History of paper

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Five seminal steps in ancient Chinese papermaking outlined in a Ming Dynasty woodcut.

Paper was invented in ancient China during the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD) and spread slowly to the west via the Silk Road. Papermaking and manufacturing in Europe was started by Muslims living on the Iberian Peninsula, (today's Portugal and Spain) and Sicily in the 10th century, and slowly spread to Italy and Southern France reaching Germany by 1400. Earlier, other paper-like materials were in use including papyrus, parchment, palm leaves and vellum, but all of these were derived from raw materials which were expensive or in limited supply, or required extensive hand-processing to produce a satisfactory finish. Paper, being made from wood or rags, could be produced anywhere, and once large scale production techniques had been developed it could be manufactured in almost any quantity at moderate cost.

In medieval Europe, the hitherto handcraft of papermaking was mechanized by the use of waterpower, the first water papermill in the Iberian Peninsula having been built in the Portuguese city of Leiria in 1411, and other processes.[1][2] The rapid expansion of European paper production was truly enhanced by the invention of the printing press and the beginning of the Printing Revolution in the 15th century.[3]

The word "paper" is etymologically derived from papyros, Ancient Greek for the Cyperus papyrus plant. Papyrus is a thick, paper-like material produced from the pith of the Cyperus papyrus plant which was used in ancient Egypt and other Mediterranean cultures for writing long before the making of paper in China.[4] Papyrus however is a "lamination of natural plants, while paper is manufactured from fibres whose properties have been changed by maceration or disintegration.[5]

Early papermaking in China[edit]

Hemp wrapping paper, China, circa 100 BC
Oldest paper book, dating to AD 256
The world's earliest known printed book (using woodblock printing), the Diamond Sutra of 868, shows the widespread availability and practicality of paper in China.

Papermaking has traditionally been traced to China when Cai Lun, an official attached to the Imperial court during the Han Dynasty (202 BC-AD 220), created a sheet of paper using mulberry and other bast fibres along with fishnets, old rags, and hemp waste,[6] though the earliest piece of paper found, at Fangmatan in Gansu province inscribed with a map, dates from 179-41 BC.[7]

Techniques[edit]

During the Shang (1600–1050 BC) and Zhou (1050-256 BC) dynasties of ancient China, documents were ordinarily written on bone or bamboo (on tablets or on bamboo strips sewn and rolled together into scrolls), making them very heavy, awkward, and hard to transport. The light material of silk was sometimes used, but was normally too expensive to consider. While the Han Dynasty Chinese court official Cai Lun is widely regarded to have invented the modern method of papermaking (inspired from wasps and bees) from rags and other plant fibers in AD 105, the discovery of specimens bearing written Chinese characters in 2006 at north-east China's Gansu province suggest that paper was in use by the ancient Chinese military more than 100 years before Cai, in 8 BC. It therefore would appear that "Cai Lun's contribution was to improve this skill systematically and scientifically, fixing a recipe for papermaking".[8]

The record in the standard history says[9]

In ancient times writings and inscriptions were generally made on tablets of bamboo or on pieces of silk called chih. But silk being costly and bamboos heavy they were not convenient to use. Tshai Lun then initiated the idea of making paper from the bark of trees, remnants of hemp, rags of cloth and fishing nets. He submitted the process to the emperor in the first year of Yuan-Hsing [+105] and received praise for his ability. From this time, paper has been in use everywhere and is universally called the paper of Marquis Tshai.

The manufacture may have originated from the practice of pounding and stirring rags in water, after which the matted fibres were collected on a mat. The bark of Paper Mulberry was particularly valued and high quality paper was developed in the late Han period, which used the bark of the than wood. In the Eastern Jin period paper began to be made on a fine bamboo screen-mould, treated with insecticidal dye for permanence. After printing became popular in the Song dynasty the demand grew more. Paper was often used as a levy, with one prefecture sending some 1.5m sheets of paper to the capital as tribute up to the year 1101.[9]

Uses[edit]

The first use of paper has been excavated in China dating to the reign of Emperor Wu of Han from the 2nd century BC, used for purposes of wrapping or padding protection for delicate bronze mirrors.[10] It was also used for safety, such as the padding of poisonous 'medicine' as mentioned in the official history of the period.[10] Although paper used for writing became widespread by the 3rd century AD,[11] paper continued to be used for wrapping (and other) purposes. Toilet paper was used in China from around 875 C.E.[12] In 589, the Chinese scholar-official Yan Zhitui (531-591) wrote: "Paper on which there are quotations or commentaries from Five Classics or the names of sages, I dare not use for toilet purposes".[12] An Arab traveler to China once wrote of the curious Chinese tradition of toilet paper in 851, writing: "... [the Chinese] do not wash themselves with water when they have done their necessities; but they only wipe themselves with paper".[12]

During the Tang Dynasty (618–907) paper was folded and sewn into square bags to preserve the flavor of tea.[10] During the same period, it was written that tea was served from baskets with multi-colored paper cups and paper napkins of different size and shape.[10] During the Chinese Song Dynasty (960–1279) not only did the government produce the world's first known paper-printed money, or banknote (see Jiaozi and Huizi), but paper money bestowed as gifts to deserving government officials were wrapped in special paper envelopes.[12]

Diffusion of paper[edit]

After its origin in central China, the production and use of paper spread steadily. It is clear that paper was used at Dunhuang by AD 150, in Loulan in the modern-day province of Xinjiang by 200, and in Turpan by 399. Paper was concurrently introduced in Japan sometime between the years 280 and 610.[13]

Islamic world[edit]

After the defeat of the Chinese in the Battle of Talas in 751 (present day Kyrgyzstan), the invention spread to the Middle East.[14]

The legend goes,[15] the secret of papermaking was obtained from two Chinese prisoners from the Battle of Talas, which led to the first paper mill in the Islamic world being founded in Samarkand. There are records of paper being made at Gilgit in Pakistan by the sixth century, in Samarkand in modern day Uzbekistan by 751, in Baghdad by 793, in Egypt by 900, and in Fes, Morocco around 1100[16]

The laborious process of paper making was refined and machinery was designed for bulk manufacturing of paper. Production began in Baghdad, where a method was invented to make a thicker sheet of paper, which helped transform papermaking from an art into a major industry.[17] The use of water-powered pulp mills for preparing the pulp material used in papermaking, dates back to Samarkand in the 8th century,[18] though this should not be confused with paper mills (see Paper mills section below). The Muslims also introduced the use of trip hammers (human- or animal-powered) in the production of paper, replacing the traditional Chinese mortar and pestle method. In turn, the trip hammer method was later employed by the Chinese.[19]

By the 9th century, Arabs were using paper regularly, although for important works like copies of the revered Qur'an, vellum was still preferred.[20] Advances in book production and bookbinding were introduced.[21][unreliable source] The Arabs made books lighter—sewn with silk and bound with leather-covered paste boards; they had a flap that wrapped the book up when not in use. As paper was less reactive to humidity, the heavy boards were not needed. By the 12th century in Marrakech in Morocco a street was named "Kutubiyyin" or book sellers which contained more than 100 bookshops.[22]

The earliest recorded use of paper for packaging dates back to 1035, when a Persian traveler visiting markets in Cairo noted that vegetables, spices and hardware were wrapped in paper for the customers after they were sold.[23]

Since the First Crusade in 1096, paper manufacturing in Damascus had been interrupted by wars, splitting production into two centres. Egypt continued with the thicker paper, while Iran became the center of the thinner papers. Papermaking was diffused across the Islamic world, from where it was diffused further west into Europe.[24] Paper manufacture was introduced to India in the 13th century by Arab merchants, where it almost wholly replaced traditional writing materials.[20]

America[edit]

In America, archaeological evidence indicates that a similar bark-paper writing material was used by the Mayans no later than the 5th century AD.[25] Called amatl, it was in widespread use among Mesoamerican cultures until the Spanish conquest. The paper is created by boiling and pounding the inner bark of trees, until the material becomes suitable for art and writing.

These materials made from pounded reeds and bark are technically not true paper, which is made from pulp, rags, and fibers of plants and cellulose.

Paper making as is more common to the European practice spread to the American continent first in Mexico by 1575 and then in Philadelphia by 1690.[16]

Europe[edit]

A copy of the Gutenberg Bible, printed on paper during the 1450s, in the New York Public Library

The oldest known paper document in the West is the Mozarab Missal of Silos from the 11th century, probably using paper made in the Islamic part of the Iberian Peninsula. They used hemp and linen rags as a source of fiber. The first recorded paper mill in the Iberian Peninsula was in Xàtiva in 1151.[26]

Papermaking reached Europe as early as 1085 in Toledo and was firmly established in Xàtiva, Spain by 1150. It is clear that France had a paper mill by 1190, and by 1276 mills were established in Fabriano, Italy and in Treviso and other northern Italian towns by 1340. Papermaking then spread further northwards, with evidence of paper being made in Troyes, France by 1348, in Holland sometime around 1340–1350, in Mainz, Germany in 1320, and in Nuremberg by 1390 in a mill set up by Ulman Stromer.[26] This was just about the time when the woodcut printmaking technique was transferred from fabric to paper in the old master print and popular prints. There was a paper mill in Switzerland by 1432 and the first mill in England was set up by John Tate in 1490 near Stevenage in Hertfordshire,[27] but the first commercially successful paper mill in Britain did not occur before 1588 when John Spilman set up a mill near Dartford in Kent.[28] During this time, paper making spread to Poland by 1491, to Austria by 1498, to Russia by 1576, to the Netherlands by 1586, to Denmark by 1596, and to Sweden by 1612.[16]

Paper mills[edit]

Main article: Paper mill
The Nuremberg paper mill, the building complex at the lower right corner, in 1493. Due to their noise and smell, paper mills were required by medieval law to be erected outside of the city perimeter.

A paper mill is a water-powered mill that pounds the pulp by the use of trip-hammers. The mechanization of the pounding process was an important improvement in paper manufacture over the manual pounding with hand pestles.

While the use of human and animal powered mills were known to Chinese and Muslim papermakers, evidence for water-powered paper mills is elusive in both of them.[29][30][31][32] The general absence of the use of water-power in Muslim papermaking is suggested by the habit of Muslim authors to call a production center not a "mill", but a "paper manufactory".[33]

Donald Hill has identified a possible reference to a water-powered paper mill in Samarkand, in the 11th-century work of the Persian scholar Abu Rayhan Biruni, but concludes that the passage is "too brief to enable us to say with certainty" that it refers to a water-powered paper mill.[34] While this is seen by Halevi nonetheless as evidence of Samarkand first harnessing waterpower in the production of paper, he concedes that it is not known if waterpower was applied to papermaking elsewhere across the Islamic world at the time;[35] Burns remains altogether sceptical given the isolated occurrence of the reference and the prevalence of manual labour in Islamic papermaking elsewhere.[36]

The earliest certain evidence to a water-powered paper mill dates to 1282 in the Spanish Kingdom of Aragon.[1] A decree by the Christian king Peter III addresses the establishment of a royal "molendinum", a proper hydraulic mill, in the paper manufacturing centre of Xàtiva.[1] The crown innovation appears to be resented by the local Muslim paper makering community; the document guarantees the Muslim subjects the right to continue their way of traditional paper making by beating the pulp manually and grants them the right to be exempted from work in the new mill.[1] Paper making centers began to multiply in the late 13th century in Italy, reducing the price of paper to one sixth of parchment and then falling further; paper making centers reached Germany a century later.[37]

The first paper mill north of the Alps was established in Nuremberg by Ulman Stromer in 1390; it is later depicted in the lavishly illustrated Nuremberg Chronicle.[38] From the mid-14th century onwards, European paper milling underwent a rapid improvement of many work processes.[39]

Fiber sources[edit]

See also: wood pulp and deinking

Before the industrialisation of the paper production the most common fibre source was recycled fibres from used textiles, called rags. The rags were from hemp, linen and cotton.[40] A process for removing printing inks from recycled paper was invented by German jurist Justus Claproth in 1774.[40] Today this method is called deinking. It was not until the introduction of wood pulp in 1843 that paper production was not dependent on recycled materials from ragpickers.[40]

19th century advances in papermaking[edit]

Although cheaper than vellum, paper remained expensive, at least in book-sized quantities, through the centuries, until the advent of steam-driven paper making machines in the 19th century, which could make paper with fibres from wood pulp. Although older machines predated it, the Fourdrinier paper making machine became the basis for most modern papermaking. Nicholas Louis Robert of Essonnes, France, was granted a patent for a continuous paper making machine in 1799. At the time he was working for Leger Didot with whom he quarrelled over the ownership of the invention. Didot sent his brother-in-law, John Gamble, to meet Sealy and Henry Fourdrinier, stationers of London, who agreed to finance the project. Gamble was granted British patent 2487 on 20 October 1801. With the help particularly of Bryan Donkin, a skilled and ingenious mechanic, an improved version of the Robert original was installed at Frogmore, Hertfordshire, in 1803, followed by another in 1804. A third machine was installed at the Fourdriniers' own mill at Two Waters. The Fourdriniers also bought a mill at St Neots intending to install two machines there and the process and machines continued to develop.

However, experiments with wood showed no real results in the late 18th-century and at the start of the 19th-century. By 1800, Matthias Koops (in London, England) further investigated the idea of using wood to make paper, and in 1801 he wrote and published a book titled Historical account of the substances which have been used to describe events, and to convey ideas, from the earliest date, to the invention of paper.[41] His book was printed on paper made from wood shavings (and adhered together). No pages were fabricated using the pulping method (from either rags or wood). He received financial support from the royal family to make his printing machines and acquire the materials and infrastructure need to start his printing business. But his enterprise was short lived. Only a few years following his first and only printed book (the one he wrote and printed), he went bankrupt. The book was very well done (strong and had a fine appearance), but it was very costly.[42][43][44]

Then in the 1830s and 1840s, two men on two different continents took up the challenge, but from a totally new perspective. Both Charles Fenerty and Friedrich Gottlob Keller began experiments with wood but using the same technique used in paper making; instead of pulping rags, they thought about pulping wood. And at about the same time, by mid-1844, they announced their findings. They invented a machine which extracted the fibres from wood (exactly as with rags) and made paper from it. Charles Fenerty also bleached the pulp so that the paper was white. This started a new era for paper making. By the end of the 19th-century almost all printers in the western world were using wood in lieu of rags to make paper.[45]

Together with the invention of the practical fountain pen and the mass-produced pencil of the same period, and in conjunction with the advent of the steam driven rotary printing press, wood based paper caused a major transformation of the 19th century economy and society in industrialized countries. With the introduction of cheaper paper, schoolbooks, fiction, non-fiction, and newspapers became gradually available by 1900. Cheap wood based paper also meant that keeping personal diaries or writing letters became possible and so, by 1850, the clerk, or writer, ceased to be a high-status job.

The original wood-based paper was acidic due to the use of alum and more prone to disintegrate over time, through processes known as slow fires. Documents written on more expensive rag paper were more stable. Mass-market paperback books still use these cheaper mechanical papers (see below), but book publishers can now use acid-free paper for hardback and trade paperback books.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Burns 1996, pp. 417f.
  2. ^ Peter F. Tschudin: Werkzeug und Handwerkstechnik in der mittelalterlichen Papierherstellung. In: Lindgren, Uta: Europäische Technik im Mittelalter. 800 bis 1400. Tradition und Innovation, 4. ed.., Gebr. Mann, Berlin 1996, ISBN 3-7861-1748-9, pp. 423−428
  3. ^ Febvre & Martin 1997, pp. 41−44; Burns 1996, p. 419
  4. ^ "Papyrus definition". Dictionary.com. Retrieved 2008-11-20. 
  5. ^ Tsien 1985, p. 38
  6. ^ Papermaking. (2007). In: Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved April 9, 2007, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
  7. ^ David Buisseret (1998), Envisaging the City, U Chicago Press, p. 12, ISBN 978-0-226-07993-6 
  8. ^ "eNewsletter". World Archeological Congress. August 2006. Retrieved 2010-07-08. 
  9. ^ a b Tsien 1985, p. 40 uses Wade-Giles transcription
  10. ^ a b c d Tsien 1985, p. 122
  11. ^ Tsien 1985
  12. ^ a b c d Tsien 1985, p. 123
  13. ^ DeVinne, Theo. L. The Invention of Printing. New York: Francis Hart & Co., 1876. p. 134
  14. ^ Meggs, Philip B. A History of Graphic Design. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 1998. (pp 58) ISBN 0-471-29198-6
  15. ^ Quraishi, Silim "A survey of the development of papermaking in Islamic Countries", Bookbinder, 1989 (3): 29-36.
  16. ^ a b c Harrison, Frederick. A Book about Books. London: John Murray, 1943. p. 79. Mandl, George. "Paper Chase: A Millennium in the Production and Use of Paper". Myers, Robin & Michael Harris (eds). A Millennium of the Book: Production, Design & Illustration in Manuscript & Print, 900-1900. Winchester: St. Paul’s Bibliographies, 1994. p. 182. Mann, George. Print: A Manual for Librarians and Students Describing in Detail the History, Methods, and Applications of Printing and Paper Making. London: Grafton & Co., 1952. p. 79. McMurtrie, Douglas C. The Book: The Story of Printing & Bookmaking. London: Oxford University Press, 1943. p. 63.
  17. ^ Mahdavi, Farid (2003), Review: Paper Before Print: The History and Impact of Paper in the Islamic World by Jonathan M. Bloom, Journal of Interdisciplinary History (MIT Press) 34 (1): 129–30, doi:10.1162/002219503322645899 
  18. ^ Lucas, Adam (2006), Wind, Water, Work: Ancient and Medieval Milling Technology, Brill Publishers, pp. 65 & 84, ISBN 90-04-14649-0 
  19. ^ Dard Hunter (1978), Papermaking: the history and technique of an ancient craft, Courier Dover Publications, ISBN 0-486-23619-6 
  20. ^ a b Fischer, Steven R. (2004), A History of Writing, London: Reaktion Books, p. 264, ISBN 1-86189-101-6 
  21. ^ Al-Hassani, Woodcock and Saoud, "1001 Inventions, Muslim heritage in Our World", FSTC Publishing, 2006, reprinted 2007, pp. 218-219.
  22. ^ The famous Kutubiya mosque is named so because of its location in this street
  23. ^ Diana Twede (2005), The Origins of Paper Based Packaging, Conference on Historical Analysis & Research in Marketing Proceedings 12: 288–300 [289], retrieved 2010-03-20 
  24. ^ Mahdavi, Farid (2003), Review: Paper Before Print: The History and Impact of Paper in the Islamic World by Jonathan M. Bloom, Journal of Interdisciplinary History (MIT Press) 34 (1): 129–30, doi:10.1162/002219503322645899 
  25. ^ The Construction of the Codex In Classic- and post classic-Period Maya Civilization Maya Codex and Paper Making
  26. ^ a b Fuller, Neathery Batsell (2002). "A Brief history of paper". Retrieved 2011-01-24. 
  27. ^ Historie ručního papíru
  28. ^ "Dartford, cradle of Britain's papermaking industry". Retrieved 2011-01-24. 
  29. ^ Tsien, Tsuen-Hsuin 1985, pp. 68−73
  30. ^ Lucas 2005, p. 28, fn. 70
  31. ^ Burns 1996, pp. 414f.:

    It has also become universal to talk of paper "mills" (even of 400 such mills at Fez!), relating these to the hydraulic wonders of Islamic society in east and west. All our evidence points to non-hydraulic hand production, however, at springs away from rivers which it could pollute.

  32. ^ Thompson 1978, p. 169:

    European papermaking differed from its precursors in the mechanization of the process and in the application of water power. Jean Gimpel, in The Medieval Machine (the English translation of La Revolution Industrielle du Moyen Age), points out that the Chinese and Arabs used only human and animal force. Gimpel goes on to say : "This is convincing evidence of how technologically minded the Europeans of that era were. Paper had traveled nearly halfway around the world, but no culture or civilization on its route had tried to mechanize its manufacture."'

  33. ^ Burns 1996, pp. 414f.:

    Indeed, Muslim authors in general call any "paper manufactory" a wiraqah - not a "mill" (tahun)

  34. ^ Donald Routledge Hill (1996), A history of engineering in classical and medieval times, Routledge, pp. 169–71, ISBN 0-415-15291-7 
  35. ^ Leor Halevi (2008), Christian Impurity versus Economic Necessity: A Fifteenth-Century Fatwa on European Paper, Speculum (Cambridge University Press) 83: 917–945 [917–8], doi:10.1017/S0038713400017073 
  36. ^ Burns 1996, pp. 414−417
  37. ^ Burns 1996, p. 417
  38. ^ Stromer 1960
  39. ^ Stromer 1993, p. 1
  40. ^ a b c Göttsching, Lothar; Pakarinen, Heikki (2000), "1", Recycled Fiber and Deinking, Papermaking Science and Technology 7, Finland: Fapet Oy, pp. 12–14, ISBN 952-5216-07-1 
  41. ^ Koops, Matthias. Historical account of the substances which have been used to describe events, and to convey ideas, from the earliest date, to the invention of paper. London: Printed by T. Burton, 1800.
  42. ^ Carruthers, George. Paper in the Making. Toronto: The Garden City Press Co-Operative, 1947.
  43. ^ Matthew, H.C.G. and Brian Harrison. "Koops. Matthias." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: from the earliest times to the year 2000, Vol. 32. London: Oxford University Press, 2004: 80.
  44. ^ Burger, Peter. Charles Fenerty and his Paper Invention. Toronto: Peter Burger, 2007. ISBN 978-0-9783318-1-8 pp.30-32
  45. ^ Burger, Peter. Charles Fenerty and his Paper Invention. Toronto: Peter Burger, 2007. ISBN 978-0-9783318-1-8

Sources[edit]

  • Burns, Robert I. (1996), "Paper comes to the West, 800−1400", in Lindgren, Uta, Europäische Technik im Mittelalter. 800 bis 1400. Tradition und Innovation (4th ed.), Berlin: Gebr. Mann Verlag, pp. 413–422, ISBN 3-7861-1748-9 
  • Febvre, Lucien; Martin, Henri-Jean (1997), The Coming of the Book: The Impact of Printing 1450–1800, London: Verso, ISBN 1-85984-108-2 
  • Lucas, Adam Robert (2005), Industrial Milling in the Ancient and Medieval Worlds. A Survey of the Evidence for an Industrial Revolution in Medieval Europe, Technology and Culture 46 (1): 1–30, doi:10.1353/tech.2005.0026 
  • Stromer, Wolfgang von (1960), Das Handelshaus der Stromer von Nürnberg und die Geschichte der ersten deutschen Papiermühle, Vierteljahrschrift für Sozial und Wirtschaftsgeschichte 47: 81–104 
  • Stromer, Wolfgang von (1993), Große Innovationen der Papierfabrikation in Spätmittelalter und Frühneuzeit, Technikgeschichte 60 (1): 1–6 
  • Thompson, Susan (1978), Paper Manufacturing and Early Books, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 314: 167–176, doi:10.1111/j.1749-6632.1978.tb47791.x 
  • Tsien, Tsuen-Hsuin (1985), Paper and Printing, Joseph Needham, Science and Civilisation in China, Chemistry and Chemical Technology, Vol. 5 part 1, Cambridge University Press 
  • Bloom, Jonathan (2001). Paper before print: the history and impact of paper in the Islamic world. Yale University Press.

External links[edit]