Back to  How do you make Paper?

We asked Mark your question and here is the answer, on paper.

When I get a manufacturing question to answer I look to the Grant library for the Illustrated Encyclopedia of Invention, Growing up with Science. This set of books alone can answer a lot of the IO questions.

Lets see, Volume 11, OXYG to PLAN, yes, PAPER is in this volume.


The word "PAPER" comes from papyrus, a tall water reed plant that grows in marshes. Five thousand years ago the Egyptians built up layers of the plant, pressed them and dried them to form a writing surface. Now, we do not consider this true paper since it's just squashed plants but is the origin of the name paper.

Real paper was invented in China about two thousand years ago. Old rags, fishing nets a plant pieces were boiled together. This mess was then stirred and beaten and water was added to make a bigger mess called PULP. A wire sceen was used to pick up a thin layer of the pulp. The thin layer was pressed and dried and presto paper was made. In fact this is how we make paper today, but technology including machines and chemicals make the process easier, safer and efficient. This includes recyling old paper into new pulp and planting new trees. Since trees are a renewable resource and we can recycle old paper we can expect paper will be with us for a long time.




  1. ) logs are stripped of bark and made into pulp by mechanical or chemical means,

  2. ) waste or recycled paper is cleaned, pulped and mixed in,

  3. ) substances added for strength, thickness and colour,

  4. ) the pulp mixture now called stock is put into the paper machine,

  5. ) the stock is poured onto a moving wire mesh belt

  6. ) this makes the fibers stick together in the form of a web,

  7. ) a vacuum under the mesh belt draws out most of the water

  8. ) the fibers are then squeezed to remove more moisture and pressed together to increase strength.

  9. ) futhter pressure rolling completes the drying and the paper is wound to form a reel.


Detailled information on the steps of modern paper making can be found on pages 941 to 945 of Volume 11, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Invention- Growing Up with Science.

{picture from Compton's Encyclopedia)

Answer #% % filename A148.DOC page% % page 2 of% % numpages 2 % % date \@ "MMMM d, yyyy"November 18, 1997

RAngela (q.240), room 11, Sue Pottery

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