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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 B.C. Parchment, which is more durable than papyrus and susceptible of being folded into book form, very gradually superseded papyrus.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 Parchment for pickers and pinions has been replaced by polymers.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 ?
That lost parchment once restored, the beautiful Alice Pyncheon, with the rich dowry which he could then bestow, might wed an English duke or a German reigning-prince, instead of some New England clergyman or lawyer
On this the White Rabbit blew three blasts on the trumpet, and then unrolled the parchment scroll, and read as follows:--
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.
We have observed the disposition to retaliation excited in Connecticut in consequence of the enormities perpetrated by the Legislature of Rhode Island; and we reasonably infer that, in similar cases, under other circumstances, a war, not of PARCHMENT, but of the sword, would chastise such atrocious breaches of moral obligation and social justice.
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?
But put your forehead in your left hand, rest one foot on the fender, and your elbow on your knee; then, if you compass the idea of this quiet and uniform scene, this house and its interior, this company and its interests, heightened by the pettiness of its intellect like goldleaf beaten between sheets of parchment, ask yourself, What is human life?
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.
The cardinal approached the table, and without sitting down, wrote a few lines upon a parchment of which two-thirds were already filled, and affixed his seal.
I invented a preparation that makes linen as smooth and as easy to write on as parchment.
A parliamentary officer, clothed in black and with a gravity that augured ill, entered, bowed to the king, and unfolding a parchment, read the sentence, as is usually done to criminals before their execution.
Honest John Hull's pine-tree shillings had long ago been worn out, or lost, or melted down again; and their place was supplied by bills of paper or parchment, which were nominally valued at threepence and upwards.
His parchment skin, showing dead white on his cranium through the thin wisps of dirty brown hair, seemed to be glued directly and tightly upon his big bones, Without being in any way deformed, he was the nearest approach which I have ever seen or could imagine to what is commonly understood by the word "monster.