We have always taken paper, pens and pencil as a given part of our being. Imagining our life without these essentials would be impossible. But it was not always so. Cai Lun, a courtier in the Han Dynasty, is credited with the invention of paper. Before this, bamboo shoot plates, bone or silk, though rare, were used. But these methods were cumbersome or expensive, and hence not very popular. Cai Lun used mulberry branch pulp, rags and old fish nets to make the first paper and presented it to the king. After the Chinese lost the Battle of Talas, paper making was introduced to the Islamic world. The first paper mill was made in Samarkand. There are records of paper being made at Gilgit in Pakistan by the 6th century in Samarkand, which lies in modern-day Uzbekistan by 751; in Baghdad by 793; in Egypt by 900; and in Fes, Morocco, around 1100.
In Mesoamerican cultures, paper making had been used for art and writing since the 5th century BC. This was called amati and was produced by pounding the inner bark of trees. Paper making reached Europe as early as 1085 in Toledo and was firmly established in Xàtiva, Spain, by 1150. Arab prisoners who settled in a town called Borgo Saraceno introduced Fabriano artisans to the technique of making paper by hand. Paper remained an expensive commodity till the advent of steam driven paper mills. Friedrich Gottlob Keller and Cha revolutionized paper making and introduced the method we use today. Instead of rags, they used wood pulp and Charles Fenerty bleached the wood pulp to get the white colour of paper.
With the advent of modern paper making, a horde of stationery items was invented to aid writing and art. Dip quills were replaced by the more efficient fountain pens which had an inbuilt reservoir of ink and did not spill and make a mess. Graphite was discovered in Grey Knotts in England and was mistaken as the black coloured lead. Being delicate, this was wrapped with fabrics or thread to give it a more stable structure. The modern day pencils were first made by an Italian couple named Simonio and Lyndiana Bernacotti. Initially, lead pencil markings were removed by scratching out or rubbing crust-less bread over writing. Then English engineer, Edward Nairne discovered that a piece of rubber could also wipe out pencil markings. This process was stabilized after the discovery of vulcanization of rubber.
Today, we have access to more paper and stationery than we will probably use in our lifetime. These are no longer just important office supplies, but are an artist’s essentials, hobby materials or sometimes even collector’s items. They are made to novelty shapes and designs which cater to various sects of the people. Visit craftsvilla.com to discover the latest notepads, pen holders, globes, key holders for your daily needs. From handmade notepads to gift paper, Craftsvilla has it all. Newer alternatives like quilling paper are also popular online. Apart from the usual stationeries, you can also find exclusive items like craft design cutting scissors, coloured pencils and pens, a range of varied ink pens and more. Go online to find your perfect table accessories and start out on your literary or artistic expedition today.