FWT Homepage Translator

Reference Books on Handmade Papermaking History & Techniques + Stories & Poems.

Papermaking - The History & Technique of an Ancient Craft By Dard
Pub. Dover Publications, New York 1978.

Making Paper. A Look into the History of an Ancient Craft. By Bo

Recueil de Planches sur Les Sciences,Les Artes Liberaux et Les Arts
Mechaniques avec leur Explication.
L'Encyclopedie Diderot et Alembert Imprimerie Reliure
Pub.Inter-Livres 1994

The Art of Making Paper
taken from the "Univerfal Magazine of Knowledge & Pleafure & other
Arts & Sciences
Extracts from Vols X,XXX,XXX11
Pub.The Plough Press 1978 Leicestershire,England

William Balston Papermaker 1759 - 1849 By Thomas Balston.
Pub.Methuen 1954

Papermaking in Britain 1488 - 1988 By Richard L.Hills.
Pub. Athlone Press 1988

Paper Making in England 1495-1788 By Rhys Jenkins
AAL Reprints No5 1958

Paper Making in the British Isles - An Historical & Geographical
Study By Alfred H.Shorter
Pub.David & Charles Newton Abbot 1971

Sources of Early English Paper Supply By Edward Heaward. Presented
as three papers .
Pub. Transactions of the Bibliographic Society.

The Endless Web John Dickenson & Co Ltd 1804 - 1954 By Joan Evans
Pub. Jonathan Cape, London, 1955

Japanese Papermaking - Traditional Tools & Techniques By Timothy
Pub.Wetherhill New York 1983

Paper before Print -the History & Impact of Paper in the Islamic
World By Jonathan M.Bloom
Pub.Yale University Press 2001

Islamic Paper - A Study of the Ancient Craft By Helen Loveday.
Pub The Don Baker Memorial Fund 2001. Distributed by Archetype
Publications (UK)

Off the Deckle Edge - A Papermaking Journey through India. By Neeta
Pub. by Ankar Project, Bombay 1995

Chinese Decorated Letter Paper By T.C.Lai.
Pub. Swindon Book Company. Kowloon. Hong Kong 1978

Girtin & Bonington

British Artists Series
 Pub.Philip Allan & Co London 1922

The Art of Thomas Girtin

Pub. Adam & Charles Black,London 1954

 Turner's Papers Vols 1 & 2 By Peter Bower
Pub. by Order of the Trustees Tate Gallery 1993

The Action of the Beater By Dr.Siguard Smith.
Pub.Technical Section of the UK PapermakersAssoc. 1923

 Double Fold-Libraries & the Assault on Paper. By Nicholson Baker .
Pub.Random House New York 2001

The Book of Wallpaper By E.A.Entwisle
Pub.Arthur Baker,London.1954 with reprints

The Taxation of Paper in Great Britain 1643-1861. By H.Dagnall

Pub.By the Author in collaboration with British Assoc.of Paper Historians.



Poems & Stories with a Papermaking Theme

A Wry Look at Papermills & their Customers

with apologies to Lewis Carroll

The Griffen and Alice had not gone far before they saw the Mock
Turtle in the distance, sitting sad and lonely on a little ledge
of rock; drawing nearer, Alice could hear him sighing as if his heart would break.

As they approached, the Mock Turtle looked at Alice with large eyes full of tears, but said nothing.

"This young lady," said the Griffen, "wants to know about paper."
"I'll tell it to her." said the Mock Turtle in a deep, hollow
tone. "Sit down both of you, and don't speak a word till I've finished."

So they sat down and nobody spoke for some minutes. Alice thought
to herself, "I don't see how he can ever finish if he doesn't
begin". But she waited patiently.

"Once," said the Mock Turtle at last, "Paper was just paper."
These words were followed by a very long silence, broken only by
an occasional "Hjckrrh!" from the Griffen and the constant heavy
sobbing from the Mock Turtle.

"When we were little", the Mock Turtle went on at last, more
calmly, though still sobbing a little now and then, "Paper was
made quite simply by hand. Some papermills said their paper was
good for wrapping things in, other mills said their paper was good
for writing on and others said they made printing paper ...of
course this wasn't always true."

"Why not?" asked Alice.

"Because it wasn't." said the Mock Turtle sadly.

"You ought to be ashamed of yourself for asking such a simple question!" said the
Griffen; and then they both sat silent and looked at poor Alice.

At last the Griffen said to the Mock Turtle, "Drive on old Fellow! Don't be all day about it!" and he went on with these words:

"Later, because there were so many complaints from
customers, it was decided to describe how each type of paper
should behave."

Alice thought the idea that a sheet of paper could BEHAVE very
funny and started to giggle.The Griffen glared at her so she
hastily asked the Mock Turtle what he meant. The Mock Turtle
sighed heavily and looked at the Griffen and asked him whether he
remembered the paper song.

"Oh, you sing." said the Griffen. "I've forgotten the words."

"Oh, a song, please if the Mock Turtle will be so kind," Alice
pleaded, so eagerly that the Griffen said, in rather an offended
tone, "Hm! No accounting for tastes!"

The Mock Turtle bowed his head and then stood up. Waving his
fore-paws to mark the time, he began to sing slowly in a voice choked with sobs:-

"Shrewd Lawyers love within its folds
To practice night and day;
Richer Bankers change it into gold
in a financial way;
Great men of thought and letters on
The milk white surface trace.
Rich jewels and precious gems are bound
within its soft embrace."

Here, the Griffen shook itself, for it had fallen into a light
doze and said "Of course, if you use the wrong paper for the wrong
job, it won't work anyway".

Alice wondered why anyone would want to do a wrong job in the
first place and the Mock Turtle annoyed, by the Griffen's
interruption, snapped "The papermaker's chorus is still to come, if I may continue?"

"By all means old fellow." replied the Griffen, in a conciliatory tone.

The Mock Turtle blinked several times and drew the back of one
flapper across his eyes. He looked at Alice and tried to speak,
but for a minute or two, sobs choked his voice.

"Same as a bone in his throat," said the Griffen; and it set to
work shaking and punching him in the back.

At last the Mock Turtle recovered his voice and with tears running
down his cheeks, he went on with the papermaker's lament:-

"Poets-princes and Conservators,
Painters and Bookish binders,
They undo what we all do
Down by the River Shannon."

"What does it mean?" asked Alice. "How can you undo a piece of paper?"
"Easy." explained the Griffen. "First you wet it, then you attack it."

"Attack it with what?" asked Alice in a surprised voice.
"With a stiff brush or a steel nib." replied the Griffen, waving a paw.
"Don't forget the glue, the knife and the needle." sobbed the Mock Turtle.

"If I was a papermaker," said Alice rather desperately, because
her thoughts were still inexplicably with the lawyers,"I wouldn't make any paper!"

"Then you wouldn't be a papermaker," said the Griffen in disgust.
"Probably best not to be!" added the Mock Turtle thoughtfully.


The Poem was taken from the words of an original song by a
papermaker who worked at Turkey Mill in Kent in 1891. (The last
verse has been altered slightly).


What is a Sheet of Paper?

Taken literally, it is a sheet with the same depth of identical
fibres. Ideally, the uniform structure should resemble a brick wall.

The reason a brick wall can be made in an uniform way is because the
bricklayer lays down each brick exactly to plan, i.e. he has control
over the deposition of each brick the structure.

The approach by papermakers,to produce a uniform sheet.is to disperse the fibres as
uniformly as possible in a dilute solution of water by a violent
agitation - which by nature is a haphazard or random like action.

When you think about it, this approach is analogous to the
bricklayer hoping that when a load of bricks is dumped on the ground
from the back of a truck, they will land on top of one another in
the configuration of the wall to be built!


Byron, Don Juan. Canto III, Stanza LXXXVIII

"...to what straits old Time reduces
Frail man, when paper - even a rag like this -
Survives himself, his tomb, and all that's his."


A POEM .......by Carmen Sylvia 1889

Those pieces of rag be quick and bring! the dusty old shreds are
just the thing.
For pulp,for pulp,for a poet's song.
It comes out smooth and glossy and thin, from rollers and wheels and
cylinder's din
for lords & ladies their notes to indite.
For pretty poets who scrawl by night.
And newspaper scribblers who bluster and blow:
For little love-letters where compliments grow: And stories in which
the afflictions of men
Are wretchedly told by an unskilled pen.
on just such rags as once wiped away
The tears whereat thou weepest today.

Poem ... by Thomas Churchyard

I praise the man that first did paper make,
The only thing that sets all virtues forth:
It shooes new books and keeps old workes awake.
Much more of price than all the world is worth.

It witnesse bears of friendship time & troth,
And is the trop of vice and virtue both:
Without whose help,nor hap nor wealth is won,
And by whose ayde great works & deeded are done.
A Paper Mill that neere Dartford standeth well
Where Spilman may himself and household dwell

The Mill itself is sure right rare to see
The framing is so quaint and finely done
Built of wood and hollowed trunks of trees
The Hammers thump and make so loud a noise
As fuller doth that beats his woollen cloth
In open show, then Sundry secret toyes
Make rotten rags to yield a thickened froth
There it is stamped and washed as white as snow
Then flung on frame and hanged to dry, I trow
Thus paper straight it is to write upon
As it were rubbed and smoothed with slicking stone.

Another Poem ... by Thomas Churchyard

If paper be so precious & so pure,

so fitte for man,& serves so many wayes,

so good for use,& will so well endure,

so rare a thing,and so much in prayes:

Then he that hath made us a paper mill,

is worthy well of love an worldes goodwill.


Advert in the Pittsfield Sun.8th Feb; 1801

Sweet ladies pray not be offended,
Nor mind the jest of sneering wags;
No harm, believe us, is intended,
When we humbly requested your rags.
The scraps which you reject, unfit
To clothe the tenants of a hovel,
May shine in sentiment & wit,
And help to make a charming novel.
Each beau in study will engage,
His fancy doubtless will be warmer,
When writing on the milk-white page,
Which once adorned his charmer.
Though foreigners may sneer & vapour,
We're no longer forced to their books to buy,
Our gentle belles will furnish paper,
Our sighing beaux will wit supply.

The Papermaker   16th C German origin

The water turns my mill wheel round

where rags to paper pulp are ground:

Their snowy leaves on felt I lay,

And squeeze the water well away,

and then I hang my sheets to dry,

All bright & shining like the sky.


These lines are found in De Proprietatibus Rerum

Printed by Wynken
de Worde in 1495-96 & refer to John Tate...one of England's earliest

And also of your charity call to rememberance the soul of William
Caxton,the first printer of this book.
That every well disposed man may thereon look,
And John Tate the younger,joy more he brought,
which late in England do make this paper thin,
That now in English this book is printed in.