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Paper Origins & History

The British Museum has a register Add. The paper, of a rough manufacture, is similar to the kind that was used in Spain. The Records of Merton College, Oxford, show that paper was purchased "pro registro" in Evidence for the history of paper-making in England is extremely scanty. The first maker whose name is known is John Tate, who is said to have set up a mill in Hertford early in the 16th century. He manipulated the favor and patronage of successive monarchs to ensure that he had a virtual monopoly of the paper industry.

It is not clear whether John Spilman himself knew anything about the techniques of paper-making, but he was able to finance the employment of skilled German paper-makers at Dartford.

The newly constituted paper-mill of Dartford was the first mill in England to produce good quality white paper on a commercially viable basis. It was a sight to behold, one of the town's earliest tourist attractions!

Spilman's Dartford mill was the subject of lines of poetry written in by Thomas Churchyard and dedicated to Sir Walter Raleigh. The acutely long-winded doggerel includes the first description of paper-making ever to appear in print. The mill seems to have been a prominent and impressive riverside feature: A Paper-mill That now neere Dartford standeth well Where Spilman may himself and household dwell The Mill itself is sure right rare to see The framing is so quaint and finely done Built of wood and hollowed trunks of trees The Hammers thump and make so loud a noise As fuller doth that beats his woollen cloth In open show, then Sundry secret toyes Make rotten rags to yield a thickened froth There it is stamped and washed as white as snow Then flung on frame and hanged to dry, I trow Thus paper straight it is to write upon As it were rubbed and smoothed with slicking stoneThe Dartford-based mill was granted extensive monopoly powers that were often the subject of dispute.

Nobody else was permitted to build a paper-mill without Spilman's consent. In July Spilman was granted a new patent for 14 years which confirmed his monopoly and granted him and his deputies power to search any premises where they suspected rags or paper were being hidden.

Spilman's water-tight monopoly was designed to stop other mills attempting to make highly-prized white paper. It is clear that there was some diversification of product at a later date, for in Spilman was making a new and pleasing kind of playing card.

John Spilman was knighted by James I at Dartford. The knighthood was probably granted as much for his activities as court goldsmith and jeweler as for his contribution towards the evolution and development of England's paper industry. Sir John died in and is commemorated in Holy Trinity Church with a tomb, which incorporates colored effigies of himself and his first wife Elizabeth Mengel, daughter of a Nuremberg merchant.

She died in at the age of He had several children by his second wife Katherine who survived until about Some 37 paper mills existed in England between and , most were involved with the production of inferior quality brown paper.

The trend towards the production of white paper came later after Spilman's monopoly was broken. Papermaking required a long and often expensive apprenticeship. Workers were frequently sworn to secrecy because no craftsman wished to share knowledge with competitors.

Thirteenth century, paper was produced almost entirely from linen and cotton rags pulped in water http: The pulped fibers were thoroughly mixed in a deep vat, the n the vatman would dip a wire mesh tray into the mixture and a sufficient amount lifted out to yield the required thickness of paper.

A wooden frame called a deckle fitted over the tray to form a raised edge and prevented the watery pulp from escaping. Pulp flowing between the frame and the deckle produced an irregular feathery edge around the paper hence the term "deckle-edged" paper. As soon as possible the newly formed sheet of paper was removed from the tray and placed between two pieces of felt.

The paper-and-felt "sandwiches" were then pressed to remove surplus water and the paper hung to dry.

Women graded and sorted cotton and linen rags according to quality. Sorted rags were broken down by hand-stamping the fibers. Stamping mechanism used to reduce rag materials into usable fibers for papermaking. A vat man prepares to dip a paper mold into pulped fiber while the workman to the right drains excess water from a dipped frame. Heavy presses used to remove the remaining water from the paper are in the background.

Women and a male apprentice at work in the drying loft. After pressing, the paper sheets were hung to dry on ropes woven from cow or horse hair. White paper was the most desired of medieval papers. The poorer grades were made of old and discarded materials and yielded a light coffee color to light Grey. Bleaching was not known unto the early 19th century Hunter , so papermakers had to depend on using only fine fibers for the pulp. The best fabric to be used in period for paper was the linen of the whitest kind.

The cotton and linen of the period were woven by hand and were free of chemicals and bleaching. Hunter , Most English paper is a coarse and gray color until the late 17th century.

In France a bluing was added to try to correct the muddy color. Paper making in the winter was difficult because the water was hard to clarify, so it was muddy. The finest paper was free of inclusions.

What plagues the modern handmaker of paper plagued the medieval papermaker. Keeping the paper free of inclusions and specks has always been a challenge to the papermaker Hunter , The hairs of vat man or coucher are often trapped in the paper during the couching process.

Other inclusions such as insects and leaves become trapped in the freshly molded paper. Williams American Museum of Papermaking located at the Institute of Paper Science and Technology in Atlanta, Georgia has a 15th century piece of paper with a mosquito embedded in the paper.

Hunter , 'Papermarker's tears' are blemishes caused by water being dripped on the freshly formed moist paper which causes a thin spot. Hunter , Blotting paper is first mentioned in the year It was a coarse, gray, unsized paper, fragments of which have been found among the leaves of 15th-century accounts, where it had been left after being used for blotting.

Blotting is mentioned in W. Horman's Vulgaria, p. Blottyng papyr serveth to drye weete wryttynge, lest there be made blottis or blurris Brown paper appears in , and was sold in bundles at 2s. What Is A Watermark?

Watermarks are marks made from wires soldered to the surface of the wire mesh of the paper mould. The soldered mark is elevated above the surface and during paper making causes thinning of the layer of pulp, whereby the paper becomes transparent against the light.

On old paper, the sewing lines can be easily detected since the wires used for securing the design and the design were made from the same gauge of wire. Watermarks first appear Bayley , 1 and by the end of the 's the craftsmen active in Fabriano were in the habit of countersigning their production with watermarks. The earliest designs were crosses, ovals, areolas, knots, triangles, 3 hills, pommee crosses Greek crosses with balls at the ends of the crossbars Hunter , By the th century, the wire was thinner so the designs became more detailed Hunter , The designs had multiplied into thousands of motifs representing every phase of nature and human endeavor.

By the time that printing from moveable types is developed in , the tradition of watermarking paper is already two centuries old Hunter , The term water mark is fairly modern. The first use in English is beginning of 18th Century. In German the word Wasserzeichen was used in the first part of 19th century, Filigrane in French and Papiermerken in Dutch Hunter , Few watermarks bear dates and then the dates cannot be trusted since molds were used for many years Hunter , , and there is evidence that unscrupulous manufactures also faked the watermarks of prominent papermakers Hunter , The whole question of why papermakers used watermarks is interesting.

Several theories have been proposed. Identification Marks- like Trademarks of today. This seems unlikely since there were so many more watermarks than papermakers. Hunter , Some 15th century works contain a dozen or more different watermark in the same book.

It is unlikely that these represent different mills. However, the lawyer Bartola de Sassoferrato De insignis et armis dating between and , mentions that a paper maker can be prohibited from using the mark of a different producer, and also mentions the falsification of marks. Bibliography American Paper and Pulp Association.

The Dictionary of Paper, including pulp, paperboard, paper properties and related papermaking terms. Hunter, Dard Papermaking. The History and Technique of and Ancient Craft. Bowker Company, New York. A Brief History Of Paper. I hadn't realized just how hot it got in there, either. Thanks for your kind words. I do think that the story of paper is a fascinating one and one that, even in the digital age, does touch all our lives in one way or another. The town I live in used to be a "paper making town".

The main employer here for several generations was the paper mill, it was shut down several years back. The only thing left from the old paper mill is the one lone smokestack that still stands there. When the factory was in operation, if you drove by that part of town, the air had a very distinct "rotten egg" smell because of the paper mill.

I definitely don't miss that! When my kids were young, we always had summer projects. One year, we decided to make paper. We used dryer lint and plant materials gathered from the back yard. It was so informative for the kids as well as for me. It was a big mess, and you know how kids enjoy messy projects. The paper was a bit to gray and kinda thick but it was paper nonetheless! I love the different textures, the appearances it can give, and all the different artastic creations one can make with paper.

I spent several years working in paper mills in locations throughout the country, so this certainly brings back memories of the very distinctive smells and the heat it routinely got over degrees in the mills that I worked at. It really is a fascinating process to see.

You did an excellent job at integrating history, application, and industry. Thanks for your comment. I enjoyed researching this so I am glad it was worth it. Yes, I think Norwegian Pines are one of those tall, straight and very fast growing varieties that make reasonable lumber. I'm not sure that they are used for paper - although I could be wrong about that. I wonder where the wood for your local mills comes from? Well researched and informative. I live in an area full of paper mills so I have become conscious about it.

There are a lot of evergreen trees here that are barend of branches until fairly high up. My son told me that they were Norwegian Pines that are planted by the lumber companies. I'm so happy that you enjoyed this. Yes, coppicing makes perfect sense both in economic and ecological terms. Did you know that while modern methods of coppicing are a bit different, coppicing itself goes back thousands of years? Well this is awesome information. I like the idea of coppicing the trees.

That will help the environment in the long run. Paper is an amazing material that we can do so much with. Recycling paper for art is a great idea! You are fortunate to live near such a place. Do you use it? Do you make art yourself? It's another one of those everyday things that we seems to take for granted but ids actually fascinating once you look into it.

Hi Vellur, thank you for your kind words. The world of paper does have some really interesting information doesn't it? A lot of information and insight into the amazing world of paper. Well researched, great hub. Other product and company names shown may be trademarks of their respective owners. HubPages and Hubbers authors may earn revenue on this page based on affiliate relationships and advertisements with partners including Amazon, Google, and others.

To provide a better website experience, owlcation. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so. For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: The Story of Paper Updated on December 31, The History of Paper Have you ever wondered where the word ' paper' comes from?

The origins of the word give us a clue to the origins of paper itself. The tablets were heavy and got broken easily, too.

So who invented paper and when? The Invention of Paper Archaeologists have discovered the earliest paper known to be used. Really, we can talk about the 'paper revolution. The Spread of Paper By the fifth century AD, paper was being widely used in Japan - not only as a material for writing on, but also to make the inner walls of houses and works of art such as paintings and paper flowers.

The use of paper spread rapidly throughout the rest of the world. The Development of Paper The techniques for the manufacture and production of paper where developed significantly in Europe from the thirteenth century onwards.

Modern Paper Making Paper was made out of textile fabric right up until the nineteenth century when there was a shortage of cotton. One of the first experiments was with straw but it made a very poor quality product. Eventually, it was discovered that wood pulp could be used to make excellent paper. Modern paper is made in highly mechanized factories from wood pulp.

Paper and the Environment Given that paper uses up so much energy, water and of course, trees, new methods have been developed to help safeguard the environment. Paper can be recycled up to seven times before the fibres become too fragile.

Inside a Paper Mill. Summary of The Story of Paper When. I hope you have enjoyed learning about the story of paper. Did you learn something new about paper from this hub? Yes No See results. If you'd like to make a comment, I'd love to hear from you! Hi Chitrangada and thanks for your kind comments. I'm glad you found this interesting. Hi Jess and thanks so much for your comment.

Thanks for a fascinating contribution. Thanks for your lovely contribution, Dolores. Thanks for a great comment. Very informative, educative and well researched hub! Voted up and tweeted! Thanks for your kind vote. Voted up and interesting. Paper is so much fun. There is a place close to me that recycles old paper for art.

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Paper before print: the history and impact of paper in the Islamic world. Yale University Press. Burns, Robert I. (), "Paper comes to the West, –", in Lindgren, Uta, Europäische Technik im Mittelalter. bis

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The history of paper dates back almost 2, years to when inventors in China first crafted cloth sheets to record their drawings and writings. Before then, people communicated through pictures and symbols etched . Guide to writing research papers for the History Department at Le Moyne College.