When writing a letter to a family member or a friend, it would be nice to use quality stationary. However, it is not necessary.
For some kinds of correspondence, real stationery writing paper is only appropriate. For example, if you’re writing a sympathy note, a love letter, a thank you card, or a congratulation letter. Using quality stationary you will be able to add a weight of sincerity to your words.
Quality stationary makes writing a real pleasure and creates a particular impression on those who receive your letters. Stationery paper of high-quality is an artistic luxury. It is still made in small batches by mostly craftsman in their studios. You need to know a lot when choosing what kind of paper to purchase. Below you will find a guide on how to choose the stationary. But before let’s discuss the history of paper in general.
What is paper?
Paper is a fibrous material with mineral additives. It is presented in the form of sheets for writing, drawing, packaging, and other things. It is obtained from cellulose: plants, as well as recyclables (rags and waste paper).
History of paper
The technology of making paper-like materials such as papyrus, birch bark, parchment, and others was known to mankind long before the first description of the production of classical paper appeared.
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Prior to Cai Lun, paper-like material from bamboo, hemp, and even earlier – from silk, which was made from defective cocoons of silkworm, was made in China. Ancient Hindus discovered the natural process of forming a sheet of paper-like material in a puddle of water after rain from the waste of vital activity of large herbivores, for example, elephants. Factories producing such paper exist in India and Thailand even today.
Bamboo was heavy, and silk was expensive. The paper made of such fibers easily got wet and was fragile. Cai Lun was appointed minister-adviser and was instructed to come up with a cheaper and more technologically advanced manufacturing method. The search led him to the wasps. The thin, but sturdy material from which the wasps’ nests were made, was most suited to what he was looking for.
The material for construction was dead wood and vegetable fibers, which wasps collect everywhere, for example, from logs, fences, telegraph poles, and wooden building materials. This is a cellulose-rich raw material was thoroughly chewed by insects and moistened with adhesive, protein-rich saliva. The saliva of the wasps, in addition to wetting, imparts water-repellent properties to the fiber (protein collagen scaling, (also possibly either wax (pollen), or starch (digested foliage) or their mixture in saliva of wasps). Then the softened fibrous mass, drying out, turns into a light, bright, and strong enough paper.
Cai Lun pounded the fiber and after hundreds of experiments, came to the conclusion that something like this can be made from the bark of mulberries, hemp lent, torn fishing nets and worn fabrics, as well as mulberry fiber and wood ash. He mixed all of these with water and the resulting mass was laid out on a mold (a wooden frame and a bamboo sieve). After drying in the sun, he smoothed this mass with stones. As a result, strong sheets of paper were obtained.
Classic paper, with a sizing in the mass, was created by Cai Lun in 105 AD.
After the invention of Cai Lun, the paper production process began to improve rapidly. Starch, glue, natural dyes, etc. were added to increase the strength of paper.
At the beginning of the 7th century, the method of making paper became known in Korea and Japan. And after 150 years through the prisoners of war it reached Arabs.
In the 6th–8th centuries, paper production was carried out in Central Asia, Korea, Japan, and other countries of Asia. In the 11th–12th centuries, paper appeared in Europe, where it soon replaced animal parchment. Since the 15th–16th centuries, in connection with the introduction of printing, the production of paper was growing rapidly. The paper was made very primitively – by hand grinding the mass with wooden hammers in a mortar and scooping out forms with a mesh bottom.
Of great importance for the development of paper production was the invention of the grinding apparatus – roll in the second half of the 17th century. At the end of the 18th century, rolls already allowed to produce a large amount of pulp but manual ebb (scoop) of paper delayed the production growth.
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In 1799, Louis-Nicolas Robert (France) invented a paper machine, mechanizing the ebb of paper by applying an infinitely moving grid. In England, the brothers Fourdrinier, having bought Robert’s patent, continued to work on the mechanization of the ebb and in 1806 patented a paper machine. By the middle of the 19th century, the paper machine turned into a complex machine, working continuously and to a large extent automatically. In the twentieth century, paper production was becoming a highly mechanized industry with a continuous-flow process scheme, powerful heat-electric stations, and complex chemical shops for the production of fibrous semi-finished products.
The paper is used for the following:
- Writing and printing (books, magazines, newspapers, notebooks, etc.)
- Finishing material (wallpaper)
- Crafting material (origami, papier-mâché, applique, etc.)
- Packing material (candy wrappers, bags, boxes, etc.)
- Cleaning material (towels, napkins, handkerchiefs, toilet paper, etc.)
- Fibrous filter material (filter paper)
- Insulator in the production of capacitors
- Production of money
- Substrate for the application of chemical reagents (photo paper, indicator paper, sandpaper, etc.)
Paper for printing is used in the following:
- Offset paper
- Coated paper
- Uncoated paper
- Stationery writing paper
In the production of books, special printing paper is used.
Depending on the smoothness, the paper can be matte (slightly smooth), glazed (somewhat smoother), and coated (smoother). For various printing methods, the following types of paper exist:
- Typographical – for high printing
- Offset – for offset printing
- Typhoid – for gravure printing
Also, the area of paper use depends on the whiteness. Paper with a high whiteness ratio can be used for ads, posters, advertising brochures, booklets, etc. – paper with not a lot of text but where high contrast is needed.
For methodical publications, reference books, specialized journals, children’s textbooks, children’s books, etc., gray-yellow paper with a low coefficient of whiteness is used. This allows you to read large arrays of text with the least damage to the eyes.
Paper for finishing materials
Paper for finishing materials is used for the following:
Wallpaper is polymer finishing material. It is used for gluing internal walls, and sometimes also ceilings in dry rooms. Usually it is issued in the form of rolls. Wallpaper was invented in 1892, and has long been traditionally used in East Asia. Later, the tradition to use wallpaper as a decorative finish, incidentally closing the pores and cracks in the walls, migrated to the countries of Europe.
Vinyl or washable wallpaper is a wall covering consisting of two layers: the lower one (the base necessary for gluing), usually made of nonwoven or paper, and the top layer decorated with embossing or illustrations, capable of resisting mechanical influences and impurities, made of polyvinyl chloride. Such wallpaper persistently tolerates regular wet cleaning using detergents. Antifungal components are usually added to the vinyl wallpaper for greater resistance to fungus.
Drywall is a three-layer construction finishing material consisting of a core (a layer of hardened gypsum dough with fillers) between two layers of building paper (cardboard). Drywall was invented by Augustine Sackett, the owner of the paper factory, in the 19th century in America. The search for new markets for the use of paper led to the invention of a building board, a thickness of 15 mm.
Paper products include:
Origami is a kind of decorative and applied art, ancient art of folding figures from paper. The origami art originates in ancient China, where paper was invented. Initially, origami was used in religious rituals. For a long time, this kind of art was available only to representatives of the upper classes, where a sign of good tone was the possession of the technique of folding paper. Only after the Second World War origami went beyond the East and got to America and Europe, where immediately found its fans. Classic origami consists of one square, evenly colored sheet of paper without glue and scissors. Modern forms of arts and crafts often neglect this canon.
In Japan, a type of paper called washi is used as a material for origami. It is stiffer than ordinary paper made from wood pulp, and is used in many traditional arts. Washi is usually made from the bark fibers of Edgeworthia papyrifera, but can also be made from bamboo, hemp, rice, and wheat. There is also a special paper for origami, often called kami, which is sold in the form of squares, whose sizes on the side vary. Usually one side of such paper is white, and the other side is colored, but there are also two-colored varieties and options with ornament. Paper for origami is slightly lighter than a stationary paper, which makes it suitable for a wide class of figures.
Papier-mâché is an easily moldable mass obtained from a mixture of fibrous materials (paper, cardboard) with adhesives, starch, gypsum, and so on. Papier-mâché is used to make dummies, masks, teaching aids, toys, theatrical props, and caskets. Craftsmen, who have certain skills and experience, are able to use papier-mâché to make furniture and lanterns.
Applique is cutting and pasting (embroidering) figures, patterns, or whole pictures of pieces of paper, cloth, leather, plant, and other materials on the base material (background). As a rule, cardboard, thick paper, and wood serve as the base material. The applique is connected with cognitive activity and has a huge influence on the development of children’s mental and creative abilities.
Since quality stationary is the foundation of your letter writing arsenal, investing in high-quality monogrammed or personalized paper, cards, and envelopes is a good decision. It is recommended to choose stationary paper with classic and simple style. Having several sets of the following kinds of paper will make you prepared for the writing of any kind of letter.
Social sheets are good for shorter notes. You need to fold them in half and put them in an envelope. You may add only your name or address along with a coat of arms at the top of the sheet. However, they can also be used for longer messages too. The first page can be decorated with the design or monogram while extra sheets should be plain. Don’t write on the back of these sheets.
Correspondence cards are flat, simple, heavyweight, and usually 4x6 in size. They are perfect for sending shorter notes frequently. Correspondence cards usually have a colored border.
Monarch sheets are usually of 7x10 size and are applied for longer correspondences. You can decorate them the same way as social sheets. When buying and decorating monarch sheets, order blank sheets as well for letters that go beyond the first page.
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