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untanned skins of animals, especially of the sheep, calf, and goat, prepared for use as a writing material. The name is a corruption of Pergamum, the ancient city of Asia Minor where preparation of parchment suitable for use on both sides was achieved in the 2d cent. B.C. Parchment, which is more durable than papyrus and susceptible of being folded into book form, very gradually superseded papyrus. In Europe it gave way to paper for use in books only after the advent of printing. The skins were soaked in water, treated with lime to loosen the hair, scraped, washed, stretched, and dried, and then rubbed with chalk and pumice stone. A fine grade prepared from the skin of the calf or kid became known as vellum, a name applied during the Middle Ages to any parchment used in manuscripts. For important manuscripts vellum was often dyed purple. Parchment is still used for certain documents and diplomas, for bookbindings and lampshades, and for the heads of drums, tambourines, and banjos. Vegetable parchment is paper treated to make it tough, translucent, and impervious to water.



(derived from Pergamum, a city in Asia Minor where parchment was widely used in the second century B.C.), a writing surface that is made from untanned, clean, dry hide; it is sometimes treated with lime.

Parchment fibers are connected in an unstructured, cornified mass that is often transparent and has a relatively high tensile strength of 100–120 meganewtons per m2, or 10–12 kgf/mm2. The taut parchment gives a clear sound when struck with a wooden object. At one time, parchment was the most commonly used writing surface for letters and the best material for making quivers and shields. Before the invention of printing, most medieval Russian and European texts were written on parchment. Different grades of parchment have been used for making drumheads, seams for drive belts, and pickers and noiseless, spark-free pinions in looms. Parchment for pickers and pinions has been replaced by polymers.

In the production of parchment it is crucial to retain the natural hide proteins in as native a condition as possible. Therefore, the hair is removed from the hide either mechanically or by immersion in concentrated Na2S solution. Chemical depilation preserves the collagen structure and thus the strength of the parchment. Soaking and lime treatment are performed for short periods without raising the temperature. After drying, the parchment is moistened and the underside is further lubricated with glycerin and organic tanning agents.



The skin of a goat or sheep that has been treated so that it can be used to write upon.
A drawing or written text on this material.
References in classic literature ?
These last, if they ever heard of the Pyncheon title, would have laughed at the idea of any man's asserting a right--on the strength of mouldy parchments, signed with the faded autographs of governors and legislators long dead and forgotten--to the lands which they or their fathers had wrested from the wild hand of nature by their own sturdy toil.
her husband graciously replied, as he removed the blotting-paper, and showed the two parchments lying side by side.
And he laid his hand upon the parchment in his vest pocket.
Fill your glass and let us look at the parchments of the dreamers of yesterday who dreamed their dreams on your own warm hills.
Glegg had lifted out the parchments, and had fortunately drawn back a little, when the iron holder gave way, and the heavy lid fell with a loud bang that resounded over the house.
But all in all, taking her from truck to helm, considering the dimensions of the cook's boilers, including his own live parchment boilers; fore and aft, I say, the Samuel Enderby was a jolly ship; of good fare and plenty; fine flip and strong; crack fellows all, and capital from boot heels to hat-band.
The diplomas had been presented, and each girl, after giving furtive touches to her hair, sly tweaks to her muslin skirts, and caressing pats to her sash, had gone forward to receive the roll of parchment with a bow that had been the subject of anxious thought for weeks.
The King and Queen of Hearts were seated on their throne when they arrived, with a great crowd assembled about them--all sorts of little birds and beasts, as well as the whole pack of cards: the Knave was standing before them, in chains, with a soldier on each side to guard him; and near the King was the White Rabbit, with a trumpet in one hand, and a scroll of parchment in the other.
Suspecting how it was, then, he wished to satisfy himself as to whether Don Quixote's features corresponded; and taking a parchment out of his bosom he lit upon what he was in search of, and setting himself to read it deliberately, for he was not a quick reader, as he made out each word he fixed his eyes on Don Quixote, and went on comparing the description in the warrant with his face, and discovered that beyond all doubt he was the person described in it.
Such is the nature of the celebrated Belgic confederacy, as delineated on parchment.
Will it be sufficient to mark, with precision, the boundaries of these departments, in the constitution of the government, and to trust to these parchment barriers against the encroaching spirit of power?
there yet is man -- Man, the divinest of all things, whose heart Hath known the shipwreck of a thousand hopes, Who bears a hundred wrinkled tragedies Upon the parchment of his brow, whose soul Strange cares have lined and interlined, until Beneath the burden of life his inmost self Bows down.