We use them every day to print memos/reports, write love notes, or simply scribble irrelevant ramblings, yet only a few of us know where paper really came from. How did paper come about and who introduced them to us?
Papermaking was believed to be invented by the Chinese in 105A.D. It was introduced by an official of the Imperial Court named Ts'ai Lun. He took a bark of a mulberry tree, broke it into pieces, and pounded it until it became a sheet. From them on, paper become widely used in China.
From China, the art of papermaking reached Japan and Korea in 610A.D. Most of the paper then were made from Gampi and mulberry bark. Later on it was found out that adding rags hemp and old fish nets to the pulp improves the quality of paper. After that, paper making and use spread to the rest of the world through the Silk Road.
The Chinese kept the secret of paper making to themselves for a long time to gain monopoly of the trade. However, when the T’ang army was defeated by the Ottoman Turks in 751A.D, the Arabs discovered paper making and put up the first paper industry in 793A.D in Baghdad. The paper industry remained with the Arabs for a long time as well. It wasn’t until the early 10th century that the Egyptians learned about this craft. Later on, in 1100A.D, paper reached North Africa and in 1150A.D. it arrived in Spain. By the time 1453 came, Gutenberg was able to invent the printer press. In America, the first paper industry was built in 1690.