Paper is a fabric or kind of cloth composed of numerous fibers or threadlike filaments, the rough edges of which cause them to stick together. Drawing paper and other fine grades of paper are made from linen rags. The first step in the process of manufacture is to place the rags in a vat filled with water and to beat and tear them until they are transformed into paper pulp, a substance which looks very much like cottage cheese. The pulp is then taken to another vat where it is mixed and churned with more water until in its more diluted form it becomes of the thickness or consistency of cream. This creamlike substance is then allowed to flow over the screen of the paper machine on which it is transformed into long rolls or sheets of paper.
The paper machine consists of a fine screen of wire about 6 ft. wide and 200 or more feet long. The screen runs over rollers on the principle of an endless belt. The creamlike pulp is allowed to flow on one end of the traveling screen which vibrates as it moves along. The water in the pulp gradually drains through the screen on which the fibers settle evenly in the form of a porous sheet, like very spongy blotting paper. As the screen travels along it passes between rollers which compress and squeeze out more of the water from the creamy substance, making the sheet of paper less spongy. After the pulp has been pressed into a sheet, the screen passes over hot rollers for the purpose of drying the wet sheet of paper. The distance which the paper pulp travels on the screen before it is transformed into paper is 100 ft. or more. The thickness of the paper depends upon the rate at which the pulp is allowed to flow on the traveling screen. "Hot pressed" paper is paper to which the extreme pressure is applied while the pulp is still hot, while "cold pressed" paper is not subjected to pressure until the pulp is cold. The former type of paper is of the highest grade.