PH indicator pen

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A marking pen containing a pH indicator dye in the ink. When a small dot of ink is applied to dampened paper, it will produce a color that is an approximate indication of the acidity or alkalinity of the paper. The dye residue will leave a permanent stain on the paper and should not be used on a work of art. However, it may be useful for matboards, lining paper and hinges (King et al 1970). Colored or coated papers may may produce inconsistent results. The Archival pen contains bromcresol green indicator solution, while the Lineco and Abbey pH pens contain chlorophenol red indicator solution.

Synonyms and Related Terms

pH Indikatorstift (Deut.); stylo indicateur de pH (Fr.);

Brand names: Archival Pen [Process Materials, NJ]; Lineco pH testing pen; pH pen; Litmus Pen; Abbey pH Pen

Resources and Citations

  • A.King, A.Pelikan, W.Falconer, "The Use of the Archivist's Pen and Universal pH Solution for Estimating the Surface pH of Paper" Studies in Conservation, 15:63-64, 1970.
  • J. Miller, E. McCrady, "Comparison of pH Pens on the Market" Alkaline Paper Advocate, 3(5), Nov. 1990. Link
  • Marjorie Shelley, The Care and Handling of Art Objects, The Metropolitan Museum, New York, 1987

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