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Invention of Paper

Updated on March 10, 2008

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.

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      Aida M. 4 years ago

      thank you so much!!! This is helped me :) you're welcome

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      Camill 5 years ago

      Thanks for the info but I'm not suppose to copy every thing:(

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      me 5 years ago

      this is dumb

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      joe mama 6 years ago

      why and i here

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      Hank Yuu 6 years ago

      Thanks this really helped me with my social studies paper!!

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      7 years ago

      Man, this website really helped me with my essay i am so glad i found it. thx

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      John 7 years ago


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      get it? 8 years ago

      a man a plan a canal panama. Read that sentence backwards

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      nic 8 years ago

      wow this helped me throughout my report. i hit the jackpot finding this page! wow thanks!

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      xIceCrystalsx 8 years ago

      cool...chinese are so smart...

    • profile image

      HotChicken 8 years ago


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      alakazam 8 years ago

      I agree, kkrocks!

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      kkrocks 8 years ago

      Wow, the Chinese are so dang smart. I mean, check this out, they also invented silk, gunpowder, matches, ice cream, movable printing, compass, paper money, wheelbarrows, decimal system, water wheel, sundial, row crops, porcelain china, lacquer paint, pottery wheel, fireworks, seismograph, tangrams, dominoes, jump rope, kites, parachute, folding umbrella, calligraphy, animal harness, abacus, ink, rudder, crossbow, cast iron, and even more! Unbelievable!:D

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      Pia 9 years ago

      Awesome! Thanks for the good info!