The History Of Paper

The History Of Paper

The invention of paper has had a significant impact on the history of the world. It was the basis for the later success of book printing and thus for the formation and flow of information. Paper is closely related to culture and science. The stumbling block was people’s desire to transmit data in writing. The carrier of this information should be light, sturdy, and easy to transport. Paper, therefore, replaced parchment and papyrus. The new material was easy and inexpensive to manufacture.

It thus fulfilled all the requirements for an ideal information carrier. That made paper an indispensable material. Paper enabled citizens to participate in democratic life and promoted education and culture. It was, therefore, also an essential building block in the development of modern states. Today paper has lost some of its original role as a carrier of information. The emergence of digital media is responsible for this. It has taken on the part of the paper.

The Starting Point Was China

According to historians, a guy invented paper in the Chinese royal court. Cai Lun is said to have been the first to make sheets of paper. He used scraps of used fabric, tree bark and fishing nets. The Chinese kept the secret of the same manufacture for several centuries. It was not until the sixth century AD that the secret reached Japan thanks to the Buddhist monk Dam Jing. There they used a cellulose pulp which they obtained from the bark of the mulberry tree. That is how they made valuable material.

From Arabia To Asia And Europe

Around 150 years later, the knowledge about the production of paper reached the Arab world. The Governor-General of the Baghdad Caliphate captured two Chinese papermakers. With their help, he had a paper mill built. In the 11th century, it came to Europe. But people saw it as inferior and banned its use. However, new equipment and new manufacturing processes in Italy changed people’s minds about the paper. After that, it began to spread to the rest of Europe as well. With the discovery of America, it also came to the New World.

With the development of newspapers in high circulation, companies produced paper industrially for the first time. The enormous quantities that were now required meant that wood made its grand entrance. The new techniques for processing plant fibre from trees led to a drastic drop in prices. That enabled the paper to develop into an everyday item. Within just a few years, the amount produced multiplied. Books and newspapers were made accessible to everyone at the same time — this favoured literacy among the population. The uses for paper proliferated. Producers added new products such as packaging, toys, furnishings and toilet paper. With this, it had finally conquered and changed the world of people. Today the focus in the production of paper is on environmentally friendly display. To this end, producers are increasingly relying on recycling or alternatives to the use of wood.

Written by

Loran