Ink is a liquid that is used to write, draw, print, or make marks.
It is used in pens, in some computer printers, and in printing presses.
In some countries, people write by using ink and brushes.
People usually write or print using black ink, but ink can be any color.
The word “ink” is from Latin and means “colored water”.
Together, pen and ink changed the face of the humanity and are regarded because of that as one of the greatest inventions.
Many ancient cultures around the world have independently discovered and formulated inks for the purposes of writing and drawing.
The knowledge of the inks, their recipes and the techniques for their production comes from archaeological analysis or from written text itself.
The earliest inks from all civilizations are believed to have been made with lampblack, a kind of soot, as this would have been easily collected as a by-product of fire.
Ink was used in Ancient Egypt for writing and drawing on papyrus from at least the 26th century BC.
Chinese inks may go back as far as 3 or maybe 4 millennia, to the Chinese Neolithic Period. These used plants, animal, and mineral inks based on such materials as graphite that were ground with water and applied with ink brushes.
Direct evidence for the earliest Chinese inks, similar to modern inksticks, is around 256 BC in the end of the Warring States period and produced from soot and animal glue.
India ink was first invented in China, though materials were often traded from India, hence the name. The traditional Chinese method of making the ink was to grind a mixture of hide glue, carbon black, lampblack, and bone black pigment with a pestle and mortar, then pouring it into a ceramic dish to dry.
The Chinese experimented with printing at least as early as ad 500, with inks from plant substances mixed with coloured earths and soot or lampblack.
When Johannes Gutenberg invented printing with movable type in Germany in about 1440, inks were made by mixing varnish or boiled linseed oil with lampblack. For more than 300 years such inks continued to be used with little modification in their composition.
In 1772 the first patent was issued in England for making coloured inks, and in the 19th century chemical drying agents appeared, making possible the use of a wide variety of pigments for coloured inks.
Invisible ink is a substance used for writing, which is either invisible on application, or soon thereafter, and which later on can be made visible by some means. The use of invisible ink is a form of stenography, and has been used in espionage. Other uses may include property marking, hand stamping for readmission, and marking for the purpose of identification in manufacturing.
Some inks glow faintly (fluoresce) when under an ultraviolet lamp. This is a property of many substances. There are commercially available inks that glow very brightly when illuminated using a black light or UV light.
Tattoo inks consist of pigments combined with a carrier, and are used in tattooing. They are available in a range of colors that can be thinned or mixed together to produce other colors and shades. Most professional tattoo artists purchase inks pre-made (known as pre-dispersed inks), while some tattooers mix their own using a dry pigment and a carrier.
Electoral ink is a semi-permanent ink or dye that is applied to the forefinger (usually) of voters during elections in order to prevent electoral fraud such as double voting. It is an effective method for countries where identification documents for citizens are not always standardised or institutionalised. Election ink uses silver nitrate, and excessive exposure can cause argyria. It was first used during the 1962 Indian general election, in Mysore State, now the modern-day state of Karnataka.
An ink eraser is an instrument used to remove ink from a writing surface, which is more difficult than removing pencil markings. Older types are a metal scraper, which scrapes the ink off the surface, and an eraser similar to a rubber pencil eraser, but with additional abrasives, such as sand, incorporated. Fibreglass erasers also work by abrasion. These erasers physically remove the ink from the paper. There is some unavoidable damage with most types of paper and ink, where the paper absorbs some ink, but not all.