Published December 24, 2019
When we see a paper, we often associate it with writing and not think twice about its other use. By the same token, we also forget that paper, just like any other thing, is an invention. Paper once was hailed as a cutting edge invention, but if you ask me, it still is.
If you’re a student who needs inspiration on a good topic for your research paper – this could be it. The history of papermaking is rich and still has lots for us to learn about paper. Surely you’ll find something that is worth writing about.
Take a journey with us as we tackle the material that’s been used for eons for packaging, books, decoration, and a plethora of other things. This article hopes to provide you with a fun learning experience about the history of paper, how it came to be, and what are its other uses.
History of the Paper
The Egyptians back then were writing on papyrus over four thousand years ago, and the Chinese were known to write on parchments, made out of bamboo back then. And it was only during the Han Dynasty that paper was invented, some time in 206 BCE up to 220 CE. The one responsible for the invention of paper is Cai Lun, somewhere around 105 CE, when he thought of combining natural materials such as tree barks with fishnets and rags.
And no, he’s not the one responsible for coming up with the concept of a research paper in which you’re struggling, so you go and try research paper service by AResearchGuide. No, we have a different person to thank for that. Don’t worry, I’ve been there as well. I literally had to pay someone to write my paper for me because of how complicated it is, and partly due to my laziness. I even got someone to do my essay for me.
Instead of binding and weaving materials into a scroll, Cai Lun thought of pounding the materials down to a pulp. During that process, the materials experience a change in their chemical composition, allowing them to bind together easily, forming sheets. Although there has been evidence of paper being invented way before the Han Dynasty, Cai Lun’s technique was the starting point of the history of papermaking.
He earned unending praise from the Emporer as well as the people around him, and over time, people have started to use paper not just for writing, but for packaging, money, toilet paper, tea bags, and more.
How Paper Became Widespread
While the Chinese were great at keeping their papermaking process to themselves, they could only do so much to stop it from spreading. When the 7th century rolled around, many countries have adopted the practice. Countries like Korea and especially Japan, where a paper is a huge part of their culture. And by the 8th century, Islamic countries have got a hold of the technique – inventing paper mills in the process to make papermaking more efficient.
The process of papermaking came to Europe only when the Islamic world introduced it to them. They quickly adapted to the idea and have created various equipment to speed up the process.
Modern Day Paper Production
During the 1830s, the paper was made even stronger by combining Cai Lun’s process with another innovative one – the utilization of wood pulps rather than pulped rags. Wood pulp would then become the standard for printing newspapers, and lower-quality books due to it being cost-effective.
Papers were only made available to the majority of the people during the invention of the Fourdrinier paper machine. During the 19th century, almost anyone had access to paper, and equipment was constantly developed to make production faster. The 19th century was also the time where steam machinery was invented, making the process quicker than it already is.
That chain of events is what made the paper become of the most important parts of modern society.