Author Topic: Illegible handwriting - can anything be done?  (Read 1872 times)

Offline chirp

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Illegible handwriting - can anything be done?
« on: Thursday 16 April 09 11:04 BST (UK) »
I have a small collection of early 20th C postcards sent to members of my family. In many cases the handwriting has faded badly and in some cases disappeared altogether.  Does anyone know of any process which is available to enable some of this handwriting to be restored or of any way of reading what is there?  Many were written in pencil but some were in ink. Has anyone else found a solution to this problem?
Chirp
AVERY, Berks, BLUNDELL, North Meols, BOND, Wilts,  BRUNDRETT, Lancs, CHORLTON, Salford, DUNKLEY, West Haddon, FOGGIN, Yorks, GRANT, Durham,  GRESTY, Salford, GRINDROD, Salford, HUMM, Bethnal Green, MALONEY, Limerick & Lancs,  MARCHANT, Worcs, McPHERSON, Kent, MELLISH, Finsbury, PERRETT, Wilts,  RAGG, Yorks, RAINSFORD, Staffs, RENSHAW, Salford, ROSS, Leicester, TIGHE/TYE, All, WELLER, Berks, WILKINSON, Wes
Early 19th C Hairdressing & Perfumery
Spittalfields Silkweavers
Glass making, S Shields

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Offline MKG

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Re: Illegible handwriting - can anything be done?
« Reply #1 on: Thursday 16 April 09 11:23 BST (UK) »
Hi Chirp

I can't tell you anything about chemical means of restoration, if any, but I would have thought that the first thing to do if there is any trace of the handwriting left is to photograph the cards WITHOUT flash (avoids horrible reflections) and at as high a resolution as possible. The resulting photographs can then be enhanced in something like Photoshop. There will be a definite improvement in legibility - but no guarantees, of course. If you're not a Photoshop user, put the photos up on this site for someone else to enhance - they love a challenge!

Mike
Griffiths, Howard, Johnson, McLeod, Rizz(a)(i)(o)
Berwick (Tweedmouth and Spittal), Blyth(N'land) between the wars, Wrexham, Tattersett

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Offline PrueM

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Re: Illegible handwriting - can anything be done?
« Reply #2 on: Thursday 16 April 09 11:43 BST (UK) »
Hi Chirp,
There's nothing that can be chemically applied to enhance ink/pencil but MKG has the next best solution and that's to digitally enhance it.

If you have a scanner, I've found the best way to do this is to set the scanner up to do a colour restoration, and use a high resolution.  Then when you have the resulting scan, open it in a graphics program and use the settings there to fiddle with brightness, contrast, colour balance etc.

The way it's usually done in forensics and document conservation is using multi-spectral imaging (i.e. everything from infra-red to ultraviolet) to try to get the ink or pencil to absorb light and appear darker.  Unfortunately this method isn't available to us mere mortals!

Good luck

Cheers
Prue

Offline chirp

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Re: Illegible handwriting - can anything be done?
« Reply #3 on: Thursday 16 April 09 11:48 BST (UK) »
Thank you Mike and Prue for your helpful and prompt replies. Yes I do have a scanner so will do some fiddling as Prue suggests. I know someone who is familiar with Photoshop so will enlist their help. Failing all of that I will post one or two here - brilliant thanks again!
Chirp
AVERY, Berks, BLUNDELL, North Meols, BOND, Wilts,  BRUNDRETT, Lancs, CHORLTON, Salford, DUNKLEY, West Haddon, FOGGIN, Yorks, GRANT, Durham,  GRESTY, Salford, GRINDROD, Salford, HUMM, Bethnal Green, MALONEY, Limerick & Lancs,  MARCHANT, Worcs, McPHERSON, Kent, MELLISH, Finsbury, PERRETT, Wilts,  RAGG, Yorks, RAINSFORD, Staffs, RENSHAW, Salford, ROSS, Leicester, TIGHE/TYE, All, WELLER, Berks, WILKINSON, Wes
Early 19th C Hairdressing & Perfumery
Spittalfields Silkweavers
Glass making, S Shields

Offline Brynster84

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Maloney, Gill court , Salford 1854
« Reply #4 on: Saturday 09 September 17 11:03 BST (UK) »
Hi Chirp , I've seen that one of your topics and interests are in my family Maloney, I've recently found out that my great grandfather x 5 William Maloney was registered in Gill court Salford, do you have any other information or does anyone else ?