The original invention of paper being lost in the uncertainty of tradition and antiquity, we shall not enter into any disquisition, respecting those nations, among whom this valuable article was first manufactured ; though the Chinese appear to have the strongest claims in point of priority: hence we propose to confine our account to the materials of which paper is actually made, as well as those substances, from which it may be advantageously procured.
In Europe. paper is manufactured chiefly of linen rags; which, after being sorted into different classes, according to their respective qualities, are first carried to a machine, called a cutting where they are divided into minute pieces ; and thence to an engine, denominated the duster; which is covered with a wire-net, and put in motion by machinery; so that, by the rapidity of its motion, it separates the dust from the shreds, and forces it through the wire.
The rags are now reduced to a pulp of a proper consistence for making paper : this operation is effected in mills, by the joint action of water, and cylinders provided with iron blades ; after which the stuff is conveyed into a general repository, that supplies the vat or vessel, whence the pulp is drawn.
In order to cast this pulp into paper, the workman immerses in the vat a mould, composed of wire cloth, and furnished with a frame to retain the stuff: thus, he draws as much of the pulp as is necessary to form one sheet, on which he lays a felt for the purpose of absorbing the moisture; and thus he continues, placing alternately a sheet and a felt, till he has formed six quires of paper, which is called a post. When the last sheet of the post is covered with felt, the whole-is pressed; after which the sheets are suspended on cords in an airy room to dry, and then to undergo the process of sizing. This is performed by plunging a few sheets together, and turning them, in a vessel full of she, which is prepared of the shreds and parings of tanners, curriers and parchment-makers : and into which a small portion of alum is thrown, before the sheets are immersed.
The paper is now carried to the drying-room; and, after being gradually dried, it is conveyed .. the finishing-room; where it is submitted to the action of the press, selected ; examined ; folded; formed into quires of 24 sheets, and finally, into reams, consisting of 20 quires each.
Thus manufactured, it is called writing-paper; as it is adapted. this purpose by the process of ing. There are, however, various other sorts, such as blotting, brown, and coarse papers, which will not bear ink without sinking. To these may be added, the different sorts of paper intended for drawing, engraving, and printing; which, though prepared up the usual way, are not sized so thoroughly as that designed for the pen.
Paper being an article of extensive utility, for literary, commercial, and domestic uses, many vegetables have been discovered, which may be advantageously substituted for rags.- In justice to those ingenious men, who first devoted their attention to this important subject, we shall only remark, that many schemes had been proposed, but none carried into effect, previously to the year 1751; when Guettard, in France, and, in 1765, Dr. Schaeffer, in Germany, published their experiments ; and communicated to the world new specimens of paper, made of the bark, leaves, wood, straw, etc. of different plants, shrubs, and trees. Soon after that period, the works of M. de Vil-lette, who described the properties and uses of different plants, were printed on paper manufactured partly from the marsh-mal-. and partly from the bark or rind of the Lime-tree, or Linden-tree : it deserves to be remarked, that the paper obtained from the former, was tolerably fine, and of a yellowish-green shade; that from the latter, was some what coarser, and of a reddish-brown cast; both were smooth, equally fit for printing and writing, but especially for drawing. Another French manufacturer, however, Levier De Lisle, has been erroneously considered as the original inventor of the art of converting raw vegetable matter into paper; though his specimens are said greatly to surpass those produced by Schaeffer, in Germany.—We shall here briefly enumerate the principal of those specimens; namely, from nettles, dark-green ; from hops, dark-brown; from mosses, greasy or dusky-green ; from reeds, light-green ; from three species of the conferva, different shades of green, mixed with grey; from the bark of the wiillow, reddish-brown ; from the wood of the hazel nut-tree, white as milk ; from the bark of the oak, reddish-brown ; from that of the poplar, somewhat lighter than the preceding; from the osier, nearly of the same tint; from the elm, somewhat darker brown ; from the burdock, and the leaves of the thistle (chardon) a green and white spotted paper.
In conducting experiments with plants, the following remarks of Schaffer deserve attention :-The boiling of vegetable substances, or the wood itself, in alkaline solutions, with a view to soften them, and facilitate their conversion into a pulp, is of no service ; as, notwithstanding such treatment for several hours, they not only remained hard, but likewise assumed a yellow cast, though they had formerly been white. Even immersion in pure water affects the colour of vegetables: hence it is most advisable to carry them as fresh and expeditiously as possible to the mill, to convert them into-pulp to draw the paper; and suspend the sheets to dry in an airy place. Though lime-water, if employed for macerating vegetables, that are to be made into paper without rags, facilitates the decom-' position of the former ; yet, at the same time, it imparts a yellowish to the paper : such discolora-tion however, may in a great measure be obviated by long-continued washing of the materials in the engine, during their conversion into a pulpy mass. Plants of tender fibres, which are naturally soft and pliant, require no lime-water, especially when they are to be reduced in a fresh state-; but, for those that are dry, hard, and of a woody consistence, lime will be indispensably necessary ; as otherwise the paper manufactured of them, always remains brittle, and unlike that obtained from rags.
Among the different productions of the vegetable kingdom, which have been employed in the manufacture of paper (before any attempts to that effect were made in Britain), we shall enumerate chiefly the following:
1. Cotton, when treated in a manner similar to that practised with linen rags, affords an excellent paper, which is incomparably more durable, and better calculated for writing; on account of its un-common whiteness,great strength, and line grain : it was first invented in Greece and at present forms a very extensive branch of the Levant trade.
2. The pit of the various spe-cies of thistle have been employed with success by SCHAEFER, who first decorticated the stalks of this plant, bruised them, extracted the inner spongy substance, and sent it in a fresh and sappy state to the mill: after being worked three hours, it afforded, without rags, a tolerably white paper. Dr. BUh-er, however, observes, that the white down growing on the Cotton-thistle ( Ono hordon Atantluum, L) might be more easily collected and usefully employed for this purpose. 3. The Wathen, or Sallow ( Salix caprcata, L.).—In the year 1788 the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, etc. conferred their silver medal on Mr. Greaves, of Mill Bank, near Warrington, for preparing 20 quires of paper from the bark of this tree. The quantity of the material employed, was about six cwt. which had been stripped off the .wigs in the month of September ; and two-thirds of which were heckled and dried, in a manner similar to hemp, so that it was reduced to one cwt.: the remainder was dried in its natural green state, by which it lost one half of its original weight. The heckled bark was then chopped small; worked in the usual manner, and produced eight quires of a finer kind of paper: from the other, Mr-.Greavf.s obtained 24 half quires of coarser paper; which, though not in all respects equal to that manufactured of linen rags, nevertheless " seems likely to answer some valuable purposes hereafter, when the mode of working raw vegetable materials, shall be better understood."-Mr. G.is of opinion, that paper may thus be obtained at one half of the ex-pence usually incurred in the common mode of preparing it from, ropes or rags and that it will be more serviceable, when made of the bark and leaves in a green state.
4. Hemp, is one of the most proper plants for being converted into paper, provided it could be procured at a reasonable price.- Du: Halde informs us, that the inhabitants of Nangha, in Japan, macerate this plant in lime-waterk beat it, and then immediately pre-pare their paper.—Guetred -as-ts, that the very shaws, and other refuse from the stalks of hemp, may be made into a good and strong packing-paper. In order to improve shaws, they ought to be dried in an oven ; when the small, woody particles should be separated, by beating them with thin sticks; next, the clean and pure material must be suffered to putrefy, and afterwards treated in a manner similar to old rags— Fondi, an Italian author, relates, that from shaws alone, he obtained a paper resembling the finest sort manufactured in Holland, after exposing them to the open air, for a whole winter: thus, from time to time, a white pellicle appeared on the surface, till their woody substance is entirely decayed; this Coat or skin should be occasionally removed, being one of the best substitutes for linen rags- Press-boards have, in this country, always been manufactured of shaws ; and we have no doubt but that the latter may be rendered subservient to more valuable purposes.
5. Hip-bines :- Dr. Schaeffer plunged them for fifteen minutes in boiling water, then separated the rind from the woody substance, cut the latter into small pieces, and sent it to the engine. After being worked eight hours, they became fibrous, pulpy, and were fit to be formed into paper : on adding rags, the sheets assumed a whitish appearance; but, without them, had a brownish shade, and were uniformly of a firm consistence.
6. The stalks of Brown or Blue Cabbage, when deprived of their external skin, macerated for tweIve hours in lime-water, then reduced to a pulp, afford, with the 20th part of rags, a good white paper.
7. The dry down of the Cat's-Tail :— See vol. i. p. 45
8. The stalk of the Mallow, and particularly those of the Alcea rosea, L. from which a fine and white paper may be prepared, without adding any rags.
9. Maize: from the leafy husk of this fruit, according to Plancus, the most beautiful post-naper is prepared in an Italian mill, near Rimini.- Schaeefer made an experiment with the whole plant, and obtained a greyish paper : but, after steeping the pulp four days in lime-water, the sheets acquired a greenish shade.
10. From the woolly catkins of the White Poplar, Schaeffer also obtained an excellent smooth paper; having previously cut them into small pieces, and then submitted them for three hours to the operation of the engine : he remarks, that the pulp was easily drawn, formed into sheets, pressed, sized, etc. The paper made of the woolly substance produced by the Black Poplar, was grey, and neither firm, nor free from knobs.
11. The stalks of the Common Broom, after depriving them of the external rind, afford, without rags, a solid writing-paper.
12. The Shaws of Flax, together with other refuse from that article, have lately been used with advantage by the German paper-makers : it is well known, that the stalks of the flax-plant may be employed in their natural state for this purpose : but the expence would not be equivalent to the profit: hence the shaws ought not to be thrown away as useless.
13. The stalk of the Common Sun-flower(Helianthus annuus,L.) contain a large portion of a white, shining, fibrous substance, which, more than any other, deserves the attention of the manufacturer.
14. Peat has, at Erfurt, lately been converted into an useful wrapping-paper, paste-boards, playing-cards, etc. without the addition of rags :- we conceive, it would afford a good material for paper-hangings.
15. Grass -wrack (Zostera marina, L. vol. ii. p 398) is with great advamage employed in North-Holland, where most of the packing -paper is manufactured of this marine vegetable.
16. The tendrils of the Fine, after having undergone the putrefactive fermentation, yield a beautiful paper.
18. The stalks of the Mugwort (Artemisia Absinthium, L. vol. ii. p. 239), when soaked for several days in lime-water, and reduced to a pulp, were formed into a whitish writing-paper; but that produced from the external rind was fit for all the purposes of packing.
19. The stalks of the Clematis. - See Traveller's Joy.
20. Barley-straw is, perhaps, the most abundant and profitable material which might, in this respect, serve as a substitute. Dr. Schaeffer (whose inventions have not always been acknowledged by an ungrateful posterity) obtained a yellowish paper of this straw, after soaking it in boiling water, then steeping it in lime-water, and adding the 20th part of linen rags.
Having thus given an outline of the. improvements and discoveries made in this useful branch of the arts, by ingenious men on the Continent, as well as in Britain, we were not a little surprized at the effrontery of those adventurers and ignorant pretenders, who have late - ly amused the world with their new invention of manufacturing paper from straw, and other vegetable productions. Indeed, we deem it a duty we owe to the public in general, and the British manufacturers of this important article in particular, to declare that, in our opinion, they are fully entitled to avail themselves of the different substances before described ; even though a speculative person should screen his pretended method of making or re-manufacturing paper, under an exclusive privilege. If any doubt prevail respecting the legality of such application, the Editor of this work solemnly engages to prove, by the evidence of a respectable proprietor of paper-mills, in the vicinity of London, that these processes, for which his Majesty's patent, as well as an act of the legislature, have recently been obtained, were well known to him previously to both grants ; and that he has actually procured specimens of paper manufactured of raw vegetable materials, in this country, about the middle of De-cember, in the year 1799. Hence it follows, that the patentee is not entitled to the sole exercise or monopoly of his surreptitious privi -lege; and that every paper-maker in the United Kingdom, has a right to make use of the discoveries before stated.
In a late volume of the " An -nales de Chimic, we meet with some useful hints relative to the manner of re-manufacturing the paper of old books (or even new ones of a certain description), or any letters, or other paper already used for writing or printing ; by M. M. De Yeux, Pelletier, Molard, Audverkaven. Process for re-fabricating Printed Paper :- All paper of the same quality should be collected, and separated from such as may have any writing on the pages ; the edges of those leaves which may have become yellow, and also the backs of books, being cut off by the instrument used by book-binders.- One hundred weight of paper is now to be put, sheet by sheet, into vats, sufficiently capacious to contain it, together with 500 quarts of hot water; but which ought to be filled about one-third ; - the whole is next stirred by two men for the space of one hour, who are gradually to add as much water as will rise about three inches above the paper ; after which it is left to macerate four or five hours ; the agitation being occasionally repeated, so as to separate, and at length to form the paper into a kind of paste.
The water is now drawn off by means of pipes, and the pulp conveyed to the mill, where it is to be coarsely ground for one hour ; at the expiration of which, it is boiled in a cauldron for a similar space, with a sufficient quantity of water to rise four or five inches above it. A short time before the mixture begins to boil, thirteen quarts of caustic ley of pot-ash are to be added to every cwt. of paper. The ley alluded to, is prepared by dis-solving 100lbs. of pot-ash in 300 quarts of boiling water, to which are to be added 20lbs. of pulve-rized, quick-lime; and the whole must be briskly agitated, till it become of an uniform consistence, when it is suffered to stand for 12 hours; at the end of this time it must be drawn off, and 75 quarts of boiling water added to the sediment, which being stirred for half an hour, and suffered to stand till it become clear, is to be mixed with the liquor first decanted.
When the paste has boiled in this ley for one hour, the fire is to be extinguished, and the matter suffered to macerate for 12 hours ; after which it must be taken out, drained, put into bags, and submitted to the action of a strong press for a similar length of time, to deprive it of all moisture ; and, if it appear white, so that the prin-ter's ink be properly extracted, it may be re-manufactured in the usual manner.
II. Process for the re-fabrication of Written Paper: - The paper must be sorted ; the yellow edge, cut off; and the whole thrown, leaf by leaf, into a tub half - full of boiling water, where it is to be agitated as before directed. After it has macerated four hours, the water should be drawn off ; a fresh quantity of boiling water added ; and the mixture stirred tor half an hour; at the expiration of which the paper is again left to dissolve for three hours.
The fluid is now drawn off, and 260 quarts of cold water poured on each cwt. of paper ; which being perfectly mixed, 61bs, of oil of vitriol are to be gradually added ; and the whole strongly agitated for a considerable time, that the paper may thoroughly imbibe the liquor.
This composition is next suffer- ed to macerate for twelve hours ; the agitation being occasionally repeated, when the tub is to be filled up with cold water; and the mixture again stirred, to wash the paper, which will now be reduced to a perfect paste. Lastly, after drawing oft" the water, the pulp must be put into bags, pressed, and ground in a mill; after which it at is conveyed to the vat, and worked in the manner practised with linen rigs.
In the year 1801, a patent was granted to Mr. Koops, for extracting ink from printed paper, and restoring it to its original state. - His process varies little from that above described ; the paper being agitated in hot water, to extract the size, and reduce it into a pulp : next, the adhesion of the ink is to be removed by a caustic alkali prepared of lime and pot-ash, the quantities of which, should be proportioned to those of the paper. After discharging the ink, he directs the pulp to be bleached by means of the oxygenated marine acid, in the proportion of 10 or 12 gallons to 140lbs. of the material ; and, when sufficiently whitened, it is re-manufactured in the usual man- ner.—According to the patentee's account, writing paper does not require so large a proportion, if any, of the caustic alkali ; but is bleached by confining it in a wooden box, rendered air-tight; into which the acid gass is thrown directly from the retort wherein it was produced.
The staining, or dyeing of paper, is performed by applying, with soft brushes, any of the colours used for tinging other substances, after tempering them properly with size or gum-water. Should the papei not be sufficiently hard to receive the tint without sinking, it will first be necessary to size it, or to employ a larger proportion of gum with the tinging matters. And, if the paper is to be of an uniform colour, the latter must be fixed by several thin coatings, each being suffered to dry, before another is applied ; as the shade will otherwise appear unequal.
As writing paper is often imperfectly sized, in consequence of which the ink is apt to sink, it has been recommended to dissolve a small piece of Roman alum in a glass of pure water. This liquor should be gently spread over the suspected part, with a soft sponge ; and, after becoming dry, it may be safely used for writing. - Should there be any occasion to write on a printed book, or on paper that is too fresh and moist, it will only be necessary to mix a little gum With the ink. - Lastly, in case any book or manuscript be stained with oil, or grease, it has been directed to calcine and pulverize the bones of sheep's trotters ; and to apply a small portion of the powder to each side of the stain, which should be placed between two sheets of white paper, and the whole submitted for the space of twelve hours to the action of a press : if the stains do not disappear, the process should be repeated in a warm place.
Various patents have been grant- ed for inventions, or improvements, in the different branches of the pa-per-manufacture ; but, as the specification of them would benefit only a small part of our readers, we shall not enter into particulars ; - the following, however, deserve to be noticed, namely : Mr. Hooper's, in 1787, for his invention of a paper for printing; and, in 1790, for making paper of different sorts from leather-cuttings ; - Mr. Cunning-ham's, in 1794, for manufacturing paper from various materials ; - Mr. Bigg's, in 1795, for a cheap and expeditious mode of bleaching paper ; — and Mr. CARPENTER'S patent, obtained in the same year, for a new method of bleaching in the water-leaf or sheet.
Paper-Hangincs, are a particular kind of paper, which is much thicker than that used for the purposes of printing, writing, etc. ; so that it is manufactured solely for hanging or lining the walls of rooms. Such papers are coloured in various ways ; but, as a description of these processes would trespass on our limits, we shall merely take notice of a patent, which was granted in 1793, to Mr. ECKHARDT ; for his method of preparing and printing paper-hangings in different patterns, and silvering them so as to resemble damask, lace, and various silk stuffs. The patentee directs the paper to be coloured in the usual manner, and a proper coat of size, consisting of solutions of isinglass, or parchment, to be applied. When this ground is sufficiently dry, a gold size, or other preparation, may be substituted, and laid on those parts, on which the ornaments are intended to appear. Before the gold size is perfectly dry,leaves of silver are spread over it ; the paper is sized two or three times; and then finished with such varnish as will resist moisture. To conclude :- As many accidents happen by the all-devouring element of fire, both to printed and written papers, as well as to hangings, when intrusted to improvident persons, we shall communicate a very simple, but effectual, method of rendering all sorts of paper fire -proof. Such desirable object may be easily effected, by immersing these combustible materials in a strong solution of alum - water; and, alter drying them, repeating this immersion, if necessary. Thus, neither the colour, nor the quality, of the paper, will be in the least af- fected : on the contrary, both will be improved ; and the result of the experiment may be ascertained, by holding a slip of paper so prepared over a candle.