Unfortunately you have to wait until next week for my process for making your own paper (need pictures) but I will tell you that these tidbits are equally interesting.
I never really saw papermaking as something all that interesting. I enjoyed making paper with my son, years ago, as part of a scouting experience. I still have those pieces of paper – completely untouched. So that was fun but it didn’t make me excited.
Then I got my hands on Arnold E Grummer’s Trash to Treasure Papermaking. Okay, I’ll admit at first it was an okay book. I leafed through it but it wasn’t inspiring me. Then something happened. I think it’s when I saw his instructions for tin can papermaking that I got excited. I, almost, sent the book back to the library. Suddenly, I renewed it and read it.
The history he provides was interesting. Really interesting. I was learning things – what was going on. Then I was craving making paper. Not only did I want to make paper but I was already getting ideas of what to do with that paper once it was finished. The best part is I learned, not only is so easy (sort of knew that) but I had everything I needed in my house. And I hope you find that too. So let me give you a quick list of what you need so you can spend the weekend thinking about what you have – a blender, paper to recycle, water, a large something to catch water (like a deep baking sheet/dish or washing tub), a screen, and molds for your paper. I kid you not – I used a food tray, cookie cutters and an old window screen. Somewhere in my house I have a mold I was playing with (in terms of making). If I can find it, I’ll test it this weekend while taking pictures.
Boy this post is already getting long so let’s get to the tidbits. I’m thinking today it will be history and tomorrow, I’ll talk environmental impact.
The first recorded use of paper was in 105 ad (or ce) in China. There is a belief that this was not the first use of paper but the first to survive.
Papermaking slowly spread through China’s neighbors but in 751 Arabs took Chinese Papermakers as prisoners and sped up the process.
Papermaking milled around the Middle East/Northern Africa until the 1150’s when the Moors invaded Spain.
Papermaking moved to Italy in 1250 and into France by the 1300’s.
In the 1450’s Johannes Gutenberg (Germany) perfected the moveable type printing press which revolutionized book making. Suddenly books were available to the masses and not just those who had either the time to copy a book or could afford a handwritten copy.
From the 1300’s to the 1850’s, paper in Europe (and onto US/Canada) was made from recycled rags of linen and cotton.
In the 1700’s a frenchman (with a really really long name) observed that wasps made paper out of wood pulp which started the experiments to make paper out of wood pulp. In the 1850’s rags were dropped in favor of wood pulp paper since it was easier to get.
In 1798 the first paper making machine was invented. Prior to that paper was all made by hand.
Toilet paper was invented in 1857.
Paper cups were invented in the early 1900’s to reduce the spread of germs at public drinking sources.
Paper towels were invented by a teacher in 1907 to reduce the spread of germs in her classroom. Prior to that, all students shared a cloth towel.
Facial tissues were invented in the 1920’s for women to use to remove their make-up. They would apply cold cream to their face and remove with the tissues. No mention of when they went from that to being used instead of handkerchiefs.