Highly reflective particles in the black ink of fragment IC.58 (using x50 magnification). Larger image
The black colouring of the ink is carbon - perhaps lamp black. Under
the microscope, small reflective grains are visible distributed
randomly throughout the ink. They are likely to be graphite - highly
ordered carbon. These particles may be intended to improve the quality
of the ink or be a by-product of the processing of the carbon to
make the ink. More
information on this analysis.
Gutenberg's printer's ink is distinctive in having a glittering
surface. This is because of its high level of metal content, in
particular copper, lead and titanium. It also contains sulphur.
The printer's ink was made up in batches, and was of course hand-made.
Cyclotron analysis has enabled us to distinguish between batches
and that has enabled us to understand much more about how the work
was organised in Gutenberg's workshop.
R. N. Schwab and others, 'Cyclotron analysis of the ink in the
42-line Bible', The Papers of the Bibliographical Society of
America, 77 (1983), 285-315.
R. N. Schwab and others, 'New evidence on the printing of the Gutenberg
Bible: The inks in the Doheny copy', The Papers of the Bibliographical
Society of America, 79 (1985), 375-410.
Paul Needham, 'Division of copy in the Gutenberg Bible: Three glosses
on the ink evidence', The Papers of the Bibliographical Society
of America, 79 (1985), 411-26.