Recycled Papers… What Was Old is Now New

Have you ever considered the profound effect the invention of paper has had on society? Paper made ideas portable, enabled the sharing of discoveries and inventions, and changed human history from oral to written. Literature, art, education, and communication were all accelerated by the invention of paper.

The technology for making paper as we know it today from the cellulose fibers of wood wasn’t developed until the mid-1800s. Originally natural materials like silk, parchment (the skin of a sheep or goat), or vellum (fine parchment made from the skins of calves, lambs or kids) was used as paper.

Following Gutenberg’s invention of movable type and improvement of the printing press, new papermaking technology was developed based on the fibers from linen rags. The appearance of newspapers in the late 1600s and early 1700s created a severe shortage of rags that led eventually to substituting wood for the fibers in paper. The process was fully developed toward the end of the 19th century.

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