This section is from the "Henley's Twentieth Century Formulas Recipes Processes" encyclopedia, by Norman W. Henley and others.
Any finely divided, non-fading color may be used as the pigment; vaseline is the best vehicle and wax the best corrigent. In order to make the ribbon last a long time with one inking, as much pigment as feasible should be used. To make black record ink: Take some vaseline, melt it on a slow fire or water bath, and incorporate by constant stirring as much lampblack as it will take up without becoming granular. Take from the fire and allow it to cool. The ink is now practically finished, except, if not entirely suitable on trial, it may be improved by adding the corrigent wax in small quantity. The ribbon should be charged with a very thin, evenly divided amount of ink. Hence the necessity of a solvent—in this instance a mixture of equal parts of petroleum benzine and rectified spirit of turpentine. In this mixture dissolve a sufficient amount of the solid ink by vigorous agitation to make a thin paint. Try the ink on one extremity of the ribbon; if too soft, add a little wax to make it harder; if too pale, add more coloring matter; if too hard, add more vaseline. If carefully applied to the ribbon, and the excess brushed off, the result will be satisfactory.
On the same principle, other colors may be made into ink; but for delicate colors, albolene and bleached wax should be the vehicle and corrigent, respectively.
The various printing inks may be used if properly corrected. They require the addition of vaseline to make them non-drying on the ribbon, and of some wax if found too soft. Where printing inks are available, they will be found to give excellent results if thus modified, as the pigment is well milled and finely divided. Even black cosmetic may be made to answer, by the addition of some lampblack to the solution in the mixture of benzine and turpentine.
After thus having explained the principles underlying the manufacture of permanent inks, we can pass more rapidly over the subject of copying inks, which is governed by the same general rules.
For copying inks, aniline colors form the pigment; a mixture of about 3 parts of water and 1 part of glycerine, the vehicle; transparent soap (about J part), the corrigent; stronger alcohol (about 6 parts), the solvent. The desired aniline color will easily dissolve in the hot vehicle, soap will give the ink the necessary body and counteract the hygroscopic tendency of the glycerine, and in the stronger alcohol the ink will readily dissolve, so that it can be applied in a finely divided state to the ribbon, where the evaporation of the alcohol will leave it in a thin film. There is little more to add. After the ink is made and tried— if too soft, add a little more soap; if too hard, a little more glycerine; if too pale, a little more pigment. Printer's copying ink can be utilized here likewise.
Users of the typewriter should so set a fresh ribbon as to start at the edge nearest the operator, allowing it to run back and forth with the same adjustment until exhausted along that strip; then shift the ribbon forward the width of one letter, running until exhausted, and so on. Finally, when the whole ribbon is exhausted, the color will have been equably used up, and on reinking, the work will appear even in color, while it will look patchy if some of the old ink has been left here and there and fresh ink applied over it.