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The History Of Papermaking As A Stationery Essential

by Maria Haider 22 Dec 2021

We use stationery as a quintessential in our daily life in schools , offices, businesses and industry. We utilize it as consumers, students, teachers, artists, writers, shopkeepers, working class officials and others. The purpose of using stationery items varied from listing, scribbling, record keeping, writing notes, contracts, receipts, poetry, ideas or drafting and drawing thoughts and emotions in the form of fine arts. Hence stationery exists in our lives silently but effectively as a tool of documentation, communication and self expression. Since stationery is so readily available in our lives that we usually take it for granted without giving a thought about how it is developed and what role it plays in human civilization and educational evolution. 


If we are to simplify and understand the work cycle of using stationery, it looks like this; A thought/idea in mind needs a surface/paper to write on with a writing tool that is pencil, pen etc. In this article we will explore the origin and evolution of paper making through history and how it is one of the most important inventions that impacted human development over the course of time.

By Wikipedia, I quote the various uses of paper in our lives;

Let trace the paper making by visiting the origin and roots in the history.

Paper History

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History Of Paper Invention And Production

Before the invention of paper as we know today, different civilizations used other mediums to write and communicate. Over centuries the clay tablets used as a surface for writing along with the skin and bones of animals eventually use papyrus leaves weaved together to make a sheet or a wax surface to scrape and write. All these surfaces have their advantages and disadvantages. The clay tablets are too heavy and not easily portable. Animal skins and bones are dependent on the slaughtering or death of the animal and at least two hundred skins are required to compile a medium size of book. Papyrus leaves sheets are labour intensive to produce and do not give a smooth parchment to write on. Disposable nature of wax was a negative point as a dependent surface to draw and write.

History of Paper

In the midst of these challenges, an Imperial Court member, Cai Lun of the Han Dynasty, invented the paper around 105 C.E. in China. He uses rags, bark, wheat stock and other materials to perfect a desired form of paper. It was economical, light in weight, easy to transport and smooth to write on surface sheet after experimenting with different materials. The Chinese like to keep their inventions secret but in the beginning of 3rd century paper making spread to Korea and then to Japan through the Buddish Monks. After Muslims conquered Central Asia in the late seventh century, they began to use paper for record-keeping because it was relatively cheap, plentiful, and writing on it could not be erased without detection. Paper reaches Europe in the 12th century and America by 16th century and from there it spreads in the rest of the world.

Early paper

Also Read: Importance Of Corporate Stationery Designing

Final Words

Sometimes it is fascinating to know about the origin and the process of evolution of the most regular things that we use in our daily lives. Paper is one of those regular stationery items that we use everyday without paying much attention. This article is a brief tour about who invented the paper and how it spread in the world during the course of time. Happy reading. 

Image Source: Shutterstock

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