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
The Paper Business in the US Part 3
On account of its large production of the higher grades of writing,
book, and ledger papers, Massachusetts leads in the value of the
output; if our estimates are correct, the value of the paper of all
varieties manufactured in the state was about $25,000,000 for
the year 1900, or one-sixth of the entire estimated product. New
York follows with an almost equal amount in the value of the
product, while Maine, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania will show
about $10,000,000 each, the five states thus making, in value,
over one-half of the paper manufactured in the country. In
considering these figures it must be taken into account that by
increasing the width of the webs and the rate of speed at which
the paper passes over the machine, the possible output has in
many plants been more than quadrupled during the past ten
years, which in part explains the doubling of the value of the
output since 1890, during which year, according to the
government census, the output amounted in value to
$74,308,388.
The number of paper-making establishments is placed at 762,
operating 1,070 mills, and the value of the plants is
$107,759,974; 52,391 persons find employment in the industry, and are paid wages aggregating $23,575,950, while
the value of the material used reaches $78,067,882. During the decade between 1880and 1890 the number of paper
plants proper had decreased from 692 to 567,125 in all, or eighteen percent. In 1880 the average number of
employees to each factory was thirty-five, with an average yearly output from each plant of $79,639. During the ten
years that followed, the average number of employees in a factory rose to 53, and the average yearly output from
each plant to $131,056. With a decrease of 125 mills during that period, there must have been an increase of 5,831
employees and of $19,198,564 in the value of the output.


While the stately array of figures already marshaled is an impressive reminder of the wonderful development of the
paper industry, which we accept unthinkingly as one of the benefits of a marvelous century, mere numerals can never
tell the whole story. They must be forever silent as to the aims and purposes, the patient efforts, the determination
and perseverance, the alternation of defeat and triumph which are embodied in the perfected product of to-day. It is
not for them to chronicle the crude beginnings of the industry in the days of the dim and far-away past, nor to trace
the slow steps by which it has advanced to its present commanding position. As our earlier chapters recount, its most
marvelous strides forward have occurred during the hundred years just past.


The century that has marked such material progress in the production of paper has been preeminently one of vast
intellectual and industrial activity and advancement, and it is a fair statement that paper has not only contributed
largely to the general progression that has taken place, but through it as a medium standards have been reached
that must have remained unknown were it not for its efficient service. Through man's inventive genius the utility of this
valuable product has been increased a hundred-fold, and its wider use has been the means of broadening and
extending other manufactures. I t has aided invention, and is the medium through which new discoveries, theories,
and conclusions have been proclaimed. It is the handmaid of literature and music, and through its fostering agency the
highest culture is to-day placed within the possible reach of the masses. Formerly, any considerable degree of learning
was confined to the favored few - they were the "wise men" and the "magi"; those who could read even the simplest
forms of language were the decided exception, and works to be read were rare, and confined to the libraries of the
great cities. To-day, through the abundance and cheapness of publications, all men may hold close communion with
the minds of leading thinkers past and present, and the melodies of the great masters are brought within the hearing
of all. In art it has served as noble a purpose as in literature and music. The fineness and delicacy of surface, attained
through modern processes, make possible the half-tone and other facsimile reproductions, which cultivate an
appreciation of the beautiful and carry into even the humblest of homes the refining influences of great works of art;
reproductions used in illustration also elucidate and render great assistance to the correct interpretation of scientific
and other publications.
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