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
Water Marks and Varieties of Paper Part 1
Though the water-mark in a sheet of paper may at first thought
seem a comparatively unimportant detail, the story of water-
marks and the part they have played in momentous transactions
would easily furnish material for a volume. Especially is this true of
the early water-marks, with which there is connected much
interesting history. They have even become important witnesses
in the courts of justice, where their silent but eloquent testimony
has brought confusion to seemingly clever criminals. The proof of
the time when a water-mark was introduced has been the means
of fixing the crime of forgery, where the forger, in order to reach
the end sought through the forged document, dated the same
back, and unconsciously used a paper bearing a water-mark of a
later date. As the early watermarks have suggested the names of
many varieties of paper, the two subjects are fittingly coupled.
It is not known exactly how long a history the water-mark has;
the first evidence of one, in the form of a ram's horn, is said to
have been found in a book of accounts in 1330. Simple designs of
common objects, such as a pot, urn, or jug, were popular forms of
the water-mark in early days. Mention has already been made of
Henry VIII and the curious method he adopted of showing his contempt for the Pope, by having his paper marked
with a hog wearing a miter. Then followed the coat-of-arms of the king, and when Charles I was driven from the
throne and beheaded, the “fool's cap" and bells was in derision substituted for the royal arms, followed later by the
figure of Britannia. Changing water-marks in those days meant stirring history. “Pot" paper had a tankard for its
watermark, and the “fool's cap" gave its name to a larger sized paper, which has borne the name to the present day.
“Post" was the old size made for letters, and bore a “post-horn" as its watermark, the name being preserved to-day
in the United States by “folio-post." “Crown" paper, as its name suggests, bore the water-mark of a crown.
In recent years, water-marks have been used as a means of designating the manufacturer, rather than for the
purpose of distinguishing the paper itself. The crane, for instance, appropriately designates the paper made by the
Cranes, a family whose name has been long and prominently associated with the industry in this country.
The many and divers uses to which the paper P product can be put have opened up a practically unlimited field to the
originality and genius of the paper manufacturer, who has learned to so manipulate his raw materials as to permit of
the finished product's being substituted for iron, lumber, cloth, etc., and in many cases it better serves the desired
As has already been stated, paper, considered in reference to its general quality and the method of manufacture, falls
into three main divisions, viz., writing, print, and wrapping papers, but these divisions give only an inadequate idea of
the many varieties. The most of these are obtained by the varying manipulations of paper already complete in one or
another of the three forms. The various kinds of boards furnish an interesting example of one of the most
comprehensive classes of paper. Bristol board, so named from the place where it was first manufactured, cardboard,
board, binder's board, trunk board, and the like, all hold very prominent positions in this, one of the most
important of industries. The heavier of these boards are made by combining as many sheets of paper as are
necessary to give the desired thickness, and then by using paste or applying hydraulic pressure, consolidating them.
The number of sheets used is indicated by the word “ply," used as a suffix, as two-ply, three-ply, four-ply, and so on.
Like other articles of the commercial world, papers take their names from varying circumstances, and there is a large
class whose designations have been derived from the materials or processes employed in their manufacture, as well
as from the purposes for which they are to be used.
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Water Marks and Varieties of Paper Part 2 >>
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