Rich Spelker Chats about
Cochineal Inks and Dyes
July 2002 Timeless Tech, Santa, Idaho
The following collection of ink recipes is very large, and only those have been selected which were believed to be trustworthy. Ink recipes are noted for their unreliability, but the following were selected principally from periodical literature, and many are translated for the first time. The manufacture of writing ink is one of the most promising of the small industries. There are few chemical preparations the use of which has become so general as that of writing ink, and yet it is rare to find an ink that fulfills all the conditions required of it. This is explainable upon the ground that ink recipes are not constructed according to any chemical formula, but that we are compelled to rely upon empirical experiments, and make use of the results gathered by practical experience. A good black ink must flow easily from the pen and must yield either immediately or in a short time a deep black writing. It must not corrode metallic pens, nor destroy the paper. Further than this, a good ink should contain no considerable sediment when kept in airtight bottles. In ordinary ink bottles a sediment will always form, and the more it is exposed to the atmosphere the faster it will form. An ink that is to be used for important documents must not be washed out with water or absolute alcohol so as to be permanently illegible. Ink may consist of either a clear solution of any dyestuff, or, as in the case of common black ink, a finely divided, insoluble precipitate suspended in water. The chief materials used for making this ink are gallnuts, green vitriol and gum, which are employed in the most varied proportions. The gallnuts are crushed to a coarse powder and boiled in water, or, better, digested for several hours at a temperature near the boiling point, and the gum and green vitriol added to the filtered decoction in solution. The so-called alizarine inks flow easily from the pen, but they mostly suffer from the fact that the writing appears at first only of a faint greenish, bluish or reddish color, although it gets darker afterward. The most permanent writing is done with India ink, because the black coloring matter of this ink consists of finely divided carbon, which is unaffected by chemical reagents. Its high price seldom permits of its use. Hopkins, SACF
Relacion de lo que toca a la Grana cochinilla. BM Add. MSS 13964 (part); HMAI 128, Gomez de Cervantes. European paper, 4ff., 29.8x21.5 cm. Manual; Oaxaca; c. 1599. Dahlgren de Jordan 1963; Gomez de Cervantes 1944.
Tenuous though its link with the native tradition is, this small and colourful treatise on cultivating cochineal appeals to local conventions in depicting architecture, dress, hair-style. An item paid as tribute by Oaxaca to Tenochtitlan, cochineal red (grana cochinilla) became a major Mexican export under spanish rule. It is made from tiny beetles that feed on the nopal cactus, here called semilla or seed, which in Nahuatl are noch-eztli or cactus blood, whence the name of the Oaxacan town Nochislan. The process of cultivation followed a yearly cycle, shown in 12 scenes which involve pruning, propagation, culling excess beetles, propping up sagging branches, knowing good insects from bad and weeding. The final page lists insects and other pests with their Nahuatl names. Scene 5 in the series of the monthly 12 shows beetles being gathered by women who have their hair in Mexica fashion and who wear huipils dyed red with cochineal; in the background a native house can be seen. The caption runs: ‘Here the ripe and ready beetles are taken in August, September and October, the main harvest of the year.’ Brotherston
History and Culture of Cochineal:
Cochineal is greatly esteemed throughout Europe for the richness and excellence of its dye: it has hitherto been produced only in the Spanish West Indies, but our new papers tell us, that an attempt is now making to produce it in Spain, and as the nature and origin of it are not very generally known, it is hoped the following particular and authentic account of it will not be unacceptable to the public. Yours, &c. Anon.
It was not long ago believed that cochineal was the seed of a plant; an opinion which probably took its rise from the circumstances of its being found upon, and gathered from the leaves of a West Indian shrub: but certain it is that cochineal belongs to the animal, and not to the vegetable kingdom. The grains of cochineal are each of them a little animal, which, when alive, greatly resembles a wood louse, and from this resemblance it takes its name; for the Spaniards, who first brought it into Europe and gave it its name, call a wood louse cochinilla. These animals do not indeed roll themselves up, on being touched, as the wood lice do, nor are the largest of them bigger than a sheep tick.
The plant, or shrub, whereon these little animals are bred, nourished, and brought to perfection, is called in the West Indies, Nopal, or Nopalera, and is a sort of fig tree. It is indeed rather a heap of leaves than a shrub. After the trunk or stem has risen a little above the ground, it divides itself into several arms or branches, and the trunk itself and its several ramifications are full of knots; each of these knots sends out a leaf, and from the end of that leaf springs another, and so on till the plant arrives at its full growth. Those leaves which spring first and are nearest the trunk or branches, are the largest: the leaves are pretty long and not flat, but somewhat rounded, or convex, and full of little protuberances, and covered with a thin and delicate membrane which always preserves a lively green colour. Its flower is small, and like a flesh coloured ball, in the centre of which appears the fig; and as the fig increases, the flower decays and loses its colour, till at last it falls and leaves the fig alone. When the fig is ripe its outer skin, or husk, is white, but its pulp or substance is of a deep red: it is very wholesome and pleasant to the taste, but it tinges the urine of those that eat it, and makes it look like blood, a circumstance which has often given great uneasiness to those who were ignorant of this property of the fruit.
The nopal is propagated thus: a number of holes are made in a line, about half a yard deep, and about two yards distant from each other: in every hole is put one or two leaves of the nopal well spread and stretched out, and then covered up with earth, and from each hole there springs a new plant. The grounds in which it is cultivated ought to be well weeded and kept clear of all other herbs whatever; for they deprive it of its due nourishment. The plants should be pruned soon after the cochineal is gathered, and all superfluous leaves cut away: they will put out fresh leaves the following year, and by these means will become more strong and vigorous. But it is to be observed that the cochinillas which feed upon young plants, are larger and of a better quality than those which are gathered from plants which have stood some years.
The cochinillas live upon the leaves of the nopal, and are fed and nourished by sucking their juice. The juice of the leaves is watery and colourless, but these animals in converting it into their own substance, change it to a fine crimson colour. One thing very remarkable is, that the cochinillas do not gnaw nor devour the substance of the leaves, nor do the leaves suffer the least perceivable hurt or injury by their feeding upon them. It is probable that the little animals only suck the grossest juice through the pores of the thin membrane which covers the leaves.
When the cochinillas come to their full growth, they gather them into earthen pots, close stopped, that they may not creep out: and soon after they kill them in order to prepare them for sale. The Indians have three different ways of killing them, viz. by hot water, by the fire, or by exposing them to the heat of the sun. From these different methods there arises a great variety in the colour of cochineal, some grains being of a brighter and much better colour than others. But whichsoever of the three methods is pursued, there is a proper degree of heat, which must be carefully observed: when water is used, a sufficient quantity duly heated is sprinkled upon them: they who kill them by fire, put them into ovens properly heated: but the best cochineal is that which is prepared by the heat of the sun.
In order to have the cochineal in its utmost perfection, it is not only neccessary to choose the best method of killing and preparing the cochinillas, but also to know the right time for gathering them off the leaves of the nopal; but the knowledge of this is only to be attained by practice and experience, and no certain rule can be established for it: and it is observed that the cochineal of the several provinces of the West Indies is better or worse, just as the Indians employed about it are more or less skillful and experienced.
The cochinillas in several particulars may be compared to the silkworms, and especially in the manner of laying their eggs. Such of them as are destined to breed, are taken from the leaves of the nopal when they are in full vigour, and put into baskets well closed and lined with linen, close wrought and folded several times, that none may be lost; there they lay their eggs and soon after die. The baskets must be kept close covered up till the proper season of the year arrives for laying the cochinillas upon the leaves of the nopalera. The time proper for laying them upon the leaves is in the month of May or June, when the nopalera is in its prime: and when about this time the baskets are opened, the cochinillas appear about the size of small mites and by observing them attentively you may just perceive them move. In this state they scatter them upon the leaves of the plants: an hen’s egg shell full of them is sufficient to furnish a whole plant.
There are several things either very pernicious or fatal to the cochinillas. If strong northerly winds come on soon after they are laid upon the leaves, they are all destroyed. Rains, snow, mists, and frosts, often kill them, and at the same time blast the leaves of the nopalera. The only remedy in these cases is to warm and smoke them. Hens and some small birds eat the cochinillas, and so do several sorts of worms and insects which breed in the places where the nopaleras grow. Great care therefore is taken to keep off the birds, and to destroy the reptiles and insects which are prejudicial to them.
The cochinillas are bred in the provinces of Ooxaca, Fiascala, Chulula, New Galicia, and Chiapa, in the kingdom of New Spain, and also in the provinces of Hambato, Loja, and Tucuman in Peru. But although the cochinillas and nopaleras abound in all these provinces, yet they are not properly managed and prepared for sale in any but that of Ooxaca, and there only do the Indians make it their business to cultivate and take care of them: in all the others the nopaleras are wild and uncultivated, and the cochinillas breed of themselves without being looked after, and therefore the cochineal gathered in these provinces is much inferior in goodness to that of Ooxaca: not that the nopaleras or cochinillas are of a worse kind, but because they are not properly managed and cultivated.
In the kingdom of Andalusia in Old Spain, there is a plant called Tuna, which very much resembles the nopal, and bears a fruit like it. It only differs from the nopal in respect of its leaves, which are broad and flat and full of prickles of different sizes. It is therefore thought that the tuna will be as proper food for the cochinillas as the nopal; and as the climate of Andalusia is dry and temperate, and agreeable to the cochinillas, the attempt to breed them there will probably meet with success. National Recorder 1821
Can Tiny Red Bug Mean Gold for Mexico?
Millman, Joel, Wall Street Journal October 7, 1998
Santa Maria de Coyotepec, Mexico -
Ignacio Del Rio Duenas is betting the ranch on a cochineal comeback.
Standing in his 5-acre cactus orchard here in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca, Mr. Del Rio enumerates the benefits of the tiny red beetle. The acid extracted from the cochineal’s shell - known as carmine - is one of the world’s most prized natural dyes. It is eagerly sought by textile, cosmetic and food companies, and used for everything from Snapple’s Mango Madness juice to Kikkoman’s sweet and sour sauce to Estee Lauder eye shadow.
It is also, Mr. Del Rio reckons, a partial salve for the rural underdevelopment that makes this arid region one of Mexico’s poorest.
“I can get 130 bugs to a leaf,” says the would-be king of Mexico’s cochineal market. “And I can get three harvests a year.”
That comes to nearly 400 bugs per leaf per year. Given that it takes about 70,000 dried bugs to yield a pound of marketable carmine, calling his empire small is an understatement. As emerging markets go, Mr. Del Rio’s cochineal exchange is practically microscopic - an annual turnover of less than $50,000, including the bugs he raises himself and all he buys from what he calls “marginal” producers nearby.
Still, if the 67-year-old retired food chemist is right, he will live to see Oaxaca’s cochineal industry restored to its ancient glory, when Mexico earned almost as much exporting dried bug husks as it did from silver and gold.
“Our best-ever year we shipped 600 tons to Spain,” says Mario Loera, speaking not for the orchard but for all of Oaxaca. He points out that the year was 1774. Mr. Del Rio’s son-in-law and chief agronomist, Mr. Loera says he doesn’t know what the market value of those exports was. But he says that at today’s prices, 600 tons would fetch $30 million, a considerable share of the world’s present-day cochineal trade.
Back in the glory days, cochineal made Oaxaca a rich place. Old Lloyds of London ledgers indicate cochineal once was so lucrative a commodity that bug shipments to Europe cost more to insure than the equivalent volume of precious metals. Cochineal from Oaxaca provided the red in Britain’s famous “redcoat.” Betsy Ross used it to color the first US flag. The Vatican’s Swiss Guards and a succession of Catholic Popes were also big cochineal consumers.
During the past century, cochineal cultivation became a lost art in Oaxaca, serving mainly traditional weavers who made dyes for rugs and wall-hangings. Cochineal also withered because of competition from synthetics. Chemical-based dyes aren’t as stable as natural carmine, food-industry buyers say. But they are easier to produce and are thus cheaper and more consistently priced. Today Peru accounts for almost 90% of the world’s cochineal sales, a concentration that leads to wild price swings given that country’s volatile weather conditions. cochineal prices range anywhere from $15 to $100 a pound within a given year.
“We’re always looking for new suppliers,” says Jeff Greaves, general manager of U.S. operations for San-Ei Gen FFI Inc. of Osaka, Japan, one of the world’s biggest vendors of carmine. “A lot more companies would use cochineal if they could depend on steady supply and pricing.”
That’s what Mr. Del Rio is counting on. Since coming here 12 years ago from Mexico’s capital, Mr. Del Rio has worked to revive bug farming, fashioning himself as a regular Juanito Appleseed, spreading his knowledge to bug-cultivation and spreading some bugs too.
Wrapping his colonies in gauze bandages, Mr. Del Rio tramps the hills of Oaxaca looking for peasants seeking a little extra income. For producers further afield, he’s even willing to ship the colonies via overnight express. “Plane or bus, the bugs don’t mind,” he says, “They can live 24 hours on the road without eating. They’re plenty hungry when they arrive.”
Once the cochineal bugs are in place, they weave their own gauzelike cocoons, which resemble a dusting of flour on flat cactus leaves. All the farmer has to do is wait for them to fatten on cactus juice before sweeping them into a basket. After the harvest, the dried shells look like grains of silver sand. Dissolved in water, one ounce can yield anywhere from a pint to a quart of colorant, depending on the shade of red preferred. Besides teaching peasants the care and feeding of cochineal bugs, Mr. Del Rio serves as a market-maker, promising to buy any dried husks they want to sell. He says he pays slightly less than the going rate -around $50 per 2-pound packet- because he wants to encourage producers to shop for the best price from commercial buyers.
Officials in Oaxaca don’t believe Mr. Del Rio’s good works will prompt a cochineal investment boom. But to Francisco Ramos, a state rural development worker, that’s almost besides the point. He has identified hundreds of families whose annual income is less than $500 per year who would benefit from raising just a few bugs. “They might only make $50 a year,” he says “But for them, that’s a lot.”
Mr. Del Rio agrees, adding that since so much cactus already grows wild, there’s no need for outside investment to revive the industry. “I’d rather have a thousand families raising one pound of bugs a year, than one family raising a thousand,” he says. Wall Street Journal
Cochineal Ink Base:
10g. powdered cochineal is boiled in 700ml of distilled water until the volume has been slowly reduced to about 300ml; 15ml of dilute ammonia solution is added, filter and bottle. Ammonia can be replaced with alum or vinegar to produce
different shades James Stroud UofT, Austin.
To make a liquid Lake:
Pound some cochineal and alum together; then boil them with a certain quantity of lemon-peel cut very small. And when it is come to the right colour you want, pass it through a cloth.
Liquid Lake another way.
On a quantity of alum and cochineal pounded and boiled together, pour, drop by drop, oil of tartar, till it comes to a fine colour.
For making Carmine:
1. Boil two quarts of spring water in a varnished pipkin; and, when it boils, throw in seven pugils of pulverised chouam. After this has thrown two or three bubbles, take it off from the fire, and decant it in another clean pipkin. then put in this water five ounces of cochineal in powder, and boil it for a quarter of an hour. Add three pugils of autour, in fine powder, and make it throw four bubbles. Then add three pugils of Roman Alum in powder, and take it out directly from the fire, which must be made of live coals.
2. Strain all through a linen cloth, and divide this liquor into several delse vessels, and so let it remain for three weeks. At the end of that term pour off the water by inclination. You will find under a kind of mouldiness, which you must carefully pick off, and gather the carmine.
Note. Every five ounces of cochineal give one of carmine. It is to be grinded on marble. A general opinion prevails, that this operation is best done in the crescent of the moon. How far it is needful to observe this precept is left to the wise to determine. Valuable Secrets
A Good Way to make Carmine:
Make a little bag, tied very close, of fine venetian lake. Put it in a little varnished pipkin, with rain-water and cream of tartar, and boil it to a syrup. Thus you will have a fine carmine color.
Carmine, Another Way:
Grind dry, on porphyry, some of coccinella ursuta, sugar-candy, rock-alum, and gum arabic, all nearly in equal quantities, except the gum, of which you put a little less. Put these powders into a glass phial, and pour over a sufficient quantity of brandy to cover them, and squeeze over the juice of a lemon. Stop well the bottle, and set it in the sun for six weeks. Run the colour into shells, taking care that none of the ground should run out with it. Valuable Secrets
Lotur (this substance has not been identified), soapwort, alum and water are boiled together, then the strained water is mixed with dried and finely ground cochineal. This is boiled again, and produces ink of a beautiful glowing red. Al Rajhi Banking
King’s Red Ink:
Red ink may be made as follows: Take of cochineal in powder, 160 grains; carbonate of potassium, 320 grains; distilled water, 8 fluid ounces., mix together and boil; then add of alum, 80 grains; bitartrate of potassium, 2 ounces; let them stand for 24 hours, filter, and add 1/2 ounce of powdered gum Arabic.
King's American Dispensatory.
To make a Beautiful Red Lake
Take any quantity of cochineal, on which pour twice its weight of alcohol, and as much distilled water. Infuse for some days near a gentle fire, and then filter. To the filtered liquor add a few drops of the solution of tin, and a fine red precipitate will be formed. Continue to add a little solution of tin every 2 hours, till the whole of the coloring matter is precipitated. Lastly, edulcorate the precipitate by washing it in a large quantity of distilled water and then dry it. Household Cyclopedia
To Prepare Florentine Lake
The sediment of cochineal that remains in the bottom of the kettle in which carmine is made, may be boiled with about 4 qts. of water, and the red liquor left after the preparation of the carmine mixed with it, and the whole precipitated with the solution of tin. The red precipitate must be frequently washed over with water. Exclusively of this, 2 oz. of fresh cochineal, and 1 of crystals of tartar, are to be boiled with a sufficient quantity of water, poured off clear, and precipitated with the solution of tin, and the precipitate washed. At the same time 2 lbs. of alum are also to be dissolved in water, precipitated with a lixivium of potash, and the white earth repeatedly washed with boiling water. Finally, both precipitates are to be mixed together in their liquid state, put upon a filter and dried. For the preparation of a cheaper sort, instead of cochineal, 1 lb. of Brazil wood may be employed in the preceding manner. Household Cyclopedia
1. Genuine carmine ink is made by placing 15 to 20 gr. of carmine in 3 oz. of water, and then to add so much strong liquid ammonia, drop by drop, till all the carmine is dissolved; then add 20 gr. of powered gum arabic. if you want a cheaper ink, substitute droplake for the carmine, but it is not so beautiful.
2. Macerate for 2 days, 5 parts of coarsely powdered cochineal and 10 parts of potassium carbonate with 100 parts of distilled water, then add 30 parts of neutral potassium tartrate and 2 parts of chemically pure alum. Heat the mixture until the carbonic oxide is given off, add 5 parts of alcohol, and filter. Wash the filter with 10 parts distilled water, dissolve 5 parts of gum arabic in the filtrate, and add a little oil of cloves.
3. Pure carmine 2 dr.; ammonia water, 5 dr. water, 3 1/2 oz.; mucilage of gum arabic, 3 dr. This ink should be put in rubber of glass-stoppered bottles, as ammonia affects cork.
4. Wincker’s. Rub fine 6 parts of red carmine with 75 parts of liquid water glass. Dilute this mixture with 675 parts of rain water. Let is stand a few days, and pour off the fluid.
5. Bottger rubs up carmine and silicate of soda, and then adds to this mixture a concentrated silicate solution till the whole is of sufficient consistency to write well. The product gives a very brilliant ink when dry, and dries quickly. It must be kept out of contact of air in a well closed vessel.
6. Dissolve 20 gr. of pure carmine in 3 fl. oz. of liquid ammonia; add 18 gr. of powdered gum.
Carmine Drawing Ink
The ordinary solution of carmine in ammonia water, after a short time in contact with steel, becomes blackish red, but an ink may be made that will retain its brilliant carmine color to the last by the following process, given by Dingler: Triturate 1 part of pure carmine with 15 parts of acetate of ammonia solution, with an equal quantity of distilled water in a porcelain mortar, and allow the whole to stand for some time. In this way a portion of the alumina, which is combined with the carmine dye, is taken up by the acetic acid of the ammonia salt, and separates as a precipitate, while the pure pigment of the cochineal remains dissolved in the half saturated ammonia. It is now filtered and a few drops of pure white sugar syrup added to thicken it. A solution of gum arabic cannot be used to thicken it, since the ink still contains some acetic acid, which would coagulate the bassorine, one of the constituents of the gum. Hiscox, HTCF
Crimson Indelible Ink.
The following formula makes an indelible crimson ink: Silver nitrate, 30 parts; Sodium carbonate, crystal, 73 parts; Tartaric acid, 16 parts; Carmine, 1 part; Ammonia water, strongest, 288 parts; Sugar, white, crystallized, 36 parts; Gum arabic, powdered, 60 parts; Distilled water, quantity sufficient to make 400 parts.
Dissolve the silver nitrate and the sodium carbonate separately, each in a portion of the distilled water, mix the solutions, collect the precipitate on a filter, wash, and put the washed precipitate, still moist into a mortar, To this add the tartaric acid and rub together until effervescence ceases. Now, dissolve the carmine in the ammonia water (which latter should be of specific gravity .882 or contain 34 per cent of ammonia), filter, and add the filtrate to the silver tartrate magma in the mortar. Add the sugar and gum arabic, rub up together, and add gradually with constant agitation, sufficient distilled water to make 400 parts. Hiscox, HTCF
Pour 2 parts of ammonium carbonate dissolved in 200 parts of cold water over 40 parts of finely pulverized cochineal and 2 parts of alum. Shake every 15 minutes for about 2 hours. Filter the ink, and filter carefully. Alice Sink
Boil 20 parts of cochineal in 500 parts of distilled water for 3 hours. Filter and reboil. Add 2 parts each of alum and tin salt and cool. Adding minute quantities of hydrochloric acid drop by drop may enhance the color. Expose to the sun in glass covered shallow dishes for several weeks. The carmine will precipitate out. Collect the precipitate on filter paper, dissolve in dilute ammonium hydroxide, reprecipitate with hydrochloric acid, redissolve in dilute ammonium hydroxide and add to 500 parts of water and 10 parts of gum. Alice Sink
Meat Stamping Ink - Red
Carmine, 16; Ammonium Hydroxide, 120; Glycerin, 45: stir until dissolved then stir in Dextrin, 20. Bennett,CF
Crimson Textile dye:
For 1 lb. of goods: Dip the goods in an alum fixing bath, then in a dye bath of cochineal, 3 oz.’ nutgalls bruised 2 oz; cream of tartar, 1/4 oz; water 1 1/2 gal. Boil together 10 minutes, then allow to cool. When a little cool put in the goods, boil up, and keep it at this for 1 hour. Hopkins, SACF
“Turkey Red” Cochineal Ink:
Take ground cochineal, 20g. ; ground gall- nuts, 10g. ; cream of tartar, 10g. , and boil in 600ml. of water until reduced in half and filter hot. A beautiful red flocculant should form when cool.
Cochineal Printing Ink 1859:
Carmine... is a more brilliant color than lake, and possesses more depth; it is readily ground into a fine ink. I should strongly recommend balsam of copaiva to be used as a varnish, when carmine is employed as a printing-ink, on account of its paleness, as I should be afraid of the deeper shade of printing-ink varnish injuring its brightness. Carmine is too expensive to be used as a printing-ink, except for very particular purposes.
...As it may be necessary sometime to use this color of deeper tone than that possessed by the lake of commerce, I think I shall be doing a service by giving a recipe, which has not, to my knowledge, been published before, for making a very superior lake, of a much more brilliant color than can be purchased.
Take one ounce of the best cochineal, powder it, and boil it in one quart of water, until the coloring-matter is extracted; then let the cochineal subside, and pour the liquid into another vessel; when cold, pour gradually into this decoction some muriate of tin, and keep stirring it; the muriate of tin immediately changes the decoction into a most beautiful color. Be cautious, in the first instance, of not putting in too much of the muriate of tin. Let it subside, and if the supernatant liquor be nearly colorless, there is a sufficient quantity of muriate of tin; if it still retain any considerable portion of coloring-matter, a small quantity more must be added; but I would not advise so much as to precipitate every portion of the color in the supernatant liquor. When this is done, add a little powdered alum, and assist its dissolution by occasional stirring. Let is subside; then pour off the greater portion of the liquor, and wash the color well in three or four waters; this is done by adding a considerable portion of the purest water you can obtain, stirring it up well each time. and, when the color has subsided, pouring as much water off as you can without disturbing the color. As the color subsides, keep pouring off the water; by this process the color is divested of the acid in the muriate of tin; then dry the precipitate gradually, with as little heat and dust as possible, and a lake will be produced far deeper in color and superior to any that can be purchased in the market - in fact it may be termed a fine carmine. During the process of making it the addition of salt of tartar will give it a purple tinge. Lynch
Flag Red Wool dye:
1 pound dry wool;
3 1/3 ounces powdered cochineal;
3 1/3 ounces cream of tartar;
1 3/5 ounces concentrated nitric acid;
1/4 ounce stannous chloride.
Soak the cochineal and cream of tartar in water; add this mixture to 4 to 4 1/2 gallons of boiling water. Boil for 10 minutes, strain, then add the nitric acid and stannous chloride which were previously dissolved in 1 cup of water. (Caution: Always pour acid into water; never pour water into acid.) Immerse the dry wool in the dyebath and allow it to boil for 1 1/2 hours. Stir this dyebath constantly. Rinse wool and dry. Adrosko
1 pound wool;
2 1/2 ounces powdered cochineal;
1 teaspoon vinegar.
Use chrome mordant. Boil the cochineal and vinegar in a small amount of water for 10 minutes. Strain the liquid, then add water to make a dyebath of 4 to 4 1/2 gallons. Thoroughly rinse the wool and squeeze out excess moisture. Immerse the wool; heat to the boiling point; boil for 30 minutes, rinse and dry. Adrosko
Though cochineal, in a state of division, gives to essence very little color in comparison with that which it communicates to water, carmine may be introduced into the composition of varnish colored by dragon's blood. The result will be a purple red, from which various shades may be easily formed. Household Cyclopedia
Alum - aluminum potassium sulfate-
K2SO4 - Al2(SO4)3 - 24H2O
Ammonia - NH3
Brazilwood - water soluble dye. There are European records of true red dyes during the Middle Ages, primarily from the heartwood of an Asian tree called sappanwood (Caesalpinia sappan). Sappanwood is native to India, Malaya and Sri Lanka, and is cultivated throughout the Asian tropics. The wood was imported into Europe since medieval times, but only in limited quantities. The dye was a beautiful red, the color of burning coals (in Old French and English "braise") and was called bresil or brasil by the early Portuguese traders. In 1500, Portuguese ships discovered and claimed the Atlantic side of South America that straddled the equator and the tropic of Capricorn. This massive land was called "Terra de Brasil" and later Brazil, because of the dyewood trees (Caesalpinia echinata) that grew there in abundance. Like the closely related sappanwood, the valuable dye from brazilwood (called brazilin) became a popular coloring agent for cotton, woolen cloth and red ink. As with precious cargoes of gold and jewels, Portuguese ships loaded with brazilwood were favorite targets of marauding buccaneers on the high seas . http://waynesword.palomar.edu/ecoph4.htm
Carmine - A deep crimson; related to crimson, from kermes, from the Arabic qirmizi. A dyestuff precipitated on clay, made from the ground female Coccus cacti, or cochineal, The finest quality, known as nacarat carmine, is non-poisonous and quite beautiful with the peculiarity of being more permanent in transmitted light as a transparent color, than when under direct light.
Chemical Properties: Soluble in ammonia. Carmine is an aluminum and calcium salt of carminic acid, an anthraquinone derivative, and carmine lake is an aluminum or aluminum-tin lake of cochineal extract, whereas crimson lake is prepared by striking down an infusion of cochineal with a 5 per cent solution of alum and cream of tartar. Purple lake is prepared like carmine lake with the addition of lime to produce the deep purple tone. Carmine lake is insoluble in water. It burns completely leaving a white ash, and smells in the process like burnt horn.
Cochineal - C22H20O13 - glucoacidic red dye from the insect Coccus Cacti. It lives on various cactus plants in Mexico and in Central and South America. It was brought to Europe shortly after the discovery of those countries, first described by Mathioli in 1549.
Ferrous Sulfate - FeSO4-7H2O - green vitriol
Grain - grana(L), Kokkos (Gr) - berry; coccum, granum, coccigranum, greyn - generally referring to one of the lake dye insects.
Gum Arabic - a water soluble gum from various varieties of acacia. Used to give body to ink.
Hydrochloric Acid - HCl, used to increase ink flow from the pen and aid in keeping precipitate in suspension.
Indigo - a popular blue vegetable dye.
Logwood - water soluble dye, the Spanish had discovered another leguminous tree in Yucatan with a deep red heartwood very similar to brazilwood. The tree became known as logwood (Haematoxylum campechianum), and by the late 1500s Spanish ships were exporting large cargoes of the valuable heartwood from the Yucatan coast. At this time it was common practice for British privateers to attack and destroy the Spanish vessels. In his book British Honduras (1883), A. R. Gibbs describes one such privateer, a Captain James, who discovered that the debarked heartwood sold in England for the enormous price of one hundred pounds sterling per ton. English political economist Sir William Petty estimated that the average value of merchandise a ship of the 1600s could carry in a year was 1000 to 1500 pounds sterling. A single load of 50 tons of logwood was worth more than an entire year's cargo of other merchandise!
Oak-Galls - deformed boils that look like nuts from the branches of various oak trees induced by various parasitic wasps. Saturated with natural tannic acid and gallic acid.
Oxalic Acid - HOOCCOOH-2H2O
Potassium Ferricyanide - K3Fe(CN)6
Sugar - used to make ink glossy.
Tannic Acid - Tannins are any of a group of astringent vegetable principles or compounds, as the reddish compound that gives the tanning properties to oak bark or the whitish compound which occurs in large quantities in gall-nuts.
Venetian Lake - It is difficult to say what this pigment really was. The anonymous author of the “Trattato di Miniatura” before mentioned states that the “lacca fina di Venezia” was composed of cochineal after the carmine had been extracted. Pierre Pomet says that it was made of cochineal, Bresil of Fernambouc, burnt alum, arsenic, and Egyptian natron, or white soda. According to Palomino, Venetian lake was composed of gum lac and grana, or cochineal. Merrifield
Vermillion - [early use] from vermiculum(L) meaning “little worm.” Latter usage became confused with the mercury-sulfide vermillion.
Adrosko, Rita J. Natural Dyes and Home Dyeing. 1971 New York, Dover Publications.
Anon. “History and Culture of Cochineal,” National Recorder, 1821 Vol. 5, Philadelphia
Bennett, H. The Chemical Formulary (In 5 vol.)
1933-41. Brooklyn, Chemical Publishing Co.
Bennett, H. 1943. Formulas for Profit, Cleveland, The World Publishing Co.
Brotherston, Gordon. 1995. Painted Books from Mexico. London, British Library.
Norman Brown & Alice Sink, “Tools of the Scribe: Ink & Pigments” , Alphabet: The Journal of the Friends of Calligraphy, In three parts-Summer/Fall 1983 & Spring 1984
Carvalho, David N., Forty Centuries of Ink, or a Chronological Narrative Concerning Ink and Its Background 1904. New York: Banks Law Publishing Co.
Delamare, Francois Colors: The Story of Dyes and Pigments. 2000 New York, Abrams Inc.
Hiscox, Gardner D. & Sloane, T. O’Connor, 1946. Fortunes in Formulas for Home, Farm, and Workshop. New York, Book Inc.
Hiscox, Gardner D. Henley’s Twentieth Century Formulas, Recipes and Processes, 1931. New York, Norman Henley Publishing Co.
Hopkins, Albert A. The Scientific American Cyclopedia of Formulas 1928. New York, Scientific American Publishing Co.
Levey, Martin “Mediaeval Arabic Bookmaking and it Relation to Early Chemistry and Pharmacology” Transactions of the American Philosophical Society: New Series, Vol. 52, part 4, 1962. Philadelphia, American Philosophical Society.
Lynch, Thomas, The Printer’s Manual, 1859.
reprinted 1981. New York, Garland Publishing, Inc.
Merrifield, Mary P. Medieval and Renaissance Treatises on the Arts of Painting. 1999. New York,
Nickell, Joe Pen, Ink & Evidence. 1990 Lexington, Kentucky. University Press of Kentucky. A study of writing and writing materials for the penman, collector, and document detective.
The Penny Magazine of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (1832-1845). The Penny Magazine was the first mass-market magazine, and the first magazine to make extensive use of illustrations. Its intended audience was literate artisans and laborers; its purpose was to improve the minds and discipline the behavior of a potentially unruly class. For a recent account see Patricia Anderson, The Printed Image and the Transformation of Popular Culture, 1790-1860 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1991)
Sandberg, Gosta, The Red Dyes: Cochineal, Madder, and Murex Purple. 1997, Lark Books, Asheville, NC.
Thompson, Daniel V. The Materials and Techniques of Medieval Painting. 1954. New York, Dover Publishing
Valuable Secrets: concerning Arts and Trades or Approved Directions from the best Artists for the various Methods. 3rd. American Edition, 1798. Boston, J. Bumstead’s Printing Office.
Wiborg, Frank B. Printing Ink. 1926, New York,
Harper & Bros.
Harvey Wickes Felter M.D and John Uri Lloyd. King's American Dispensatory., 1898.
The Household Cyclopedia of General Information 1881. www.publicbookshelf.com/public_html/
Al Rajhi Banking & Investment Corporation Calligrapher and his Tools
Other Basic Ink Recipes:
Boil 100g. of fine cut brazilwood chips in 1000ml. of water and reduce to 500ml. or less. Vinegar can be substituted for water. Filter solution and add 50g. Alum and 25-50g. gum arabic.
Take 100g. of broken oak-gall nuts, from tree or ground. Boil in 1 liter of distilled water; reduce to 250ml by boiling for about an hour with 33g. ferrous sulfate. Filter galls out and add 10ml. HCl and aprox. 1tsp of gum arabic.
Indigo Additive for Iron-Gall Inks:
To 100 parts water add 20 parts NaOH; add 10 parts Indigo powder and 20 parts ferrous sulfate. Shake & wait for two days.
Dissolve 50g. potassium ferricyanide in 500ml. of water. Then separately dissolve 50g. ferrous sulfate in 500ml. of water; then slowly mix the two solutions together to form the precipitate, stirring throughout the process. Drain onto a blotter and attempt to clean to precipitate. Dry to a powder, perhaps on a hotplate. To make the ink medium, prepare a hot mixture of 250ml. water in which 20-40g gum arabic is added with 20-25g. oxalic acid. Stir in prussian blue powder to desired intensity. Maybe poisonous. Don’t use hydro-chloric acid!
Bryant Laboratories in Berkeley, CA
510-526-3141 Supplies chemicals and glassware to artists, very friendly.
Kremer Pigments Inc.
228 Elizabeth Street,
New York, NY. 10012
212-219-2394 or 800-995-5501
Dr. Georg F. Kremer,
011.49.7565.91120 or fax 011.49.7565.1606
Ootheca Press Laboratory
218 Roanoke Street
San Francisco, CA 94131-3052
1. Cactus Family (Cactaceae):
The cochineal insects on this cactus pad are covered by a protective cottony mass which they secrete. They belong to the order Homoptera and are related to aphids, scale insects and mealy bugs. Female cochineal insects are brushed from the cactus pads, dried, and the bright red pigments are extracted from the dried bodies. One pound of dye represents about 70,000 insect bodies. Cochineal-laden cacti were introduced into Australia for this valuable dye with disastrous consequences. By 1925, 60 million acres of valuable range land was covered by prickly pear cactus. A bright red dye and the biological stain carmine used in microbiology classes is made from the crushed bodies of these unusual insects. The washcloth in the photo was dyed with cochineal; however, without the proper mordants it will wash out and fade rapidly. Note: To control the spread of prickly pear cactus in Australia, the cactus moth (Cactoblastis cactorum) was introduced, and by 1930, thanks to the voracious larvae, vast areas of cactus scrub had been denuded; however, this method of biological control has raised havoc in other areas of the world due to "nontarget effects." The moth has attacked other species of cacti, some of which are rare and endangered.][ cochin2b.jpg]
A plump female cochineal insect (Dactylopus coccus) [cochin1b.jpg] which has just given birth to several tiny nymphs. Her minute legs are concealed by a protective cottony mass which she secretes around her body. The bright red body fluids are the source of cochineal dye.
Cochineal entry from Waynesword (Botany)
The use of Cochineal
Dyeing of a fiber: Dyeing of clothes, Japanese clothes, and textiles, dyeing as dyeing with vegetable dyes.
Cosmetics: Lipsticks, rouge, facial powder make up, eye brown pencil, nail enamel, etc.
Food additive: meat, ham, sausage, confectionery, etc.
Medicine field: give a color and it is not mistaken.
Medical field: organization is dyed and diagnosed by biopsy.
Red ink: the red ink of cochineal does not fade.
It must not be in our life and is playing an active payment in all field.
Coccus cacti LINNE
Dactylopius coccus Costa
Consists of dried bodies of the female insect.
From the dryness object of cochineal, Carmine acid is obtained by aqueous alcoholic extract from cochineal.
An orange-purplish red color is presented.
The method of breeding Cochineal
Japanese name: ENJIMUSI,
Place of production:?It is the insect to live on cactus at the desert area of central and south America.
The method of breeding: After the rainy season is completely insect attachment of the female bred on another building is carried out at a cactus. Then started soon. Then, the larva which hatched begins to cover a cactus. A male has few numbers and a female swells twice after conception.
Before laying eggs, after writing the female with the brush, collecting it with it and killing with solar heat, it is made to dry in the shade.
The place of origin is Mexico and Guatemala.
Coccus (U. S. P.)—Cochineal.
King's American Dispensatory.
by Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D., and John Uri Lloyd, Phr. M., Ph. D., 1898.
Preparation: Tincture of Cochineal - Cochineal color
The dried female of Coccus cacti, Linné"—(U. S. P).
Class: Insecta. Order: Hemiptera"—(U. S. P.).
Source.—The cochineal insect, Coccus cacti, belongs to the class Insecta, order Hemiptera; the general characters are: Tarsi, with one joint, terminated by a single hook. The male is destitute of a rostrum, and has two wings covering the body horizontally; the abdomen is terminated by 2 setae. The female is apterous, and furnished with a rostrum. The antennae are of 11 joints, filiform, and setaceous. The males are very small, with antennae shorter than the body, which iselongated, deep-red, and terminated by 2 long, diverging setae. The 2 wings are beautifully snow-white, large, and crossed above the abdomen. The females are nearly twice as large as the males, wingless, bluish-red, covered with a white farina, have the antennae short, and the body convex and 3 flattened below, with short feet.
History.—The Cochineal insects inhabit Mexico, and other parts of tropical America, where they feed on the Opuntia and Cactus families of plants. They are also cultivated extensively in the Canary Islands, and to some extent in the West Indies, and have been introduced into southern Spain, though their cultivation in the latter country is said to have been unprofitable. They are collected at various seasons. The best are the product of the first collection, which consists of the impregnated females; the males not being gathered. Those killed by the heat of a stove are said to be superior to those destroyed by boiling water and sun-dried.
The insects are protected during the rainy season by coverings placed over the cactus plants on which they are feeding. After pleasant weather has returned they are taken out and planted or sown on the different species of Opuntia, particularly the Opuntia cochinillifera of Miller, known to the Mexican natives as nopal. The male insect, which is very rapid in its movements, flies to the female, and, after the act of fecundation, the female attaches itself to the plant and remains stationary, rapidly enlarging from the development of an immense number of eggs within the body, and, in this distorted condition is knocked off the plant with feathers and dull knives, and either dipped into hot water and afterwards sun-dried, or killed by being placed in heated ovens. A few are left, however, to deposit their eggs, shortly after which they die. The eggs, hatching in the sun, give an innumerable supply of young insects, which at once distribute themselves over the plant, and begin feeding, In this manner 3 crops are gathered yearly from the nopal plantations. For a full and instructive account of the cultivation of cochineal in Central America, see Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1873, p. 30.
Description.—The U. S. P. thus describes cochineal: "About 5 Mm. (1/5 inch, long; of a purplish-gray or purplish-black color; somewhat oblong and angular in outline; flat or concave beneath; convex above; transversely wrinkled; easily pulverizable, yielding a dark-red powder. Odor faint; taste slightly bitterish. Cochineal contains a red coloring matter soluble in water, alcohol, or water of ammonia, slightly soluble in ether, insoluble in fixed and volatile oils. On macerating cochineal in water it swells up, but no insoluble powder should be separated. When completely incinerated, cochineal should leave not more than 5 per cent of ash"—(U. S. P.). As met in commerce, cochineal is sometimes covered with a white bloom, which, if not due to adulteration, consists of a wax-like body (see below). When properly kept it is not liable to deteriorate. There are two varieties, silver grains (silver, or Honduras cochineal) and black grains (zaccatilla cochineal). The silver cochineal, of a reddish ash-color, is said to be procured by destroying the female insect previous to laying its eggs, and is the most esteemed; the black cochineal, of nearly a black color, is obtained, by killing the female after the eggs have been laid (Amer. Jour. Pharm., Vol. XVIII, p. 47). According to other statements the silver grains are the product of oven-killed insects, or those allowed to perish by sun-heat, while the black grains are produced by immersion of the live insect in boiling water. There are also inferior grades, consisting chiefly of uncultivated young insects, called granilla (grana sylvestra). Dr. Jas. Stark, in 1855, directed attention to a commercial form, called "cake cochineal," imported from Cordova, Argentine Republic. However, it possessed only 1/6 of the coloring strength of ordinary cochineal.
Chemical Composition.—Cochineal imparts a violet-red tinge to the saliva. It was first analyzed by Pelletier and Caventou, in 1818, and according to Hager (Handbuch, 1886), was found by subsequent analyses to contain moisture (about 6 per cent), fatty matter (15 to 18 per cent), red coloring matter (40 to 45 per cent), ash (3.5 to 5 per cent), and insoluble matter (7 to 11 per cent). The red coloring matter, first investigated closely by Warren de la Rue, in 1847, has been called carminic acid, and, following the later researches of Grabowski and Hlasiwetz, was believed to be a glucosid capable of being resolved by the action of diluted sulphuric acid, into carmine-red and sugar. Von Miller and Rohde (1893), however, established the non-glucosidal character of this substance. Pure carminic acid, by treatment with boiling dilute sulphuric acid, remained on the whole unaffected, although partial decomposition took place, yielding formic acid and a strongly reducing substance of unknown composition (Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1894; from Berichte, 1893). According to Liebermann and Voswinckel (1897), carminic acid yields upon oxidation cochenillic acid (C10H8O7) and coccinic acid (C9H8O5) which are (tri- and dicarboxyl) derivatives of meta kresol (C6H4.CH3.OH). The exact structural formula of carminic acid is not exactly established.
Carminic acid (carmine-red) usually occurs as a brown-purple body, but may be obtained in large, garnet-red crystals by treating good commercial cochineal with 5 times its weight of water, filtering, agitating with 20 times its weight of glacial acetic acid, filtering again, and allowing the solution to crystallize over sulphuric acid (v. Muller and Rohde). Carminic acid is soluble in alkalies, warm water, and alcohol; not soluble in oils and fats; aluminum salts precipitate it in the form of a purple-lake. Will and Leymann obtained from 5 kilograms of the silver-gray variety of cochineal, 400 to 500 grammes of pure carmine-red. These investigators also obtained two bromine compounds (C10H4Br4O3) and C11H5Br3O4), which are mainly of theoretical interest (see Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1886, p. 91). The whitish material covering the insect was investigated by Liebermann (1885), who found it to be a peculiar wax, soluble in benzol, which he named coccerin, the constituents of which are coccerylic acid (C31H62O3), melting at about 92° C. (197.6° F.), and cocceryl alcohol (C30H62O2), melting at about 104° C. (239.2° F.). Besides, he found in cochineal myristin (1.5 to 2 per cent), and liquid fatty oil (4 to 6 per cent). Liebermann observed 1 to 2 per cent of coccerin in the silver variety, 0.5 to 1 per cent in the black variety, while from granilla (the inferior kind) he obtained 4.2 per cent (Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1886).
Adulterations.—Carmine has been adulterated largely with starch, vermilion, dichromate of lead, talcum, etc. These additions, however, may be readily detected by dissolving the cochineal coloring matter with aqua ammoniae, and examining the residue for the substances named. E. Donath, in Chem. Ztg., 1891, reports on a sample of commercial "ordinary" carmine, which consisted of lead oxide and alumina lakes of eosine, and contained much lead sulphate. Another specimen ("carmin antik") of good appearance was the barium compound of red corallin (related to rosolic acid and rosanilin), leaving, upon ignition, 75 per cent of barium carbonate (Amer. Jour. Pharm.).
Cochineal, especially in powder form, has been adulterated with French chalks, plumbago, soapstone, carbonate of lead, manganese dioxide, barium and iron salts, etc., to increase the weight, and the grains have even been imitated. The U. S. P., as stated before, fixes the upper limit of ash at 5 per cent. We, however, have found the majority of commercial specimens (both powdered and whole cochineal) to exceed this limit by far, the ash often running as high as 25 and 32 per cent. A species of Coccus (Coccus ilicis, Fabricius, feeding upon a Mediterranean oak (Quercus coccifera, Linné), has been occasionally met as an adulteration. It is known as chermes, kermes, or alkermes, and, when dried in the sun after having been treated with acetic acid, becomes colored a brown-red, and yields a carmine powder, producing with tin salt (SnCl2+2H2O) a bright scarlet-red color, similar to that derived from true coccus. They are nearly spherical and quite smooth.
Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage.—Anodyne and antispasmodic. Formerly used in whooping-cough and neuralgic affections. Also used to color tinctures and ointments, imparting a beautiful carmine hue. Webster (Dynam. Therap., p. 431) declares that coccus specifically influences the entire urinary tract and directs small doses in renal colic, copious voidings of clear, limpid urine, due to renal capillary relaxation, and in vesical tenesmus and urinal retention. He suggests that 10 to 15 drops of mother tincture be added to 4 fluid ounces of water, and a teaspoonful administered every 2 hours. Dose, from 5 to 10 grains, 3 or 4 times a day.
Specific Indications and Uses.—"Colica renalis, with dark-colored urine and pain extending down ureters to bladder" (Watkins' Comp. of Ec. Med.).
Derivative.—CARMINE (derived from cochineal) is not a definite principle, but contains a mixture of nitrogenous compounds, ash, wax, and coloring matter to the extent of as high as 60 per cent. It may be prepared by precipitating a filtered cochineal decoction with bitartrate of potassium or alum, and collecting and drying the precipitate at about 30° C. (86° F.).
RED INK.—Red ink may be made as follows: Take of cochineal in powder, 160 grains; carbonate of potassium, 320 grains; distilled water, 8 fluid ounces., mix together and boil; then add of alum, 80 grains; bitartrate of potassium, 2 ounces; let them stand for 24 hours, filter, and add 1/2 ounce of powdered gum Arabic.
Liquor Carmini (N. F.)—Solution of Carmine.
Preparation.—"Carmine, sixty grammes (60 Gm.) [2 ozs. av., 51 grs.]; water of ammonia (U. S. P.), three hundred and fifty cubic centimeters (350 Cc.) [11 fl, 401]; glycerin, three hundred and fifty cubic centimeters (350 Cc.) [11 fl, 401]; water, a sufficient quantity to make one thousand cubic centimeters (1000 Cc.) [33 fl, 391]. Triturate the carmine to a fine powder in a wedgewood mortar, gradually add the water of ammonia, and afterward the glycerin, under constant trituration. Transfer the mixture to a porcelain capsule, and heat it upon a water-bath, constantly stirring, until the liquid is entirely free from ammoniacal odor. Then cool and add enough water to make one thousand cubic centimeters (1000 Cc.) [33 fl, 391]. Note.—The best quality of carmine, known in commerce as 'No. 40,' should be used for this preparation"—(Nat. Form.).
Uses.—Solution of carmine is employed as a coloring agent for medicines and for syrups.
Related entry: Coccus (U. S. P.)—Cochineal
Related Preparation.—LIQUOR COCCINEUS (N. F.), Cochineal color. "Cochineal, in No. 50 powder, sixty grammes (60 Gm.) [2 ozs. av., 51 grs.]; potassium carbonate, thirty grammes (30 Gm.) [1 oz. av., 25 grs.]; alum, thirty grammes (30 Gm.) [1 oz. av., 25 grs.]; potassium bitartrate, sixty grammes (60 Gm.) [2 ozs. av., 51 grs.]; glycerin, five hundred cubic centimeters (500 Cc.) [16 fl, 435]; alcohol, thirty cubic centimeters (30 Cc.) [1 fl, 7]; water, a sufficient quantity to make one thousand cubic centimeters (1000 Cc.) [33 fl, 391]. Triturate the Cochineal intimately with the potassium carbonate and five hundred cubic centimeters (500 Cc.) [16 fl, 435] of water. Then add the alum and potassium bitartrate successively, heat the mixture to boiling in a capacious vessel, then set it aside to cool, add to it the glycerin and alcohol, filter, and pass enough water through the filter to make one thousand cubic centimeters (1000 Cc.) [33 fl, 391]"—(Nat. Form.). This agent is used in pharmacy as a coloring substance