A Little History on the Pulp and Paper Industry
Although there is a movement to reduce our reliance on paper, paper products continue to be quite prolific around the world. Paper has unequivocally become quite the staple in communities all over the world, and for quite some time. From books to newspapers, pulp and paper have long been crucial to society, but they are actually more important to more industries than you probably realize.
An Early History of Pulp and Paper
Evidence suggests that pulp and paper (derivatives) were originally invented in China, by Ts’ai Lun, in 105 AD. To make these first pulp and paper products, Ts’ai Lun used fibers from a mulberry tree. As a new form of technology, this type of paper did not really spread all that quickly. In fact, it took another 2,000 years before it escaped Asia and made its way to other continents.
It is interesting to note that it was a group of Arabs who created the first paper mill in 795 AD. Sure enough, it was not until the middle of the 15th century that the first printing press was invented by Johannes Gutenberg. This is when paper became an integral staple of life in Europe.
The Middle History of Pulp and Paper
Although the printing press significantly changed the way Europeans thought about and used pulp and paper, it would take another 400 years before anyone would develop new technology to move this industry forward. It was Nicolas-Louis Robert—early in the 19th century—who invented a machine with a moving belt that would facilitate manufacturers to produce paper in a long, continuous sheet. The advent of this machine quickly led to more pulp and paper producers investigating other methods and materials, including the use of wood fiber to make paper only a few decades later.
Pulp and Paper Today
Today’s pulp and paper industry provides jobs for:
- Mechanical engineers
- Production managers
- Machine operators
- DCM Group industrial maintenance workers
- Chemical engineers
- Electrical engineers
A Few Stats on Pulp and Paper
The American Forest and Paper Association dictates that the private, working forest in the US forest and paper products industry supports approximately 2.5 million jobs. The industry generates nearly $235 billion in sales every year. In addition, US pulp and paper mills employ more than 100,000 people.