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FROM VELLUM AND PARCHMENT TO PAPER AND A MULTITUDE OF OTHER SUBSTRATES

Monday, 02 May 2016 | By Gerry Mulvaney

 

By Gerry Mulvaney, European Sales Manager, Landa Digital Printing

In the venerable Mother of all Parliaments in London, there has been a veritable furore about a decision by the upper house, to save some money on the way that the activities of both the House of Lords and the House of Commons are recorded.

For the last 1,000 years it has been the practice of the Britain’s lawmakers and monarchs to scribe their rulings onto vellum, the material made from the skins of calves. In a sign of the times the Lords decided to save money by switching to archival paper for future law making. The decision created such an outrage amongst the members of both chambers that their Lordships reversed the decision, and with financial support from the Cabinet office of the Prime Minister, the deliberations of the UK’s politicians will continue to be recorded in the traditional way.

The name vellum comes from the old French word for calfskin – vélin, and the nature of the material is such that it has a terrific longevity. In fact the oldest recorded law in the houses of parliament was written onto vellum in 1497. The world famous Magna Carta was also recorded onto vellum over 800 years ago and is still in readable condition, so the product has got a good pedigree.

The Magna Carta on vellum

The Magna Carta written on vellum, a calfskin parchment

Vellum is made by soaking the calfskins in a lime wash and then scraping away the hair and fat to produce an even thickness before the skins are dried ready for use. It is a technique that has survived the test of time and by its very nature is going to be a more costly process than papermaking.

Across the Atlantic our American friends used a similar method to record their Declaration of Independence from the British, their Constitution and their Bills of Rights. In their case, they recorded these important documents onto parchment, another form of writing material made from animal skins.

The American Constitution on parchment

The American Constitution written on parchment

So you can see that the process of government deliberation has for centuries been recorded with the purpose of longevity in mind.

NanoInk® Colourants Print on Plain Paper, Textured Substrates and Just About Anything

From very old substrates to the very latest plastic and laminated materials, committing information to paper and board has obviously got a lot of life left in it.

At drupa in Hall 9 from May 31-June 10, you will be able to see how Benny Landa’s Nanography® will be playing its part in the future of packaging, point of purchase/sale (POP/POS), publishing and commercial print.

While it’s too soon to say if we will have customers printing onto vellum and parchment, they might just be among the many different substrates we are likely to see printed on, using Nanographic Printing® presses.


Sources
Main page images:
• http://media.news.harvard.edu/gazette/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/011215_Magna_Carta_017_605.jpg
• http://parchmentsheets.com/yahoo_site_admin/assets/images/PicturesOldComputer_446.9094215_std.jpg

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