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Subject: Invisible ink

Invisible ink

From: David A. Tremain <david.Tremain<-at->
Date: Thursday, December 10, 2009
On behalf of a colleague Nicole Hayes
<nicole [at] ica-artconservation__org> writes

>    I was at a symposium recently and one of the speakers
>    recommended rare books be marked with invisible ink (visible
>    under UV light) so as to be traceable.  He assured the audience
>    that these inks were archival, and called them "Identi-kits."

There is some good information about invisible inks in:

    Public Records Office.
    "SOE Syllabus. Lessons in ungentlemanly warfare, Word War II",
    (introduction by Denis Rigden), published by the Public Records
    Office (Now the National Archives in Kew, England). 2001
    ISBN 1-903365-18 X;
    pp. 234 - 247, Secret Inks.

The section discusses many different types of inks and how they can
be read, mainly using heat or UV light.  The book should still be
available from the National Archives' website or through most book
stores and inter-library loan. I think it costs about twenty UK
pounds.  The rest is not relevant here, unless you want to know how
to decode messages or kill with your bare hands!

For those who are not history buffs, or living in the UK, the SOE
was the Special Operations Executive, founded in 1940 to "set Europe
ablaze" as Churchill said, meaning to sabotage Nazi war efforts by
any means available. The USA had its equivalent in the OSS, the
Office of Strategic Services, the forerunner of the CIA.

David Tremain
Preservation Advisor
Security and Emergency Preparedness
Preservation Services and Training
Canadian Conservation Institute
Department of Canadian Heritage
Ottawa, Canada K1A 0M5
613-998-3721 ext. 243
Fax: 613-998-4721


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                  Conservation DistList Instance 23:21
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Received on Thursday, 10 December, 2009

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