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Who Invented Ink?

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Since ancient past, humans have been practicing several ways of graphically depicting their life and experiences in various mediums including stone, clay or wood. This is known from the evidences discovered in the archeological sites of a number of ancient civilizations. Unearthing early cave dwellings and constructions reveal either etched or painted themes. It appears that people of different civilization across the world have made use of plant extracts and saps for drawing and painting.

The start of paper and ink

However, the process of writing was revolutionized with the advent of paper and ink. It is rather very interesting to learn who invented ink for the first time in human history. There are quite contrasting views that debate whether it was Egyptians or Chinese who discovered ink. While some believe that both paper and ink were originally invented by Egyptians. They support this idea by saying that the word “paper” itself is a derivative of the concept papyrus that abundantly grew in the Nile region of Egypt. On the other hand, historical evidences that have been recorded point out that both paper and ink were invented by Chinese people. It is said while Ts’ai-Lun invented paper; it was Tien-Lcheu who invented the ink.

In ancient Egypt

It is surprising that paper was in use in Egypt since longtime. It is also said that Egyptians were the first to make use of ink extensively for the first time. Stylus was something like a pointed thin rod that the Egyptians used to carve on papers. Initially, ink was applied on paper using birds’ feathers. This invention made it easy for the inventor to simplify the process of writing.

Ink invented by Tien-Lcheu

In the year 2697 BC, a great thinker and philosopher called Tien invented a dark liquid to mark on papers and stones. He mixed the soot of pinewood and mixed it with the oil used for burning lamps. He also made gelatin from the skin of donkeys and musk which he mixed with oil and soot. In the early decades of 1200, this black liquid was developed further by many others with the addition of natural dyes.

Over time, color was added too

Many innovators also added extracts of minerals and plants like berries to bring out different colors. Eventually, materials like gum, nutgalls, and iron-salts were added to bring out different formulas for inks. The next country to develop greatly on the art of writing with ink was Japan. Since then, several enhancements and developments came up in the ink industry leading to the advanced technology we find today in writing.