• September 24, 2012

The History of Paper

  • Written by Printing Professional

It is a fairly common perception that the papyrus used in Ancient Egypt was the first paper.  Having been developed in the 3rd millennium BC, it is most certainly the first material used for writing and recording images.  Technically, papyrus isn’t paper though.  It is made from strips of the pith of the papyrus plant joined together.  Paper, by definition, requires the raw material for the paper to be ground or mashed, which changes the physical structure of the material.

The first paper meeting this definition was developed by the Chinese in the 2nd century BC.  It’s considered to be one of the four great inventions of China.  The rest of the world had to be content with papyrus and parchment, made from animal hides, until the 10th century AD when Chinese paper spread through the Middle East to Spain and Portugal.  By the 13th century AD, it had spread to northern Europe, and its development was furthered by the construction of water-powered paper mills.  The development of the printing press around 1440 AD increased the demand for and use of paper by making books more readily available.

Although paper was in higher demand, it was still quite expensive.  It wasn’t until the Industrial Revolution and the creation of steam-driven paper-making machines that paper became more accessible and cheaper.

Today paper is inexpensive, readily available, and widely used.  Even with the advent of digital media, there will always be a need for paper to carry messages through words and images.  If you have printing and graphics you want to put on paper, Accent Printing Solutions is your solution.