Home Site Map Back

Saved from the "Ava"

Source: The Illustrated News of the World, May 22, 1858, P.251

At the close of last week the newspapers and letters recovered from the wreck of the Ava were delivered in London, and the work must have entailed a large amount of extra labour on the post-office officials. All the letters and newspapers were completely saturated with water, and their long immersion had impregnated them with salt. Wherever the letters and papers had come in contact with the metal boxes, in which they were packed for transmission by the overland route, they are discoloured with a rich orange stain, so as in many cases to efface the writing and render the printed matter undistinguishable. We (Homeward Mail) heard of one letter that contained a piece of a lock of a revolver, which was so eaten away by rust, that the stain spread through many sheets of paper. Previous to delivery of the letters were carefully dried, and each one was stamped, "Saved from the wreck of the Ave." Books and newspapers were, however, delivered in an unpleasantly damp condition. It is curious to notice the effect of the action of salt water on different kinds of inks, of which the following may be taken as an example. An account current was received, which had been ruled with faint blue lines, with money divisions in red ink, and with copper-plate heading. In this case the blue lines were completely obliterated, while the red were only faintly discernible. The writing ink, on the other hand, was only excessively pale, and the copperplate heading was entirely uninjured.