Papermaking The Story of
Paper-Making
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 7
In the use of paper for wall-hangings, the artistic and practical
come together. From the earliest days when men made for
themselves permanent abodes, mural decoration of one form or
another has been known, and every branch of painting,
sculpture, and decorative art has been called into service. It is
not strange that paper, with its many adaptations and wonderful
possibilities, should, when it reached the proper stage of
development, find one of its principal uses in making beautiful the
walls of our homes. The eighteenth century was well advanced
when wallpapers came into use in Europe, but it is claimed that
they were used much earlier by the Chinese, who, with
characteristic ingenuity, have made clothing, handkerchiefs,
napkins, and a great variety of other useful articles out of paper.
The first patterns were very crude, but through the slow
processes of development and improvement a wonderful degree
of perfection has been attained. Beauty and taste in the
decorative art find their highest exponent in the "repped
morocco" and fine colored papers. Repped or corded papers are
those having raised designs, which are produced by passing the
web between rollers on which the ribs or other devices have been cut or engraved. The embossing of morocco and
other paper of raised design is done in the same way. The morocco and leather papers are imitations of the old
stamped leather hangings of earlier days, which were usually made of the skins of goats and calves, cut into
rectangular shape. These skins were stamped and embossed, having been first covered with silver-leaf and varnished
with a transparent yellow lacquer that gave to the silver the appearance of gold. The reliefs were painted by hand in
many bright colors. Leather wall-papers are treated in a similar manner, and are capable of being brought to any
desired degree of richness. The richer grades of flat-surfaced figured wall-papers are printed with wooden blocks,
upon which the designs are cut in relief, there being a block for each color. These blocks are applied by hand, after
having been dipped in an elastic cloth sieve charged with tempera pigments. Care is used to place each block on
exactly the right place, thus securing perfect register. In many cases the figures on the block are inlaid with copper,
especially in the thin outlines. In “block" and gold and silver printing the design is first printed in a strong size; the
finely cut wool of the required color, called “flock," or the metallic powder imitating gold or silver, is then sprinkled on
by hand all over the paper, and adheres closely to the size. Where the pattern is to stand out in relief, the process is
repeated until the desired results are obtained. The cheaper sorts of wall-papers, as well as some that are very rich,
are printed by machinery from the web, on rollers or cylinders carrying the designs, under which the paper passes.
Reference has been made to the process of coloring paper by mixing the colors in the engine, but wall-papers and
many others are surface tinted by being run through a color-vat. An iridescent or “rainbow" surface is given by
treating the paper with a wash containing sulphates of iron and of indigo, and then exposing quickly to ammoniacal
vapors.
Mother-of-pearl paper is produced by a some what similar process. Glazed paper is first floated on a solution of silver,
lead, or other metal, then, when dry, exposed to the vapors of sulphide of hydrogen, after which collodion is poured
over the surface, producing rich and fascinating color effects.
Marbled paper, used largely in binding, is prepared from a shallow bath of gum tragacanth, or goat's-horn, upon which
the workmen sprinkle from a flat brush the films of colors needed for the desired pattern. When the whole surface is
covered with bands and splashes of color, the workman takes a huge comb, which he draws with a wavy motion the
length of the tub. The practiced marbler will so lay the colors and manipulate the comb as to copy any desired pattern.
The marbling is done by deftly laying the smooth white paper on the bath for a moment, and then removing it, when
the .entire film of color comes with the sheet, so that a resprinkling of the bath is necessary. In marbling the edges of
the leaves of a book, the body of the book, without the covers, is so held that the edges may be quickly dipped into
the bath. In this case, of course, one covering of coloring matter will marble a number of volumes. Paper is also
colored, as has been noted, by passing the web through a coloring-bath.
The papers briefly described in this chapter have been classified largely according to the methods of manufacture or
chemical treatment, or to the purposes for which they were to be used. Another basis for classification is found in the
size. In the United States, the usual writing papers of commerce are divided, according to sizes, as follows:

Sizes of Writing Paper
Commercialnote................5x8
Letter...............................8x10
Flat cap...........................14x17
Crown cap………………........15x19
Demy……………………...........16x21
Folio post…………….......…..17x22
Double cap……………......…17x28
Medium……………….......…..18x23
Royal……………………..........19x24
Super royal…………......……20x28
Double demy………......……21x32
Double folio…………......…..22x34
Double medium……….......23x36
Imperial………………......…..23x31
Elephant……………......……23x28
Double royal…………....….24x38
Columbier…………….....….23x34
Atlas………………….........…26x33
Antiquarian…………...….. 31x53
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