The Invention of Paper
Paper, which was invented by the Chinese, remains a very useful product to this day. Since the time of its origin, the history, and its uses have changed greatly. Although the basic principles of making paper remain the same, the process by which it is made has changed greatly. It spread slowly outside of China to other East Asian cultures. The reason for its slow spread was that even after seeing paper, the neighorboring cultures could not figure out how to make it themselves. Instruction in the manufacturing process was required, and the Chinese were reluctant to share their secrets on the basic formula for paper making.
In paper making, the process that China used in ancient times is different than the process used to make paper today. The primary difference between the original process and today is the use of machinery process. The first step in making paper today is putting logs into the machine to get rid of the bark. Once that happens, the logs are to be transferred to grinders, which will break the wood down into pulp by puncturing it between huge revolving slabs. The pulp is next transferred through a pounding and squeezing process called, appropriately enough beating. To finally turn it into paper, it must be fed or pumped into giant, automated machines. The Chinese had a technique in how to make paper. The ancient Chinese technique of paper making was to use suspension of plant waste in water, next wash and soak the plant, and then beat the plant to a pulp while using a wooden mallet. A paper mold or a sieve of woven cloth is stretched in a four-sided bamboo frame used to dip up the fiber slurry from the vat and hold it to dry.
The invention of printing is generally conceded to be one of the defining inventions for the advancement of civilization. Gutenberg's movable type printing press around about 1450 AD is often cited as the single greatest invention for world civilization. The invention of the...