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This was a new one on me.  Benoit had asked me to check my old Gibson label with a black light.  The serial number is completely faded, but apparently the black light can sometimes show remnants (some component) of the 100-year-old pencil inscription.  I plan to do this when it comes back from Carlsbad.
Meanwhile, this weekend a fellow right down the street inherited a Dyer and brought it over for evaluation.  It had a pre-1912 Knutsen-signed label, but nothing was remotely visible anymore.  So Jaci found our black light (one uses it to check for old dog urine, among other things) and I shined it over the hole.  It didn't seem to do much, until we turned off all other lights in the room.  NOW the ghostly purple glow showed "C. Knutsen" - Chris' signature, still hard to see, but all there in black.  The Style # was a mess, but the serial # was pretty clear - 14X (9, 3 or 5), an early specimen.
It worked, Ben!  I recommend anyone with old Dyers and Gibsons to try it - let's collect some more numbers!

Gregg Miner, editor,

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You can thanks Anne Sophie for here participation too! It was in here books on paper art restauration that I found the trick


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I believe there are also mega-expensive UV lenses (used by document historians, painting restorers and CSI-type detectives) to photograph black light images.

I was in the Angelus Temple Parsonnage today talking to the Director and they have a huge scroll signed by the Founders of the Church. Maybe half of the signatures have faded. I mentioned your black-light technique to her and she really got excited about the possibility of finally deciphering some of the names... I was excited as well, as Knutsen or Knutsen relatives may be on there too.

Darrell Urbien
Member, Echo Park Historical Society
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