Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Getting the Work Out

Well, I've taken a number of weeks off but school will soon be upon us and it's time to add posts to this blog. The next several posts will concern the ways in which nineteenth and early twentieth century lawyers handled document production. In the days when "typewriter" referred to the person working the machine and in which traditional law offices still produced hand written documents, the choice of ink was a major issue. Several companies marketed their own brands of ink specially for the legal profession. Among these, Sanford was a leader. They produced ink in various colors, including blue, black, and green and advertised that these inks would be permanent and not fade, a characteristic necessary for legal documents. Typical writing inks, based on an iron gall formulation, would over time actually lose their color. As a result, many documents would fade to the point that the writing appeared light brown, which was the color not of the original ink but the ferrous compound left after the ink had faded [i.e. rust]. Permanent inks would not deteriorate in this way. The illustration is of an early postcard sent by Sanford to law firms.

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