The Rubaiyat Indentations: where are they?
It certainly looks like whoever went over the letter ‘P’ was very careful in maintaining a smooth appearance, the bottom end of the curve is wider. (Clive)
The code mark up was done with a brush, probably a photographers retouching brush, not a pen. That is why the widths of the strokes vary and why there are thinning tails on some of the characters. (Byron)
I did some experiments and I found that 1949 type inks (non etching inks) give a “step ladder” effect due to the stuttering caused by a mismatch of the hydrophilicity between the ink and the clear overlay. (Byron)
Why no stutter on the letter A on either stroke? (Bowes)
The strokes that constitute the “A” are straight and done quickly. The most stuttering occurs on curves. (Byron)
The appearance of the verticals on next two letters (N and E) is an argument against that proposition. (Bowes)
What I found in my experiments was that a significant mismatch in the polarity between the ink and the substrate would cause the features that you have pointed out. The contact angle between an ink drop and the substrate is a good measure of the degree of polarity mismatch. I found that the following would also lead to variable outcomes:
a) the speed at which the line was drawn. Slower speed tended to produce a stutter or a drawing up into unconnected blobs.
b) the amount of ink spread on the substrate. Too little ink increased stuttering. Too much would lead to large separate blobs forming.
d) the degree of stuttering or “blobbing” varied with the width of the line.
This system is close to being chaotic in that small changes in the input states can lead to different outcomes.
Adding to the above variables are the variations in the polarity of the surface of the substrate (paper etc) that can be caused by manufacturing or caused by contamination such as oily finger prints. One can sometimes see this with cheap writing pads where a ball point pen refuses to write on one area of the paper.
In short, the system is close to being chaotic. (Byron)
The step-ladder appearance on the curve of the letter P is too uniform to be called chaotic. (Bowes)
They (the “Judders”) have almost certainly to do with with the interaction between the pen (whether laundry pen, Pelikan pen or whatever) and the support medium (Pelling)
Detective Brown said the telephone numbers were written in ‘tiny writing’ underneath the code.
Thanks to Gordon Cramer for some of the images. Others are taken direct from the Wiki page.