Gelatine in Historical Paper Production and as Inhibiting Agent for Iron-Gall Ink Corrosion on Paper

Gesa Kolbe 1
  • 1 Fritz Konzertstr. 6 A-6020 Innsbruck, Fax (+43)-512-585212. E-mail:


Since the beginning of papermaking in Europe gelatine has been used as a sizing agent in order to make the paper suitable for writing using aqueous ink and more resistant towards abrasion. Over six centuries the technology and quality of gelatine sizing has been modified. Generally, heavily gelatine-sized papers are more durable than those with weak sizing. A look at the hypothesis as to what amount the positive activity of gelatine is rooted in its capability to bind reactive metal, especially iron(II)-ions, which is a general quality of proteins, is taken with especial interest in its suitability to resize iron-gall ink manuscripts after an aqueous treatment. Accelerated ageing tests have demonstrated that resizing such manuscripts using gelatine has a significantly better blocking effect towards ink corrosion than the other resizing agents commonly used for paper conservation.

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Restaurator is the only international periodical specializing exclusively in the conservation of library and archive materials. Articles examine the many important aspects of this subject area, such as technology, practical experience, and organization. They also address scientific fundamentals, including the development of new preservation techniques and improvements to established methods.