First There Was PapyrusPapyrus is made from the sliced sections of the flower stem of the papyrus plant, pressed together and dried, and then used from writing or drawing. Papyrus appeared in Egypt around 2400 B.C.
Then There Was PaperA courtier named Ts'ai-Lun, from Lei-yang in China, was the first recorded inventor of paper circa 105 A.D. Ts'ai-Lun presented paper and a papermaking process to the Chinese Emperor and that was noted in the imperial court records. There may have been papermaking in China earlier than the above date, but inventor Ts'ai-Lun did much for the spread of papermaking technology in China.
Chinese PapermakingThe ancient Chinese first made paper in the following fashion.
- Plant fibers such as hemp were soaked and beaten into a sludge
- The sludge was strained through a cloth sieve attached to a frame that also served as a drying platform for the resulting paper
NewsprintCharles Fenerty of Halifax made the first paper from wood pulp (newsprint) in 1838. Charles Fenerty was helping a local paper mill maintain an adequate supply of rags to make paper, when he succeeded in making paper from wood pulp. He neglected to patent his invention and others did patent papermaking processes based on wood fiber.
Corrugated Papermaking - CardboardIn 1856, Englishmen, Healey and Allen, received a patent for the first corrugated or pleated paper. The paper was used to line men's tall hats.
American, Robert Gair promptly invented the corrugated cardboard box in 1870. These were pre-cut flat pieces manufactured in bulk that opened up and folded into boxes.
On December 20, 1871, Albert Jones of New York NY, patented a stronger corrugated paper (cardboard) used as a shipping material for bottles and glass lanterns.
In 1874, G. Smyth built the first single sided corrugated board-making machine. Also in 1874, Oliver Long improved upon the Jones patent and invented a lined corrugated cardboard.
Paper BagsThe first recorded historical reference to grocery paper bags was made in 1630. The use of paper sacks only really started to take off during the Industrial Revolution: between 1700 and 1800.
Margaret Knight (1838-1914) was an employee in a paper bag factory when she invented a new machine part to make square bottoms for paper bags. Paper bags had been more like envelopes before. Knight can be considered the mother of the grocery bag, she founded the Eastern Paper Bag Company in 1870.
On February 20, 1872, Luther Crowell also patented a machine that manufactured paper bags.
Paper PlatesPaper foodservice disposables products were first made at the beginning of the 20th century. The paper plate was the first single-use foodservice product invented in 1904.