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Sunday, 18 December 2016



The oldest known archaeological fragments of the immediate precursor to modern paper, date to the 2nd century BC in China.

Early Chinese hemp fiber paper, used for wrapping not writing dating from circa 100BC. 

The Chinese perfected the making of paper in 105 AD, using bark of trees, remnants of hemp, rags of cloth, and fishing nets. The pulp papermaking process is ascribed to Han Dynasty court official and eunuch Cai Lun. Tradition has it that Cai Lun made the breakthrough, inspired by watching wasps gathering fibers from dead wood and plant stems and mixing them with saliva, to construct nests made of gray or brown papery material.
An 18th-century Qing dynasty print depicting Cai Lun as the patron of paper making

Fragments of the ancient Chinese paper survive, made from rags and the fibres of mulberry, laurel and Chinese grass.

The art of making paper was undisclosed by the Chinese, like the nature of silk, which was traded for centuries with Europe and kept a highly guarded secret.

It took centuries for paper to envelop the world, first taking in Japan, then Central Asia and Egypt. Until then, writers could still write, but the parchment, vellum or silk used by early scribes was prohibitively expensive. With paper an effective substitute for silk in many applications, China could export silk in great quantities, contributing to a Golden Age.

By 950 Paper use had spread west to Moorish Spain and two hundred years later, a papermill was built at Jativa, Spain, under the Moors, possibly the first in Europe.

The first paper mill in Christian Europe was built in 1276 at Fabriano, Italy. Because of paper's introduction to the West through the city of Baghdad, it was originally called bagdatikos.

The Declaration of Independence was written on hemp paper.

In the late 18th century, paper was still made one sheet at a time, by manually dipping a rectangular frame or mould with a screen bottom into a vat of pulp. French mechanical engineer Louis-Nicolas Robert desired to find a way to mechanize the traditional labor-intensive process of making paper by hand and in 1798, he constructed the first paper-making machine.

Workers making paper by hand

In 1844, the Canadian inventor Charles Fenerty and the German F. G. Keller independently developed processes for pulping wood fibres. Nineteen years later, on January 15, 1863 The Boston Weekly Journal became the first newspaper to be printed on wood pulp paper. The Boston Daily Journal of the same date was printed on the regulation rag paper.


Over 300,000 trees are cut down yearly to produce the paper for all the IRS forms and instructions.

In Thailand, elephant dung is used to make paper, with an elephant producing 50kg of waste a day, enough to make 115 sheets.

A square piece of dry paper cannot be folded in half more than seven times.

The average office worker handles around 10,000 sheets of paper every year.

Paper waste accounts for up to 40% of total waste produced in the United States each year, which adds up to 71.6 million tons of paper waste per year in the United States alone.

The actress Megan Fox has papyrophobia, the fear of paper.

Rice paper does not have any rice in it.

Sources, The Independent

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