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Ink Dating is done in two primary forms. The first is the static approach, which determines when the ink being examined was manufactured. The second is the dynamic approach, this method is to determine when the writing occurred, or in simple terms, how long the ink has been on the paper.
The static approach is typically more useful as the difference between the date on the document and the present time increases. Several different tests exist in this form of ink dating. These methods include the comparison of the examined ink to a known library of standards, commonly called the library approach, the detection of chemical date tags placed in the ink purposefully by the manufacturer, commonly called the date tag method, and also the determination of the type of ink writing instrument used.
The determination of the type of writing instrument is probably the oldest method of ink dating. This primarily involves microscopic examinations and can also incorporate some basic chemical solubility testing. Some examinations can be performed on fountain pens to determine type of nib, type of ink and the first date of introduction of each of these.
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