GENBRIT-L ArchivesArchiver > GENBRIT > 2007-12 > 1197159064
From: Ian Goddard <>
Subject: Re: Reading faint pencil
Date: Sun, 09 Dec 2007 00:11:04 +0000
Stuart Cresswell wrote:
> I have a piece of paper that is about 200 years old with details of my
> family, at the time and for about 100 years earlier, as written down by
> a young member from the words spoken by an older member
> The front is in ink and fairly easy to read.
> However on the back is some writing in pencil.
> Parts are readable with the naked eye (insufficient to get the meaning)
> but it looks as if the paper has been stained partially at some time and
> the pencil writing there is either unreadable or almost so.
> I have tried it under ultra-violet which makes a small improvement but
> nowhere near enough.
> Is there some sort of illumination or other technique that would make
> pencil (graphite presumably) writing stand out?
ESDA - Electrostatic Detection Apparatus. It's a forensic science
technique for making the indentations visible. It might be worth
ringing your nearest forensic science lab or even, if you live near
Evesham, the manufacturers,
http://www.fosterfreeman.co.uk/products/documents/esda2/esda2.html , to
see if someone would be willing to help. Normally documents examined
with ESDA would be much more recent so you might be able to put them on
The VSC, another Foster Freeman product might also help if ESDA failed.
Hotmail is for spammers. Real mail address is igoddard
at nildram co uk