INK (Hebr. "deyo"):
The only passage in the Old Testament in which ink is mentioned is Jer. xxxvi. 18. It would evidently, however, be a mistake to conclude that it was unknown in earlier times, for in this passage "deyo" is spoken of as something well known. Perhaps the Hebrew word "katab" presupposes the existence of ink; and ink was certainly known to the ancient Egyptians. It has not been determined how ink was prepared by the ancient Jews; at any rate the Talmudic "deyo" designates no fluid ink, but rather a cake of pigment which had to be made liquid before use. This ink was made chiefly from soot. Oil or balsam-gum was used to change the soot into a tough, pitchy substance (Shab. 23a); and that made with olive-oil was preferred, as it gave the finest pigment.
Gallnuts, first mentioned by Marcianus Capella, are unknown to the Mishnah, but are mentioned in the Gemara. A mineral ink was "ḳalḳantus" (χαλ κανθός), which was also used occasionally in Palestineunmixed. As the ancient world had mixed copper sulphate with the ink of gallnuts, R. Meïr (after 100
- L. Löw, Graphische Requisiten und Erzeugnisse bei den Juden, i. 145 et seq., Leipsic, 1870;
- Blau, Studien zum Althebräischen Buchwesen, pp. 150 et seq., Budapest, 1902.