Papermaking The Story of
an account of paper-making from its earliest
known record down to the present time by
J.W. Butler Paper Company 1901
The Origin and Early History of Paper Part 10
The increase of paper-mills in the United States had been so
rapid that in 1810 the number in the country was stated to be
185. In 1811, Zenas Crane, who had built the first mill at Dalton,
since known as the Berkshire Mills, erected a new mill at the
lower falls of the Housatonic. These pioneers gave a great
impetus to the manufacture, and paper-mills sprang up as if by
magic along all the swift-flowing mountain streams of New
A paper-mill, the first built in the British American provinces, was
erected at what is now Bedford, and in the same year, 1816, a
paper factory was put into operation at Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.
It was operated by a 16 horse-power steam-engine, employed
forty persons, and with an annual output valued at only $20,000
required the consumption of 10,000 bushels of coal and the use
of 1 '20,000 pounds of rags, showing that the method must have
been slow and cumbersome, and the margin of profit small.
It is believed that the Gilpins, who were celebrated
paper-makers on the Brandywine, near Philadelphia, were the
first to introduce paper machinery from France and England,
about the year 1820, but the
experiment proved so expensive
that it met with little encouragement
at that time. Some interesting facts
were brought out during this year by
a petition to Congress from the
paper makers of Pennsylvania and
Delaware, who asked for a duty on
paper, claiming that seventy paper
mills, with ninety vats, employing
950 persons, and using '2,600 tons
of rags, with an annual output of
$500,000 in value, had by foreign
competition been reduced to
seventeen vats. The allied trades of
printing and publishing were so
closely connected with paper-making
that what affected one affected all;
it was this community of interests
that led representatives of the three
industries to unite, in 1822, in a
memorial to Congress, urging that
the duty on books should not be
reduced, as the books, entirely of
American products and manufacture,
which were issued in the country,
amounted in value to more than
Cut - Washed - Bleached Rags
1,000,000 per annum.
Notwithstanding foreign competition, possibly because of that stimulus, improvements were constantly being made in
methods and machinery. The agitator now used on paper machines, consisting of a semi-cylindrical cradle vibrating so
as to prevent the fibers from being arranged parallel one to another, the result of which would be to make the paper
weaker in one direction than in the other, was patented by Reuben Fairchild of Trumbull, Connecticut, in 1829. In the
following year Thomas Gilpin of Philadelphia invented what are called calendars," for giving the polished surface to
paper. These are described later, in Chapter V. True cylinders were first made in this same year by an inventor in
England. The result was gained by grinding the rollers together while a stream of water flowed over them, this
operation requiring many weeks. Through these various inventions and improvements, and through the introduction
of machinery from Europe, by means of which the coarsest of rags and other materials were cleaned, bleached, and
purified, Iii and increased three hundred per cent in value, a decided impetus was imparted to the manufacture.
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