This section is from the "Henley's Twentieth Century Formulas Recipes Processes" encyclopedia, by Norman W. Henley and others.
The best gold ink is made by rubbing up gold leaf as thoroughly as possible with a little honey. The honey is then washed away with water, and the finely powdered gold leaf left is mixed to the consistency of a writing ink with weak gum water. Everything depends upon the fineness of the gold powder, i. e., upon the diligence with which it has been worked with the honey. Precipitated gold is finer than can be got by any rubbing, but its color is wrong, being dark brown. The above gold ink should be used with a quill pen.
An imitation gold or bronze ink is composed by grinding 1,000 parts of powdered bronze of handsome color with a varnish prepared by boiling together 500 parts of nut oil, 200 parts of garlic, 500 parts of cocoanut oil, 100 parts of Naples yellow, and as much of sienna.
Chlorate of platinum, 0.25 ounce; soft water, 1 pint. Dissolve and preserve it in glass. Used with a clean quill to write on zinc labels. It almost immediately turns black, and cannot be removed by washing. The addition of gum and lampblack, as recommended in certain books, is unnecessary, and even prejudicial to the quality of the ink.
Blue vitriol, 1 ounce; sal ammoniac, 1/2 ounce (both in powder); vinegar, 1/4 pint; dissolve. A little lampblack or vermilion may be added, but it is not necessary. Use No. I, for iron, tin, or steel plate.