Ancient Order of Writing & Paper Making

The ancient order of writing was from the right to the left, which over time developed a new method of writing their lines alternatively , right to left and then from left to right. This style was termed as boustrophedon, which means writing as the oxen would plough a field. In this way we continued until such time as the writing from left to right was found to be more natural and was adopted throughout the countries of Europe .

Originally writing was engraved upon pillars and stone. Later engravings were made upon softer metals, such as lead. As the new writing for communication grew , a new portable method had to be made. Leaves and bark were used in some countries, and in others, wood coated with a thin layer of wax was used and impressions were made using a pen of iron.

Time passed, and the hides of animals prepared and made into parchment became the most common material. The present method of writing upon paper, was not developed in the European countries until the fourteenth century, and was manufactured in water driven mills.

The raw materials used for the papermaking were pure water and rags. The paper used for books, the best white paper was manufactured by using white linen rags, other courser rags were used for the manufacturing of brown paper used for packaging and such like.

The rags and other materials were cut, sorted and washed ,then fermented after which they were poured into a trough ,mixed with water and pounded to a pulp. It is this pounding that breaks down the fibres and enables the vital hydrogen bonding to form between the fibres to give the paper most of its strength. The pulp was then poured into a vat, where, whilst being kept lukewarm, was agitated with a pole.

To create the sheets of paper to the required size, a wire-meshed mould would be inserted into the pulp, upon removal the mesh would be given a series of shakes so as to draw of the excess water and to also interlock the fibres. The sheets were then carefully removed from the mould and stacked in a quire of 144, each sheet separated from another by a layer of woollen felt. The stack would then be placed in a press where the water was then squeezed right out of it. Each sheet was then separated and hung on lines to dry.

Manufacturing paper in this way, although relatively simple, must have been rather unpleasant for the women and children employed to do the sorting , washing and fermenting of the rags and other used materials. The men would have worked at the vats with all the heat and smell , along with the repetitive motions required to stir the stuff.

In the early 1600's many of these mills were closed down, as it was thought that the dirty rags were contributing to the spread of the plague.



The process of papermaking remains today , much the same as it was in the early days. However, paper in todays world is wholly machine made, although there are a few mills that are still “hand-making” paper as a luxury item. Also where high grade paper is required , the rags are still cut by hand, though most mills use rag cutting machinery.



Paper making has been an art of great importance to society as a whole. It has facilitated the spread of knowledge and education throughout the world.









 

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Comments 29 comments

C. C. Riter 7 years ago

Great read Hawke, i think they also used clay early on for writing and for record keeping. Very informative and like the Victorian illustration.


Hawkesdream profile image

Hawkesdream 7 years ago from Cornwall Author

Thank you C.C ,glad you liked it,am hoping to create a series.


C. C. Riter 7 years ago

Oh good, that will be great. I look forward to it. thanks


Hawkesdream profile image

Hawkesdream 7 years ago from Cornwall Author

You're welcome


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

Hi Hawkesdream, I think you need to look at the history of paper as I'm sure it came from China. They're always bragging here that they invented it and used it centuries before the west. I know Japan start from the back of the book and the writing goes in columns from top to bottom. China I think have always gone from left to right.

When I was in Korea I was so impressed with their papermaking. It is one of their national crafts - anything to do with paper and goes back many centuries as well. They make the most beautiful paper from mulberry leaves. Gorgeous.


Hawkesdream profile image

Hawkesdream 7 years ago from Cornwall Author

Hi Cindy , yes you are right, China was the first to do paper , however , for this series I was concentrating on the Europeans. The chinese art of writing , for mr is a totally different ballgame and deserves a series of their own and my research did not take me down that route .But it will!


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States

Well, I'll certainly be looking forward to the next installment. I love to envision the past as I read about it.


Hawkesdream profile image

Hawkesdream 7 years ago from Cornwall Author

Thanks Tom, it is a fascinating subject , I am really having fun with it.


guidebaba profile image

guidebaba 7 years ago from India

Nice Article. Urdu is still written from right to left.


Hawkesdream profile image

Hawkesdream 7 years ago from Cornwall Author

Do you write Urdu? guidebabba, Is it difficult or a natural feel?


DarleneMarie profile image

DarleneMarie 7 years ago from USA

Very informative Hub Hawke.  Not too far in the near future they'll be saying "can you believe they used to use paper to write on?"  LOL


Hawkesdream profile image

Hawkesdream 7 years ago from Cornwall Author

Thank God for 'Staples' Eh!


guidebaba profile image

guidebaba 7 years ago from India

No I don't write Urdu.


Hawkesdream profile image

Hawkesdream 7 years ago from Cornwall Author

Thanks for the info guidebabba


Paper Moon profile image

Paper Moon 7 years ago from In the clouds

What a fascinating article. I actually made paper once, using tissue paper, water, a blender and a screen. I did not use a press and it turned out horrible. It wanted to crumble. Wonder how they fermented it or what they used. I can’t wait to read your other articles in the series. Thank you.


Hawkesdream profile image

Hawkesdream 7 years ago from Cornwall Author

Thanks Paper Moon, Ileft out the bit with the fermenting, apparently it stank, my next article is on - word perception- should be ready this week


RGraf profile image

RGraf 7 years ago from Wisconsin

Good info. Thank you.


Hawkesdream profile image

Hawkesdream 7 years ago from Cornwall Author

Good to meet you RGraf, thanks for popping in.


Haunty profile image

Haunty 7 years ago from Hungary

Once I applied for a job with a company that deal with the distribution of communications support materials. To my astonishment I realized that they had over 8000 different types of paper to offer. Computer is nice but i find that the hubs i'm most satisfied with i still write on paper. :)

You have a great practice of making the subject of your paragraphs bold.


Hawkesdream profile image

Hawkesdream 7 years ago from Cornwall Author

Hi Haunty, thanks for the compliment, much appreciated. There is a paper mill at Cheddar Gorge, haven't been there yet but hope to this year at some point.


Silver Freak profile image

Silver Freak 7 years ago from The state of confusion

Wonderful hub and I really loved the history lesson. Maybe you could write a how to hub on making your own paper?


Hawkesdream profile image

Hawkesdream 7 years ago from Cornwall Author

I will research this in greater depth , Silver, and will do just that. Thanks for the suggestion.


MangoGirl 7 years ago

A pleasant experience reading your hub, Alison. Thanks.


Hawkesdream profile image

Hawkesdream 7 years ago from Cornwall Author

Why thank you MangoGirl, your comment is appreciated, Good to meet you.


maas of maa 7 years ago

hey ! great page u have hawke!

tnx a lot for the ideas. i ain't gonna worry about my report tomorrow.


Hawkesdream profile image

Hawkesdream 7 years ago from Cornwall Author

Thank you for reading, good luck with your report


toknowinfo profile image

toknowinfo 5 years ago

Excellent hub. Made for a great read and I learned so much. Thanks for the info. Rated up and useful.


Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 4 years ago from East Coast, United States

HI. Alison - long time no see! Anyway, the process of paper making is fascinating. One summer, when I had kids at home, we decided to make paper. It was a lot of fun, a big, stinky mess, and the paper not what you would call attractive, but I feel like we all learned something.


Hawkesdream profile image

Hawkesdream 4 years ago from Cornwall Author

And, you had the satisfaction of a job well done too. Great to see you too, Dolores

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