand?

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  • #16
    Originally posted by John Savage View Post
    Alum, or sulphate of alumina is very often used in the manufacture of paper and is one of the chemicals required in sizing.
    "Aluminum sulfate, also called alum, became an industrial product in the 19th century. It was made by treating either bauxite or china clay with sulfuric acid. Unlike true alum, aluminum sulfate could not be conveniently purified through recrystallization because of its greater solubility in water. This is one of the reasons why it often contained varying proportions of silica, iron and free sulfuric acid." [emphasis added]

    Source: http://cool.conservation-us.org/byor.../an17-407.html

    There's a fair bit about the use of aluminium sulphate in the papermaking process there.

    From another source, we have this:

    "The product produced until the mid 1960s was a lower grade aluminium sulfate made from bauxite or high alumina clays. This product generated silica waste and had too high a level of iron for papermakers, the major users of alum."

    See https://nzic.org.nz/ChemProcesses/production/1F.pdf (PDF document)
    Kind regards, Sam Flynn

    "Suche Nullen"
    (F. Nietzsche)

    Comment


    • #17
      Hi All.


      The attachment here may help you to understand the use of alum in paper making. It is taken from "Paper its Making Merchanting and Usage" published by the National Association of Paper Merchants, London 1965.


      Just to help with a couple of technical terms used; beating is the refinement of the cellulose fibres in the pulp, a beater being the mechanical device used for this process, other additives may be added to the pulp whilst it is in the beater. Stuff - the mixture of cellulose fibre, water and other additives.


      Enjoy!


      Rgds
      John
      Attached Files

      Comment


      • #18
        Originally posted by Sam Flynn View Post
        Agreed. Its peak in the spectrum appears in the same spot relative to those of silicon and sulphur in both graphs, and the spike corresponding to "Alum." [note the period at the end] is unambiguously labelled as aluminium on the "Diary Paper Alone" plot.

        However, that doesn't mean that the "Alum." didn't come from a compound, as I doubt very much that the aluminium spikes are due to atomic aluminium (aluminium filings, anyone?), anymore than the other spikes can be attributed to pure silicon and sulphur.
        Indeed SamF. But aluminium is found in nature as many compounds. And in the victorian chemical industry as many more.

        Itcould be alum but assuming it is based on that result.....is a mistake.

        P

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Sam Flynn View Post
          and the spike corresponding to "Alum." [note the period at the end] is unambiguously labelled as aluminium on the "Diary Paper Alone" plot.
          That's my handwriting. I was labeling things to make the concepts easier to understand when I first used these graphs after getting them finally released to the public and then presented them at York 2012. Too many people were discussing the results without having seen them.

          Any error/simplification is mine.

          Comment


          • #20
            Originally posted by Paul Butler View Post
            Could this be sand from the famous Alum bay?
            I've wondered that point myself! And considering I believe the Diary was "forged" by Michael Maybrick it would be a delicious irony. But of course wild ass speculation.

            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by Mr. Poster View Post
              Alum in the graphs is almost 100% certainly a shortened aluminium as that technique only reports elements anot compunds which alum is.

              So its aluminium not alum.

              P
              I only released the graphs as the copyright still resides with Leeds. In the text it is referred to as aluminum. As you say, that particular analysis deals only with elements. They unambiguously were not referring to alum which of course could have been used.

              Comment


              • #22
                Originally posted by Mr. Poster View Post
                Indeed SamF. But aluminium is found in nature as many compounds. And in the victorian chemical industry as many more.
                Of course, MrP. However, given that aluminium sulphate was used in paper-making, isn't it rather more likely that this is the source of the aluminium in the diary spectra? Also, given that silica was also present as a contaminant in the aluminium sulphate used by the paper industry pre-1960s, might that also explain the silicon spikes seen in those spectra?
                Kind regards, Sam Flynn

                "Suche Nullen"
                (F. Nietzsche)

                Comment


                • #23
                  Originally posted by Sam Flynn View Post
                  Also, given that silica was also present as a contaminant in the aluminium sulphate used by the paper industry pre-1960s, might that also explain the silicon spikes seen in those spectra?
                  There are a host of questions that might be productive to look at, as I have said. What would a Victorian era business man or clerk, writing in a ledger for his business, and desiring a permanent record - because that is the kind of ink the Diarist utilized - have used in the course of writing? The answer is probably more than an ink pot and a steel nib pen. And the Diary, with its coarse paper, produces issues on top of that - some form of writing sand is logical. Might not be the source of the silica of course. But I think these are intelligent areas of discourse.

                  I am not claiming the use of writing sand is proven, of course - but that is something that I would assert was above Barrett's pay grade if it is the case.

                  I have downloaded this to my Kindle in the meantime:

                  https://archive.org/details/analysisofresins00dietuoft

                  The analysis of resins, balsams, and gum resins
                  by Dieterich, Karl, 1869-1920

                  Publication date 1920

                  Ink "floats" on top of sized paper until it evaporates. Somehow I have trouble envisioning the Diarist as a patient man......

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                  • #24
                    I wonder why sized paper would have been used for the diary, being essentially a glorified scrapbook. Scrapbooks I had as a child in the 60s had very porous paper indeed, which was fine for pasting or gumming scraps of paper.

                    (Gumming. Those were the days.)

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Victorian paper was made of a number of things, including rags and ground up Egyptian mummies at times. God knows what contaminants could be found in some of those papers.

                      Pouncing powder is also used in some other applications such as tailoring and art. (Maybe Sickert wrote the diary?)

                      In these applications I think of pouncing powder as finely ground chalk in a bag. Chalk is made of calcium and silica and comes from the sea in the beginning, where there is lots of silica based sand. Calcium and silica are very common elements in the environment.

                      Can't paper be sized with plain chalk? I think it can.

                      Also, those old albumns were made to be written in. Details about pictures pasted there, written underneath. For what it's worth I think of old albumns in my family which had black pages and the inscriptions were written in white ink. Not sure where the white ink came from but I always found it fascinating. I am just mentioning this in case there was a pattern of albumn styles in the Victorian/Edwardian period, that ones with black pages were intended for different uses than would have been ones with white pages. Like I say, this is a for what it's worth observation and it may be worth nothing.
                      The wickedness of the world is the dream of the plague.~~Voynich Manuscript

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Paul Butler View Post
                        I wonder why sized paper would have been used for the diary, being essentially a glorified scrapbook. Scrapbooks I had as a child in the 60s had very porous paper indeed, which was fine for pasting or gumming scraps of paper.

                        (Gumming. Those were the days.)
                        Only thing I gum these days is my food....

                        If the paper wasn't sized the ink would have been instantly absorbed and formed a blotch. It was intended for people to be able to write notes and things under their photographs, etc.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Hi All,

                          My earlier posts seem to have generated some interesting responses and I would like to reply to some of these as best I can.
                          If paper makers alum ( Sulphate of Alumina or AluminiumSulphate call it what you will) is found, this must indicate that the paper pulp was mixed with Rosin to size the paper.

                          I recall hearing many years ago that sand from the Isleof Wight was used in papermaking, but I have no definite knowledge of this.However Alum Bay is in the Isle of Wight.

                          In the nineteenth century as well as writing with pen andink an indelible pencil could also have been used. You wet the point of thepencil and you have indelible writing in a blue red colour.

                          Paper can be made from many things, as long as they contain cellulose fibre which is found to a greater or lesser extent in all vegetable matter. In Victorian England these would usually have been soft woods, esparto grass, rags (cotton or linen only), manila, hemp (often from old rope) and possibly cotton linters from the cotton plant.

                          Chalk would not have been used for sizing, but was (and perhaps still is) used in America to make magazine papers and is also used in cigarette papers to make them burn slowly.

                          In the matter of sizing there is a quick test that you can do at home to see if paper is sized or unsized;
                          You will need a small sheet of blotting paper as well asa sheet of paper from your computer printer.
                          Lick your right finger and place it firmly on the sheet of printer paper, then place your left thumb on top of your right thumb and press as hard as you can. Count to ten and then remove your finger from the paper – there should be no paper fibres on your thumb, this proves that the paper is sized.
                          Repeat the above on the blotting paper and you should find a number of fibres on your right thumb, this means the paper is unsized.

                          Have fun!

                          Rgds
                          John

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by John Savage View Post
                            Paper can be made from many things, as long as they contain [/SIZE]cellulose fibre which is found to a greater or lesser extent in all vegetable matter. In Victorian England these would usually have been soft woods, esparto grass, rags (cotton or linen only), manila, hemp (often from old rope) and possibly cotton linters from the cotton plant.[/FONT]
                            From private correspondence with Robert Smith earlier this year.

                            The paper is derived largely from wood pulp and cotton, which continued to be the main constituents of paper from Victorian days and for the next 100 years, and is still used in some paper manufacturing.

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Hi Sir Robert.


                              Thanks for that information.


                              Wood pulp is still the mainstay of the UK paper making industry, and cotton is till commonly used in the United States. I guess that in Victorian times the cost of shipping cotton from the USA or Asia might have made it expensive to use, so probably cotton from rags.


                              Anyway at least now no one can say the diary is a load of old rope!


                              Rgds
                              John

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by John Savage View Post
                                Anyway at least now no one can say the diary is a load of old rope!
                                Indeed. It's quintessentially pulp fiction
                                Kind regards, Sam Flynn

                                "Suche Nullen"
                                (F. Nietzsche)

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