Ink dating science

The first — the physical tests — simply take stock of the type and color of ink.

The second tests go beyond the visual‑investigators might examine the document in ultraviolet and infrared light to see how the ink reacts.

The certificates, if genuine, represented a very significant monetary value.

The conduct of a real estate agent was investigated following several complaints against this person.

You might not know, however, that it also keeps a one-of-a-kind International Ink Library with more than 11,400 specific writing ink fingerprints on hand.

The ink library handles a variety of cases, from threat letters — the Secret Service protects not only the President but also other high-profile government officials — and ransom letters, baseballs, and phony documents where someone is "trying to obscure the truth in some way," says Joseph Stephens, ink library document analyst.

Anytime you write something down, it's more than your handwriting that can give you away. It contains inks dating to the 1920s, pens Secret Service agents collected on worldwide travels, and annually updated samples solicited from ink manufacturers.


Having the entire library digital also opens up the possibility of sharing ink information worldwide. The group is researching it calls dynamic ink dating — an attempt to measure the precise dryness level of an ink, which can help to pinpoint the date it was applied.Someone trying to sell a baseball allegedly signed by Babe Ruth in the early 1920s, or pass off documents as older than they really are, is up against a serious foe: The United States Secret Service.You might know that the Secret Service is on guard against counterfeit currency.Therefore, it is important to remember that all non-invasive forensic examinations and comparisons must be completed prior to invasive examinations in order to avoid loss of potential evidence.


A surgeon was defending a medical malpractice suit and produced three pages of patient medical records in support of his case that he had cautioned the plaintiff patient as to the risks associated with a proposed medical procedure.

They take small punches of the paper to determine if any color from the paper shows up in the ink sample. Understanding the type of paper not only gives investigators another clue, but also tells them more about the properties of the ink.


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