The Chinese, however, affirm that at the beginning of the Christian era they discovered the means of manufacturing paper from pulp. Before that invention they used to inscribe written characters on strips of bamboo, or sheets of metal, using a style or pen of iron for the purpose of marking the characters ; and before their art of paper-making had arrived at perfection, they wrote upon white silk or cotton with a bamboo pen, which was found more con venient than writing either on strips of bamboo or sheets of metal, as the silk or linen could be folded into a small compass.
Anciently, in China, bamboo leaves scorched before a flame were also used to write upon, and bamboos contribute largely to the manufacture of the finished article of the present day. In the times of the Ts'in and Ilan monarchs, coloured threads of silk were used to record events, and the Chinese written character in constant use still retains the radical for silk. In the reign of the Ilan emperor Ho-ti, the bark of certain trees came into use, being boiled to a pulp, along with silk, ' old fishing nets, and hemp fibres, to make a paper which came into general use. Then, as now, the materials employed varied greatly according to the locality. The use of printing blocks in China, in the 6th century after Christ, led to the extensive making of paper, in which the Chinese have ever since continued to excel. The delicacy of their best proof-paper, forming the original 'India-proof' of former days, the elegance, cheapness, and general use of their commonest stationery materials, are amongst the most satisfactory proofs of their civilisation. So early as the year 900 A.D., three kinds of paper were produced in Japan, viz. Ma-shi from hempen rag pulp; Ili-shi from the gam-pi (Wiekstrcemia canescens) and other plants ; and Ko-ku-shi made from Kozo (Broussonetia papyrifera), which is like that now in use in Japan, and it is also made there from the Edgeworthia papyrifera.
The manufacture of the Chinese extended tc the making of sheets of paper from old rags, silk, hemp, arlifeetton, and has been supposed to have been the source whence the Arabs obtained their knowledge of paper-making. The latter people undoubtedly introduced into Europe, in the earlier half of the 12th century, the art of making paper from cotton, and established a paper manufactory in Spain. In 1150, the paper of Native, an ancient city of Valencia, had become famous, and was exported to the east and west; and when some Christian labourers obtained the manage ment of the mills of Valencia and Toledo, the different processes of the manufacture were greatly improved. Cotton paper became general at the close of the 12th and beginning of the 13th centuries, but in the century it was almost entirely superseded by paper made of hempen and linen rags. The paper made of cotton was found
not to possess sufficient strength or solidity for many purposes; a very strong paper was there fore made of the above substances, not weakened by bleaching, according to the present mode, which, by removing the natural gum, impairs the ' strength of the vegetable fibre. Some of these old papers, from having been well sized with gelatine, are said to possess their original qualities even to this day. The manufacture of paper from linen rags became general in England, France, Italy, and Spain in the 14th century. The first German paper-mill was established at Nuremberg in 1390. English manuscripts on linen paper date as early as 1340. It was made in England A.D. 1250, and in the Bartoloirecus of Wynkyn de Worde (1496) it is stated that paper of a superior kind was made for that work by John Tate, jun., at his 'hills in Stevenage, Hertfordshire. In 1770, the manufacture of fine paper wasestablished at Maidstone, in Kent, by a celebrated maker, J, Whatinan, who had worked as a journeyman in some of the principal paper-mills on the Continent. Not long before this, wove moulds had been invented by Baskerville, to obviate the usual roughness of laid paper, and these, attracting attention in France, led to the improvements which characterized the vellum paper of that period. Holland, too, contributed its share to the advancement of this manufacture, by inventing cylinders with steel blades for tearing the rags, and thus facilitating their conversion into pulp, which by the old method of stamper; only, was a very slow and defective process. In 1799, the first attempt to produce paper in an endless web was made in France by a workman in the employ of M. Didot. The invention was brought to England by M. Didot in 1801, and made the sub ject of patents, which in 1801 were assigned to the Messrs. Fourdrinier. The invention was per fected at Tewin Water, in Hertfordshire, at a coat of £60,000. Their patent right was, however, invaded, and they lost a considerable sum of money due to them from the imperial treasury of Russia, though, to enforce his claim, Henry Four drinier, at the age of seventy-five, with his daughter, made a special journey to St. Peters burg. The Fourdriniers then petitioned the British Government, the revenue hating benefited half a million a-year by their inventions, when their claim was meanly recognised by a pull ' mentary vote of 17000 ; on which the paper makers resolved to purchase by subscription annuities for the surviving patentee and his two daughters ; but ere this was done the father died, in his eighty-ninth year, and his two surviving daughters received small pensions from the Crown.