The goal for Pauling and his team was to create a series of inks that, before being treated with a developer, left no visual
traces on the document and could only be made visible by a limited number of chemicals. From September to October 1944, Pauling
assigned Dr. George Wright, William Eberhardt, and Frank Lanni to making preliminary examinations of potential methods for developing invisible inks, the specifications
of which were not defined in Pauling's official reports to the OSRD. Once the preliminary tests were complete, Pauling and
his team began a wide range of experiments, testing a variety of potential methods for developing secret inks.
The team began with possible protein-based inks. They applied various proteins including rabbit serum, human saliva, and
homogenized milk to standard typing paper. Then, after steaming and ironing the treated page, they painted it with a mixture
of ink, acetic acid, and sodium chloride. The combination of acid and ink caused the protein to darken slightly, making it
legible in well-lit conditions.
In another test, the experimenters used diluted potassium iodide as an ink. After drying, the test screed was painted with
gold chloride, rinsed, and then treated with a substance referred to only as "the silver physical reagent," a compound used
by the Office of Censorship. Some of the test screeds were placed in the Eastman Kodak Company's "tropical room," a sealed
chamber meant to mimic the temperature and humidity of an equatorial environment. There, the ink quickly decomposed, making
it clear that potassium iodide was not a viable option.