The History Of Papermaking
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The History Of Papermaking

Paper is made of thin sheets of compressed vegetable cellulose fibers. It is mainly used for writing and printing.

Paper is made of thin sheets of compressed vegetable cellulose fibers. It is mainly used for writing and printing. Other uses include wrapping and packaging, for artistic works and for the manufacture of certain types of building materials. Paper has played a very important role in the dissemination of information in modern civilization, and education.

Papermaking, according to tradition started in China. Paper was first made by Ts'ai Lun, a eunuch attached to the Eastern Han court of the Chinese emperor Ho Ti in 105 AD. For almost 500 years the art of papermaking was confined to China. They made paper in those days with the bark of the mulberry tree, and the paper was made on a mold of bamboo strips. The earliest known paper still in existence was made from rags about AD 150. In about 610 AD, papermaking was introduced into Japan and to other parts of Asia in 750 AD.

The art of papermaking later find its way to Egypt in about 800 to 900 AD where it was popularized. The use of paper was introduced into Europe by the Moors, and the first papermaking mill was established in Spain about 1150. The introduction of movable type of paper mill about the middle of the 15th century made book printing practical and greatly stimulated papermaking. Gradually, the craft spread through out European countries. The first paper mill in England was established in 1495, and the first such mill in America in 1690.

All through these years of early papermaking, rags were the major raw material for papermaking and the increasing use of paper in the 17th and 18th centuries created shortages of rags. Rags became very scarce especially in Europe where printing was on the increase. As a result, many attempts were made to devise substitutes, but none was commercially satisfactory. In 1798 the French inventor Nicholas Louis Robert invented the first papermaking machine to supplant the hand-molding process in paper manufacture. This invention greatly reduced the cost of making paper which was too high because of the so many manual processes involved. In 1803 Robert's machine was improved by the British stationers and brothers Henry Fourdrinier and Sealy Fourdrinier. They named their new invented machines after their names.

There was the need for cheaper and available raw materials to be used by the new machines for accelerated production of paper. The solution of the problem of making paper from cheap raw material was achieved by the introduction of the ground wood process of pulp making about 1840 and the first of the chemical pulp processes approximately ten years later.

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Comments (4)

Even today, papermaking is an art in China and Japan.

We do handmade paper making here somewhere down south with cogon grass and the output are great boxes and stationary of unique kinds, great to know the history. very well presented.

Ranked #10 in Paper Crafts

Thanks James and Ron. I am glad to learn that your people still produce paper locally with hands. Thanks for the information.

Wow, you have provided a great piece of information.. Thanks