How did settlers make ink?

Answered by Robert Flynn

Settlers in colonial times had to be resourceful when it came to making ink. They didn’t have access to the wide variety of ink colors that we have today, so they had to rely on natural materials to create their own ink.

One common method for making black ink was to use soot. Soot is the black residue that is left behind after something burns, such as wood or coal. To make ink, settlers would collect soot and mix it with other substances to create a paste or liquid. One popular recipe involved mixing soot with egg yolks and honey. The egg yolks acted as a binder to hold the ink together, while the honey added a bit of stickiness to help the ink adhere to the paper.

Another method for making black ink was to roast potatoes until they turned black, and then grind them into a powder. This powder could then be mixed with oil to create ink. This method was less common, but it was a practical alternative for settlers who didn’t have access to soot or other materials.

When it came to making blue ink, settlers would often turn to the indigo plant. Indigo is a flowering plant that produces a deep blue dye. Obtaining indigo dye was a bit more complicated than making black ink. The plant would need to be harvested, and the leaves would need to be fermented and processed to extract the dye. This process could be time-consuming and required some knowledge and expertise. Once the indigo dye was obtained, it could be mixed with other ingredients, such as gum arabic or vinegar, to create a blue ink.

It’s important to note that making ink in colonial times was not as straightforward as it is today. Settlers had to rely on what was available to them in their surroundings, and the process could be time-consuming and labor-intensive. Obtaining the necessary materials, such as soot or indigo, required effort and knowledge of the local resources.

Settlers in colonial times had to be resourceful and creative when it came to making ink. They used natural materials like soot and indigo to create black and blue ink, respectively. The process involved mixing these materials with other substances like egg yolks, honey, oil, gum arabic, or vinegar to create a usable ink. Making ink was a labor-intensive process that required knowledge and expertise, but it was an essential task for settlers who needed to write and document their experiences in the new world.