Parchment is a writing material made from animal skin, and it is prepared by a process called tanning. The process of making parchment involves several steps:
- Preparation: The skin is removed from the animal and soaked in water to soften it.
- Detailing: The hair is removed from the skin using a chemical solution or by scraping it off with a knife.
- Liming: The skin is treated with a solution of lime and water to remove any remaining flesh and fat.
- Bating: The skin is treated with a mixture of water and enzymes to further soften and remove impurities.
- Tanning: The skin is treated with tannins, which are chemicals that preserve the skin and give it a more flexible and durable quality.
- Drying: The skin is stretched on a frame and left to dry, then scraped and sanded to create a smooth, even surface.
- Finishing: The parchment is treated with oils or other chemicals to give it a final finish and protect it from damage.
Papermaking was introduced to Europe in the 12th century, when paper mills were established in Spain and Italy. The technology for making paper was brought to Europe from the Islamic world, which had acquired it from China during the 7th century AD.
The first paper mill in Europe is believed to have been established in the city of Xativa, in Spain, in the 1140s. The mill was founded by Moors, who had been producing paper in the Islamic world for several centuries. From Spain, the technology for making paper spread to Italy and other parts of Europe, and paper mills were established in several cities throughout the region.
Papermaking in Europe was a slow process at first, with paper being produced in small quantities and at high prices. However, as the demand for paper grew and production methods improved, paper became more widely available and affordable. By the 15th century, the paper was being mass-produced in Europe and was used for a wide range of purposes, including writing, printing, and art.
The word “paper” comes from the Latin word “papyrus,” which was the name of a type of paper made in ancient Egypt. Papyrus paper was made from the pith of the papyrus plant, a reed that grew along the Nile River. The pith was cut into thin strips and laid out in overlapping layers, then pressed and dried to create a smooth surface for writing.
The word “papyrus” was eventually adopted into English and other languages and came to refer to any type of paper, regardless of the material it was made from. Today, paper can be made from a variety of materials, including wood pulp, cotton, linen, and other plant fibers.
Modern paper is made from wood pulp, which is a fibrous material made by mechanically grinding wood down into a fine, pulpy mass. The wood pulp is mixed with water and other chemicals to create a slurry, which is then pressed and dried to create sheets of paper.
There are several steps involved in making paper from wood pulp:
- Logs are harvested from trees and transported to a paper mill.
- The logs are debarked and cut into small chips, which are then cooked in a chemical solution to break down the fibers and remove impurities.
- The pulp is washed and screened to remove any remaining impurities, then mixed with water to create a slurry.
- The slurry is poured onto a moving mesh screen, which drains off the excess water and leaves a thin layer of fibers on the screen.
- The fibers on the screen are pressed and dried to remove even more water, creating a sheet of paper.
- The paper is rolled onto large cylinders and allowed to dry completely, then cut into the desired size and shape.