- The ancients wrote on smooth stones.
- Parchment made fram skins of small animals.
- Paper made from wood and vegetable fibre.
- The enormous demand makes it a large industry.
Much of our knowledge of ancient times and people comes from writings or picture-drawings on the walls of caves and smooth rocks. The primitive man evidently developed early a taste for writing and drawing. Before the stage was reached of writing with the symbols or characters which we call the “Alphabet” they expressed themselves by a series of simple drawings which told a story. Some in Central Europe show the progress of a hunt, from the start to the killing of the hunted animal. This was done on a smooth rock with a pointed flint or a bronze tool.
The ancient Egyptians were possibly the first to prepare the skins of small animals with a smooth surface, and make a kind of pandehment which they called “Papyrus.” On this they, wrote with a stylus, or pen made of wood. Some of their rolls of parchment writings in the British museum are in an excellent state of perservation to the present day. There are also evidence of early writings on a prepared sheet like Parchment by the Incas and other South American tribes. But in time men learned how to make paper, find and coarse, from wood fibre, or other vegetable substances. The wood is reduced to à . paste or a pulp, and squeezed through rollers into thin even sheet. It varies in quality from the coarse brown paper which one uses to wrap up a parcel to the finest high-grade writing paper on which rich people have their address and other things stamped, and which is dignified by the names of “vellum” and “bord”.
A large departmental stores in London uses tons of wrapping paper every week for parcels, posted to customers or issue of the Daily Mail or the Express runs into several tons carried away by them. The amount of papers required for one Book of any standing require a better quality of paper than is used for newspapers. During the Second World War, there was an acute shortage of paper in India, and newspapers, as well as publishing firms, were in straits. Too much reliance had been placed on imports from Europe and Japan, and when those failed, the more production proved inadequate. Now in East Pakistan there are set up Karnafuli Paper Mill and Khulna Paper Mill. Most woods can be pulped and the fibres incorporated in paper but the bamboo is specially suitable. Any old rags or waste cloth can be pulled and made in a fresh paper, and waste or discarded paper can be submitted to the same process, and come out a fresh. There is in some places a regular house agency for weekly, even daily collection from big firms and from scholders of their waste paper. Paper is one of the commodities that our ancestors knew nothing about, and yet we can hardly conceive how we should get on without it. Fortunately a wide range of materials can now be used in manufacture, and the utilisation of many kinds of waste and expended commodities has been highly organised, otherwise the strain on the world’s timber would be excessive.