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Dshade


Member

Posted Tue Nov 15th, 2011 12:32am Post subject: What is Paper?

Oh dear Stephen, sorry but you have got it wrong again! Where did you and your elves get the idea that “paper money” is not made from paper? Poor Alan was deducted points in the last series for correctly answering that £5 notes were made from paper. You said they were made from cotton and linen.
Then on QI XL (12th Nov) last week you again said that banknotes were not made from paper, they are made from linen, and that paper is made from trees. Well, yes, most paper is, BUT, paper has been, is, and can be, made from any plant material.
For about 1800 years, (good old Ts`ai Lun China c105 AD no doubt turning in his grave), cotton, linen, mulberry bark and leaves and many other fibres were tried and widely used. Cotton was/is particularly good for making paper because it is pure cellulose, has long fibre length and fibrillates well when beaten. Its disadvantage was/is its cost and limited supply for the paper industry.
As wood pulp was first used around 1838/1843 and chemical wood pulp c1851., what were they making all that time?
Stephen, if paper is something that is only made from trees, are you saying that for 1800 years there was no paper? (What did Guttenberg -great program by you about him- print his books on?) If paper is only made from trees, then there is the strangest and most unique event in history, where something was invented, i.e. the paper machine in 1798 , to make a product 40 years before that product, paper, was invented.
The furnish used for making English banknotes is a mixture of cotton and linen fibres, plus about 10% wood pulp. The exact furnish is secret. The paper for the banknotes, here and in the U.S.A., are made on a paper machine, by papermakers, in a paper mill - at least that’s what my fellow papermakers think. (Can I call them papermakers anymore?)
Then there are the papermakers (?) world wide who make paper(?) from esparto grass, straw, bagasse (sugar cane waste) etc.
Please tell me that you and your team on QI have made a booby, otherwise I will have to return my City and Guilds certificates back to the C & G Institute, i.e. my C & G Paper Technology Final 1st Class - C & G Papermaking Practice Final, with Distinction - and my papermaking apprenticeship indentures.
Thank goodness I am now a retired Papermaker so I can’t be done under the Trades Description Act.
Nevertheless I will still be an ardent fan of Steven, and of QI.
Dshade.


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Nitro


Member

Posted Tue Jan 17th, 2012 5:56am Post subject: What is Paper?

I've never met anyone who knew so much about what paper is. Is this a hobby of yours, a professional aspect of your life, or are you a wiki addict?

Really? Wow.

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Dshade


Member

Posted Sun Feb 5th, 2012 9:16pm Post subject: What is Paper?

Nitro said:
I've never met anyone who knew so much about what paper is. Is this a hobby of yours, a professional aspect of your life, or are you a wiki addict?

I was a papermaker for 45 years. I have written to Stephen and to the elves but they have not replied. Stephen repeated the same error on another QI and compounded it by saying "paper is made from wood". True, but he should have added that word "most" at the start of the sentence.
I can`t remember the exact year, 1854 I think, The Times newspaper offered a reward of £1000 to anyone who could find an alternative material for paper other than cotton and linen. Wood pulp was not used until around 1880
Dshade


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