The paper sitting on your desk is a Chinese invention folks. Chinese being the curious and creative people they are, invented the paper and all the products you are surrounded by, maybe.
Ts’ai Lun an official of the imperial court of the Eastern Han Empire, is credited with the invention of paper, often cited in 105 A.D. Ts’ai Lun separated the back of the mulberry tree into fibers and pounded them into a sheet. They later realized – with the addition of rags hemp and old fish nets to the pulp, the quality of the pulp could be improved. The use of paper soon became widespread in China and the rest of the world through the historically famous silk route.
Before paper people wrote on parchment, vellum – both made from animal skins – and were used to create scrolls, codices, and books. They also wrote in clay with reed styluses.
In ancient China, people wrote on silk and bamboo which were both cited inefficient since silk was expensive and bamboo heavy. This made the need felt for an efficient writing surface.
Paper Meets India
Before the introduction of paper in the Indian subcontinent people wrote on two types of materials – hard and soft. Hard writing surfaces include stones, metals like gold, silver, shells, bricks, earthenware, terracotta. Soft writing surfaces include wood, birch-bricks, palm leaves, leather, and cloth.
The Chinese prisoners of the battle of Artlakh near Talas, brought to Samarkand first introduced (AD 751) the technique of papermaking from linen, flax, or hemp rags based on methods used in China. The Arabs learned the technique from Chinese captives further improving the same and supplemented linen with flax and other vegetable fibers.
With the conquest of Sind by the Arabs, Khurasani paper was first introduced in India early in the eighth century AD, and it continued to be imported for several centuries.
Its Types Are
The commonly used durable, regular lightweight paper, the lifeline of all official and non-official works, this paper is used for writing, drawing, printing things like letterheads and biz docs.
These are papers that are coated with glossy, semi-gloss, or matte finishes.
Gloss Coated Paper
All magazines are made from this paper. A shiny paper which supports high contrast and makes the images and content to pop. It makes the most boring of images appealing.
Just the opposite of gloss paper, this paper produces good quality prints but doesn’t have a vibrant color finish. Unlike gloss paper, this paper doesn’t pose the problem of glare and fingerprints.
Just as the name suggests this paper is made from paper that has already been recycled. It is extremely environment friendly and cost-effective.
Silk Coated Paper
It is made from binding silk fibers together. This paper has a soft, luxe feel and is used to highlight premium services and products. The surface finish is somewhere between gloss and matte. Not too shiny that it glares, but shiny enough to make the pictures pop.
This paper does not have a coating to fill in between the fibers making it rougher than coated paper, more porous, which makes it very absorbent. Images printed on uncoated paper have a softer appearance and less crisp. They are great for novels and books.
A watermark is a faint design made into paper during the manufacturing process. It identifies the paper mill’s trademark or the brand name of the paper.
Newsprint is a cheap, non-archival, off white, four-color process, offset printing paper consisting mainly of wood pulp and most commonly used to print newspapers and other publications and advertising material.
It is a really special paper. It’s 100% cotton and is popular among professionals to print any type of artistic imagery, whether photographic or art reproductions for its archival quality. It is acid-free. It means it will never become yellow.
PS: To everyone wondering what currency notes are made from.
Newsflash: Notes are not ‘exactly’ made using paper. In India, the currency paper made specifically for BEP is composed of 75% cotton and 25% linen. They are a combination of pulp containing cotton, balsam and special dyes to make them resilient, durable with quality to resist from wear and tear, and not to be faked easily.