Paper is something that many of us use on a daily basis and have been familiar with our entire lives. Paper, in our society, is disposable and considered invaluable. With the push to recycle and conserve and the emergence of the digital age, paper is being used less and less. Though today paper is a common item that most have access to, there was a time when it wasn’t as readily available. As we think about TerraSlate’s menu printing, let’s first consider a brief history of this precious commodity, for without it, our lives would be very different.

History of Paper: Beginnings

The Beginning

The first forms of paper originated in Egypt and the Mediterranean area in the form of papyrus and amate in the pre-Columbian Americas. Papyrus was made from the papyrus plant, of which the name for paper originated: this paper like material was thick and rough. Amate was made out of bark.

The Invention of Paper Making

The beginning of paper making began in China before 200 BC to the Imperial Court Cai Lun during the Han Dynasty, inspired by the wings of wasps and bees. This early version of paper was made from mulberry, other fibrous substances, fishnets, and used cloth. Paper was the solution to the problem of needing a lightweight recording medium that was inexpensive: Originally important documents were written on bone and bamboo, and then silk when they found the bone and bamboo too heavy to transport. But the silk was too expensive. Paper making techniques continued to improve and printing became popular in the Song dynasty, which was a period of time that began in 960.

A Material of Many Uses

Not only was paper used for documentation, but also for protecting mirrors and medicines. The invention of paper led to the first uses of toilet paper in China. Paper was also used for tea bags, paper cups, paper napkins, envelopes: China was the first to use paper money.

The Spread of Paper

With trade and war, brought the sharing of ideas and products. The Islamic world first came into contact with paper making from two Chinese prisoners after the Battle of Talas. Later paper production began in Baghdad. The Arabs of Baghdad developed a “mechanical” means of making paper, a more efficient means in contrast of the Chinese mortar and pestle method. As they perfected their paper making processes, paper was used regularly: With this, came the book and the process of bookmaking.

The use of paper continued to spread, being used in Europe and the process of paper making becoming a part of European life in 1085. Arab prisoners taught those in Italy the process of paper making, and the idea and use of paper spread and continued to improve to what we have today!

TerraSlate’s Menu Printing

We might not have invented paper way back when, but using TerraSlate waterproof paper in menu printing is almost revolutionary as you will clearly see the difference in the longevity of your menus and other paper materials that we can print for you! Check out our website for more information about our menu printing!