« PreviousContinue »
means of producing paper of any size which can be required. By means of this admirable machine, a process which, in the old system of paper-making by hand, used to occupy three weeks, iš now performed in three minutes. Such is now the demand for paper, that, under the old system, if all the mills in the country had been papermills, they could not have supplied one-half of the demand for this article.
The paper-making machine is supplied from the reservoir into which the pulp descends from the beating engine, when the pulp is sufficiently ground, being kept in constant motion as it descends by means of the “ agitator,” in order that it may not settle. From this reservoir the pulp is again conveyed by a pipe into what is called the “lifter.” The trough, placed immediately beneath the endless wire, is for the purpose of receiving the water which oozes from the pulp during the process of manufacture. The pulp passes into the vat, where it is retained by means of a sieve, which is usually made of brass. Passing from this strainer, the pulp is next made to distribute itself equally throughout the entire width of the machine, and is afterwards allowed to flow over a small lip, or ledge, in a regular and even stream, where it is received by the upper surface of the endless wire, upon which the first process
of manufacture takes place. Thus, then, the manufacture of paper;—the pulp flowing from the reservoir into the lifter, and thence through the strainer, passes over to the continuous wire, being there partly made firm by the shaking motion-receiving any desired marks by means of the roller passing over the continuous felt; thence off to the drying cylinders, which are heated more or less by injected steam, the cylinder which receives the
first heated less than the second, and the second than the third, and so on; the
paper, after passing over those cylinders, being finally wound upon a reel; and if it is intended for printing purposes, it is at once taken to the cutting-machine, and divided into any length and breadth required. But supposing it to be intended for writing purposes, it has first to undergo a more effectual method of hardening or sizing. The size for this purpose is made from parings obtained from tanners, curriers, and parchment-makers, and is the same as in hand-made papers. Sizing in the pulp or in the engine is much better; but as gelatine or animal size, which is really essential for all good writing papers, cannot be used during the process of manufacture without injury to the felts, it becomes
paper after it has been dried by the cylinders through the apparatus.
In most cases the paper is at once guided, as it issues from the machine, through the tub of size, and carried over a number of drums heated by steam. The advantage of drying the
paper in this manner over so many of the drums is, that it turns out much harder and stronger than if dried more rapidly.
Now that the paper is finished, the next operation is that of cutting it into standard sizes. This is done by a cutting-machine—a most ingenious invention.
The rapidity with which paper can be made is quite astonishing. The
rags and tatters cast off as useless by the poorest of the poor, can, in less than twelve hours, be made into paper fit for the Queen to write on. Yet the
more slowly the paper is made, the stronger and better it usually is.
Printing paper is made much softer than writing paper. If it were as hard as writing paper, it would not take such a fine impression from the types, and it would wear down the types much sooner. Printing paper can be made much more quickly than writing paper. Many mills in Scotland turn out about two hundred pounds' worth a-day, or about sixty thousand pounds' worth in a year.
The quantity of paper made in this country is now enormous, and has increased of late years very much. In 1784, government received forty-seven thousand pounds sterling of duty. In 1815, it had increased to three hundred and sixteen thousand pounds. In 1830, it was six hundred thousand pounds. Soon after, the duty was reduced to a penny half-penny per pound, and yet, last year, no less a sum was paid to government than one hundred and fiftyseven thousand six hundred and thirty-seven pounds. In 1835, seventy-one millions of pounds of paper were made; in 1850, one hundred and forty-one millions; and last year one hundred and eighty-one millions! The education of the people has been advancing. They have now learned to read and write, and, therefore, must have something to read, and paper to write on. Besides, we have had important changes. The penny post has opened up correspondence even to the poorest of the people, and thirty letters are now written for one before. *
* “Paper and Paper-making,” by Mr Herring, supplied some of the material for this article.
PAPER FROM STRAW.
Take a peep at that old man and his wheelbarrow, as you hasten, by the “ near cut” through the lane, into the city, or as you ramble in summer along the country road. He is worth looking at for a moment. His one-wheeled conveyance has seen better days. A board has been taken out of one side of it. It was sheer necessity that drove him to this; for there was not a bit of coal, or peat, or other combustible, with which he could warm his room on that winter night, when he returned cold, and wet, and weary to his little lodging in the back court. His head is covered with something which had once been a hat, and his coat—but we need not describe the huckster at greater length; you have often seen him and his barrow in their travels after rags-old rags. The “march of intellect” has made the rag-man somebody. What hitherto has the paper-maker been able to do without him? Waiting at the area gate in the early morning, he beguiles threepence worth of “trash” from Nancy, and stuffs it, with much satisfaction and a word of Celtic wit, into his ragbag. Or finding his way into the dirty courts in towns, and among the villages in the country, he presents his small stock of earthenware to the wife of the working man, as barter for rags, and enables her to keep up a good appearance in crockery. But with all his gathering of rags—white, brown, and black-he has not been able to supply the paper-maker according to his demands. Newspapers increase—books multiply-men's public speeches
grow longer every year, and must be written first, and printed afterwards—(double waste, say some) and thus rags have been asked for, and asked in vain. The demand has shot ahead of the supply. Alas! for our friend with the wheelbarrow; if he be not more successful, he may find that soon the paper-maker will be able to do without him. “Necessity is the mother of Invention,” and now the mother looks for another child, and offers a large reward for the discovery of a material which shall supersede rags in the manufacture of paper. That we are on the way to a satisfactory solution of the difficulty, the following, copied from a Bristol newspaper, will shew :
“ Everything at Tovill smells of paper. The boys all wear paper caps, and the girls plait pretty bonnets of the cut edges of writing paper; while the public-houses are the Royal Papermaker,' the ‘Papermakers' Arms, and the Ream of Post.' Descending the hill, through the clean picturesque village street, and crossing a bridge over the little stream, a nameless tributary of the Medway, remarkable for its clearness, and therefore selected as a site for the papermakers, we arrive at a long white wooden building, with the everlasting tall chimney that indicates the presence of a manufactory or mill. By the by, the old English of the word mill was a place where something was ground—why do we now call every factory a mill ? Pondering on this knotty question, we open a door, and finding our obliging cicerone in the counting-house, are by him conducted into the machine-room, where endless rollers are turning out paper by the mile, at a rate of rather more than one mile per hour. We cannot help thinking, as we enter the building, that if chloride of