Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books
A Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology

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transparent vellum

VELLUM rendered transparent by any of several processes, some of which date hack to medieval times (when vellum was sometimes used in lieu of window glass). The most common method of making vellum transparent seems to have involved treating a wet (thin) skin with fluid substances of high water-binding capacity, such as egg white, gum arabic, animal glue or size. before drying the skin on the stretching frame. Other methods included smearing olive oil or cedar wood oil over both sides of the skin. or steeping the skin in very hot water for a brief period of time. In the 18th century EDWARDS OF HALIFAX patented a method (1785) which proved to be the simplest of all the methods. He soaked ordinary vellum in a weak solution of potassium carbonate (pearl ash) and, stretching it tightly, placed the skin under considerable pressure. (236 , 291 )




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