When was paper invented?

The history of paper: from the beginning until today

The History of paper is closely related to the history of the Culture and the science connected.

The stone that started the history of paper is obvious and at the same time very important.

Man had an urgent need: to convey certain information to his own kind in writing. The information had to be fixed on a light, durable and easy to transport carrier. The Invention of paper made it possible for us papyrus and parchment to be replaced by a material that is easier to manufacture and, thanks to the perfection of manufacturing techniques, less expensive.

The advent of digital media has played the role of paper in the Dissemination of knowledge maybe clouded. However, we must not forget that until a few decades ago the transmission of all kinds of knowledge on a sheet of paper took place.

Going there is the first Definition of paper of the Italian encyclopedia for children Treccani interesting: "An indispensable material for spreading ideas in everyday life. Over the centuries, the paper has made a significant contribution to progress, to the participation of citizens in democratic life and to increasing the average in culture and education. "

The History of paper has accompanied the development of man over the centuries: from the Transmission of new knowledge in science and philosophy through the diffusion of education to the attainment of a political and historical consciousness that ushered in the birth of modern states.

The history of paper: the beginnings in China

Historical sources write the Invention of paper Cai Lun zu, a dignitary of the Chinese Imperial Court who began to make sheets of paper by cutting scraps of paper in AD 105 used fabric, Tree bark and Fishing nets used. The Chinese carefully guarded the secret of their manufacture for many centuries until their invention reached Japan in the 6th century AD thanks to the Buddhist monk Dam Jing. The Japanese immediately adopted these paper-making techniques and began using a pulp made from the Bark of the mulberry tree is obtained, and used it to produce the valuable material.

The history of paper: its introduction to the Arab world

The arab world discovered the secrets of papermaking in AD 751 when the governor general of the Baghdad Caliphate captured two Chinese papermakers in Samarkand and with their help set up a paper mill in the Uzbek city. From there, the production spread thanks to the high occurrence Hemp and linen, two high-quality raw materials with the best properties for the production of paper, in other cities in Asia, especially in Baghdad and Damascus.

The approach of the Arab artisans in the Papermaking provided for the shredding and soaking of the rags in water until a homogeneous pulp was obtained into which a sieve was dipped, which caught the soaked fibers and allowed the water to drain off. The leaves obtained in this way were pressed and dried and at the end provided with a layer of rice starch, which promoted the absorption of color. At the same time they started in Egypt and North Africa with the production of the first paper using the same techniques as in the Arab world.

The arrival of paper in Europe

In Europe, the paper only came from 11th century on, with the invasion of the Arabs Sicily and in Spain. And, unlike parchment, it immediately became as inferior material viewed, so that in 1221 Frederick II even issued an edict that prohibited its use for public documents. The use of rice starch stimulated the appetite of insects and made the paper not very durable.

The History of paper very much owes that Italian papermakers from Fabriano, a small town in the Marche region that started making paper using linen and hemp in the 12th century. By testing new equipment and manufacturing processes, these papermakers led the way important innovations a:

  • They mechanized the process of pounding the rags through the use of hydraulic hammers and thus reduced the manufacturing time of the pulp.
  • They carried the glueing of the leaves with them animal gelatin one, an unpopular addition for insects.
  • They created different ones Paper types and sizes.
  • They started that Watermark paper.

The introduction of watermarks allowed the paper to go along with it Adornments created with the help of metal threads on the ladle sieve and which can be seen if you hold the paper up to the light. They were used to affix trademarks, signatures, church coats of arms and other symbols of various types and meanings.

From the 14th century, paper production began to spread in other European countries. At the end of the 15th century, in the course of the Invention of movable type, it achieved considerable growth. The discovery of America and the subsequent European colonization brought papermaking to the New World. An exciting historical anectode in Mark Kurlansky's “Paper. Paging Through History“Tells of the time when the insurgent colonies of North America boycotted all English goods, with the exception of the valuable material produced in the London paper mills.

Paper as a means of mass communication

The industrial paper production began developing high-volume newspapers and the first bestselling novels in the 19th century, which sold large quantities of cellulose at low prices. Developed as early as 1797 Louis-Nicolas Robert the first fourdrinier paper machine that could produce a sheet with a length of 60 cm. When the supply of rags needed for papermaking tended to run out, they tried other materials like that pulp made from wood to replace. With the development of new techniques for processing plant fiber from trees, the price of paper dropped significantly, and over the course of a few years the material became one Everyday product. In England alone it increased Papermaking from 96,000 tons in 1861 to 648,000 tons in 1900.

And they crossed again History of paper that of people: The spread of cheap paper made books and daily newspapers accessible to everyone, whatever the Middle class literacy favored. However, it was not until the end of the century that it was used for other purposes, such as the production of toilet paper, packaging and, furthermore, toys and furnishings.

The impact of paper on the environment and ecological decisions

Papermaking requires commitment considerable natural resources: To make one ton of paper, you need 2 to 2.5 tons of wood and 30 to 40 cubic meters of water. You also need electrical energy and methane gasto operate the industrial machines used in the various production phases. And depending on the type of paper, you also need it polluting chemical additives. Because of this, it is important when possible environmentally friendly or recycled paper to use, which reduces the production-related environmental impact.

Environmentally friendly paper is obtained from cellulose, which is made from FSC certified forests (Forest Stewardship Council), in which the environmental, social and economic standards are strictly adhered to. The Recycled paper on the other hand, it is obtained from recycled paper materials. However, chlorine is used for bleaching and other chemical additives, which makes it less environmentally friendly than you usually think. In order to be sure that you are choosing a truly environmentally friendly material, it is advisable to use paper Ecolabel certification to decide, an EU seal of approval that recognizes the best products from an ecological point of view.

The alternatives to paper

An optimal one Alternative to conventional paper is this "Crush" paperthat the Italian company Favini offers and that with Fruit and vegetable scraps is produced. With this paper, industrial CO2 emissions can be reduced by 20% and cellulose saved up to 15%. It's also suitable for a wide variety of uses, from food and wine labels to printing high quality invitations, catalogs and brochures.

The latest invention of the Favini paper mill is "Remake", a paper that is 25% off Leather production committees and the leather goods industry, consists of 40% recycled cellulose and 35% pure FSC-certified cell fibers. A very high-quality, recyclable and compostable material that is ideally suited for printing fine publishing products and luxury packaging.

Another suitable substitute is hemp, an extremely resistant material that was used by ancient peoples to make paper, first by the Chinese and then by the Arabs. Growing this plant does not require the use of pesticides and provides 3 to 4 times the amount of fiber compared to traditional forests. The biggest obstacle here is the production costs of the hemp pulp, which are very high compared to those of cellulose extraction.

Our article on History of paper ends here, but we are sure that the technological innovations related to this material still have some surprises in store for us! The story of paper is anything but completely told and its charm and benefits will stay with us for many years to come.