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We Knew Paper Was Cool Before Dunder-Mifflin

As you are probably aware, our team at Woodland is passionate about paper! In fact, we knew it was cool before Dunder-Mifflin did (any “The Office” fans out there?). As our clients, we know you care about paper as much as we do. So, we decided to catch you up on the most interesting facts about paper, so you can baffle your friends at the office with facts that’ll blow them away.

A Brief History Of Paper

Even though the Egyptians initially mastered the art of papyrus making at about 3000 A.D., paper as we know it today was first created almost two thousand years ago in China. Chinese inventors were investigating how fiber-rich natural materials reacted under heat and pressure. The result, among other discoveries, was our most important resource in today’s world: paper.

An inventor by the name Tsai-Lun devised a process in which he could press together wood pulp and old clothes under the right amount of heat in a water bath, enough to loosen the fibers without breaking them down. He would then compress the two ingredients together in such a way that left a thin sheet of material, which after drying, became paper. This process was expensive and slow, and as a result, paper was only used by the government or the upper class.

Tsai-Luns’ discovery started to spread globally. By the 11th century, paper manufacturing made its debut in Europe. The process was refined again and again until the early 19th century when the French Fourdrinier machine revolutionized the industry, allowing a large continuous piece of paper to be pressed and cut to size at a much faster pace. The simple techniques used in the Fourdrinier machine are still largely used in the modern paper industry, enabling us to go about our day to day lives.

Paper Facts

  1. The English word for paper was derived from the word ‘Papyrus’. It was originally an ancient Greek word after the cyperus papyrus plant used by Mediterranean societies long before the invention of paper by the Chinese.
  2. You use almost 700 pounds of paper a year. Americans collectively use more than 90 million tons of paper and paper board per annum, which averages out to 700 pounds of paper per year, per person. Every year, more than 2 billion books are produced in the United States each year.
  3. You’d be pleasantly surprised to discover just how much paper can be produced by one pine tree. Incredibly, just one pine tree can produce approximately 80,000 sheets of paper – that’s nearly 200 novels!
  4. Benjamin Franklin, our founding father was the first American paper merchant. Sounds strange doesn’t it? Arguably the most famous political figure in our history had humble beginnings as a paper merchant. He helped set up 18 paper mills in and around Virginia before starting his own printing press!
  5. The U.S.A’s paper industry employs about 950,000 people. The industry produces an astonishing 78 million tons of paper annually with a value of nearly two hundred billion dollars! It is one of the largest employers in the manufacturing sector in 45 states.
  6. It’s not all made from wood. As you’ve already read, Cai Luns original paper recipe made use of cloth and other materials in production. Even today, materials are often combined or substituted. One of the best examples is the money in your wallet – did you know that it’s not paper, but made from cotton fibers for more durability? And other materials like hemp makes excellent paper!
  7. The largest sheet of handmade paper was made in Paraguay, 2015. College students in Ypacarai handmade a sheet of paper that stretched 14.95 by 10 meters. That’s almost as large as four school buses parked next to each other!
  8. The worlds best paper airplane. We’ve all made them before, but never as well as John Collins. His design was thrown by the American-Lebanese quarterback Joe Ayoob to reach an incredulous distance of 69.14 meters in 2012!
  9. Almost 40% of US paper pulp comes from recycled paper. This is a promising amount of recycled materials, which reduces the rate of deforestation across America. In the United States, paper recovery for recycling is at a record recovery rate of 67% as of 2017, almost double of what it was in 1990.
  10. More than 50% of United States forests are owned privately. These are usually passed down generations and provide 90% of Americas raw materials for the industry.

Well, there you have it! We hope you enjoyed the article and that you’ll share it with family, friends and colleagues. Now go out there and be the Dunder-Mifflin ambassador every workplace needs!