Thursday, 24 January 2013

To make a liquid for marking cloth

To make a liquid for marking cloth. Take dirty grease, such as the black muck which is found at each end of the axle-tree of a carriage, and add, and mix in oil and vinegar and boil it all together, and then heat up your marking tool and dip it in, and set it on your linen.

From Le Menagier de Paris, 1390, translation by Janet Hinson.

I think I might try this. I wonder if it leaves permanent marks and how fine I can make them.

Addition (27/1/2013): I've found a website that states that a blend of iron and vinegar can be used to chemically dye leather black. They suggest soaking steel wool or iron nails in vinegar until the liquid turns brown (a week or so) then painting the liquid onto the leather. (here). Perhaps the grease is from a metal axle and by mixing with vinegar you get the same thing. The added benefit of the grease and oil is it'll make a thicker substance, more of a paste which will be perfect for cloth.

Addition (28/1/2013): Randomly found a link on Pinterest that suggests using the metal + vinegar as a wood stain. "Vinegar works as a wood stain when you add a metal object in the mix and let it sit in a glass container for a week.  A handful of pennies will produce a beautiful pale Caribbean blue stain.  A wad of steel wool will give you a rich reddish hue.  A combination of tea and a metal object in vinegar will produce a black stain." (Here). As I have a bunch of pennies from my last trip to America I might give it a try this week. Even though I've only got a year 12 level chemistry knowledge, I'm pretty sure the 'blue' comes from the copper in the pennies reacting to the acid (vinegar). According to The Boy, pennies made in America from 1983 onwards are zinc with a coating of copper (random fact here). I'm not sure which type the author of the post I found intended so I may experiment with both.

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