Invention of Paper
Ancient Papyrus Scroll
Importance of Paper as an Invention
We take it for granted. It is dumped out daily by offices, schools, homes, and businesses. And yet, is one of the most important inventions of all time. Without it, many other inventions would not have been created. This invention allowed humans to preserve history, keep records, create art masterpieces, and exchange knowledge. What is this miraculous invention? The answer is paper.Paper was created by the Chinese about two thousand years ago. The exact date is not known- it ranges from about 150 B.C. up to 110 A.D. The first known written records of the invention of paper belong to China. Ts'ai Lun, a member of the Imperial Court, is recorded reporting the event to the Chinese Emperor at about 105 AD.Before this valuable invention, the storage of ideas was a difficult or impossible task. Cavemen scrawled on the walls of caves. The Sumerians invented a writing system. However, they painstakingly wrote on clay tablets. The clay tablets were heavy and difficult to transport. They could break if dropped.The next development in writing material was with the ancient Egyptians. It is from them that the word paper is derived. Paper comes from the Egyptian word "papyrus". Papyrus is a plant that is abundant on the Nile Riverbanks. Egyptians would make sheets of papyrus to use for writing purposes. It was a very long and tedious process.The first paper made by the Chinese was made of hemp that had been soaked in water and beaten into a pulp. A mold was used to contain the mixture until it dried. Papermaking started spreading across Asia.Papermaking didn't reach Europe for another thousand years. It was changed somewhat from the original paper made from hemp. Most paper was now made of linen fibers. Paper would become in high demand with the invention of the Gutenberg Printing Press in the mid 1400s, another important contribution to the advancement of technology.