Writing, is the art of conveying our ideas to others, by means of certain characters.
As the history of this noble, invention is lost in the remote periods of antiquity, it would be foreign to our plan, to enter into a detail of the opinions and hypotheses that have been formed by antiquarians, with a view to account for its origin. - Hence we shall notice the patent which was granted in February, 1780, to Mr. James Watt, for a new method of Copying Writings. He directs a piece of thin, unsized paper, of the same dimensions as that which contains the original writing, to be moistened with water ; or, which is preferable, with the following liquor : Take 2lbs. of distilled vinegar, and Jet 1 oz. of the sedative salt of borax be dissolved in it: next, 4 oz. of oyster-shells, calcined to whiteness, are to be put into the vinegar : the mixture must be repeatedly shaken, during 24 hours; when it is suffered to stand till it deposit its sediment. The clear liquor should now be filtred through blotting-paper into a glass vessel; 2 oz. of bruised Aleppo-galls be added ; and the mixture kept in a warm place for 24 hours, being frequently shaken : at the end of that period, it must be filtred a second time, and afterwards diluted with one quart of pure water. Now it should again be suffered to stand for 24 hours ; and, if any sediment be deposited, it ought to be strained a third time. - When the paper has been moistened with this liquor, it should be placed between two thick unsized pieces of the same material, in order to absorb the super-flueui humidity ; and, thus prepared, it must be applied to the writing which is to be copied ; a piece of clean writing-paper being placed over both. The whole is now directed to be submitted to the action of a rolling-press ; in consequence of which, the written characters will appear on both sides of such moistened paper. - The patentee employs a peculiar press, of his own invention ; which, however, cannot be satisfactorily described, without the aid of delineation : hence, the inquisitive reader will consult the first volume of the " Repertory of Arts, " etc.; where this specification is illustrated by an engraving.
Beside the simple method of re-storing illegible writing, already stated under the article DEEd, we shall mention two other expedients, either of which may be used accordingly as the characters are more or less obliterated : BoiL half an ounce of best Aleppo-galls in 4 oz. of water, till one half of the fluid be evaporated ; filter the decoction through blotting-paper, and apply it, by means of a soft painter's brush, to the effaced part of the writing; on which it must be suffered gradually to dry: thus, the illegible letters will, in most cases, become black, and re-appear. If, however, this mode of recovering them should not prove successful, the following application has often effectually answered the purpose : Take a leaf of white unsized paper; moisten it with a strong solution of green vitriol in water; so that it may be damp, without being wet. Next, apply such paper to the illegible part of the writing, by means of the flat hand, in order to communicate its moisture to the latter; when it must be allowed to dry in the open air. In this manner, the almost dissipated astringency of the galls will be renovated, so that the vanished characters will generally reappear on the surface. Let it, however, be remembered, that both preparations must not be tried on the same paper ; as they would certainly change the whole to a black colour.