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The Industries of Scotland
Manufacture of Paper and Paper-Hangings


PAPER has come to play such an important part in the social, intellectual, and commercial relations of mankind, that even a temporary stoppage of the supply would amount to a calamity. It is almost the only article manufactured for which no convenient substitute could be obtained. Our woollens, linens, and cottons would stand substitute for each other; but what substance is there that would serve so many purposes as paper, or serve them so well? It is the vehicle of written thought between nations and individuals, and without it the art of printing could not have been made available, except in a costly, and consequently limited, way. Viewed in that light, it may be said that paper has contributed more to the advancement of the human race than any other material employed in the arts. As an article of manufacture and commerce, it occupies an important place, giving employment to many thousands of persons, and utilising materials which would otherwise be useless, or worse.

The history of paper, so far as it is known, is familiar to most people. Paper had its origin in Egypt, where the bark of the papyrus—a reed growing on the banks of the Nile—was formed into sheets for the priests to write upon. The thin slips of bark were arranged in transverse layers on a table, and subjected to pres-sure, under which the bark became cemented by its own gum. The "sheets" of papyrus formed in that way were flexible, and, before the invention of bookbinding, were usually made up in the form of rolls. It is not known when nor by whom the art of making paper from pulp was invented; but it is considered probable that the credit of the invention belongs to the Chinese, who, it is stated, were familiar with the art about the beginning of the Christian era. The first materials used were the barks of various trees, portions of bamboo stems, and cotton. In the seventh century the Arabians learned from the Chinese how to make paper of cotton. From China, the art was carried into Spain, and the Moors discovered that paper could be made of hemp and flax as well as of cotton. Spain communicated the art to France and Holland, and thence it reached Britain.

The first paper mill mentioned as existing in this country was erected in Hertfordshire by Mr John Tate, who is thus referred to in a book printed by Caxton, about the year 1490:—

"Which late hathe in England doo make thya paper thynne,
That now in our Englyssh thys booke is printed inne."

Royal patronage was conferred on Mr Tate for his enterprise, as appears from two entries in the Household Book of Henry VII. These are as follow:—"May 25, 1498—For a rewarde geven at the paper-mylne, 16s. 8d." "1499—Geven in rewarde to Tate of the mylne, 6s. 8d." In 1588 a German named Spielman established a paper mill at Dartford, for which he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth, who also granted him a license " for the sole gathering for ten years of all rags, &c., necessary for the making of such paper." Mr Tate's paper mill must by that time have stopped, else it is unlikely that a monopoly would be given to Spielman. The latter would appear to have carried on an extensive business, if a poet of the time who wrote the following lines did not exaggerate:—

"Six hundred men are set to work by him,
That else might starve or seek abroad their bread;
Who now live well, and go full brave and trim,
And who may boast they are with paper fed."

It is a matter of literary controversy to which of those mills Shakspeare makes Jack Cade allude when he accuses Lord Say of having, "contrary to the King, his crown, and dignity," built a paper mill.

During the fourteenth century the Germans carried the art of paper-making to great perfection; but, realising the value of retaining the trade in their own hands, they kept their processes secret.

Even so late as the sixteenth century the Dutch prohibited, under pain of death, the exportation of moulds for making paper. This secretiveness on the part of the people from whom it is supposed we acquired a knowledge of the art, tended to retard its progress in this country; and up till a comparatively recent period only the coarser kinds of paper were made. The first patent for paper-making in Britain was granted in 1665 to Mr Charles Hildeyerd, and was described as being for "the way and art of making blew paper used by sugar-bakers and others." The second was granted in 1675 to Mr Eustace Barneby, for "the art and skill of making all sorts of white paper for the use of writing and printing, being a new manufacture, and never practised in any way in any of our kingdoms or dominions." In 1680 Mr Nathaniel Bladen patented "an engine method and mill whereby hemp, flax, lynnen, cotton, cordage, silk, woollen, and all sorts of materials may be made into paper and paste-board." Five years later Mr John Briscoe claimed to have effected great improvements in the manufacture of paper, and took out a patent for "the true art and way for making English paper for writing, printing, and other uses, both as good and as serviceable in all respects, and especially as white, as any French or Dutch paper."

In Scotland the manufacture of paper was begun towards the close of the seventeenth century. On the 19th August 1695, a company was formed in Edinburgh "for manufacturing white writing and printing papers." The articles of the company are preserved in the British Museum, and are the earliest documents extant relating to paper-making in Scotland. When or on what scale the company began operations there are no means of ascertaining. In 1709 a paper mill was built at Valleyfield, Penicuik, by Mr Anderson, the Queen's printer in that year. This mill is still in operation, and by successive extensions has become one of the largest in the country. The trade made little progress for many years. In 1763 there were but three mills in the neighbourhood of Edinburgh, and the quantity of paper made was only 6400 reams a-year. Ten years later there were twelve mills in the district, some on a more extensive scale than any in Britain, and the production had risen to 100,000 reams. At that time a large quantity of printing paper was sent to London, from which city it used formerly to be brought. It is related of one of the earliest Scotch paper-makers that he found his trade to be so unremunerative that he tried to eke out a living by exhibiting an elephant. At present, according to the trade directory, there are in Scotland fifty-three firms engaged in the manufacture of paper, and these own or occupy fifty-seven mills, of which twenty-two are in

the county of Edinburgh—nine being on the North Esk, and a like number on the Water of Leith. The other Scotch mills are distributed over a dozen counties, Aberdeenshire and Lanarkshire ranking next to Edinburgh. The number of paper-making machines in use is eighty, each of which, at a moderate computation, is capable of turning out seven tons of paper a-week, so that the gross annual production will amount to about 30,000 tons. Nearly 10,000 persons are directly employed in the manufacture. Some of the Scotch firms enjoy a world-wide celebrity for the excellence of their productions, and it is an exceedingly creditable fact that one of them carried off the first prize for paper at the Paris Exhibition. A comparison of the Paper Trade Directory for the year 1860 with that for the present year, shows that while the number of mills in England and Ireland has been decreasing, there has been an increase in the number of mills in Scotland. There were 359 mills in England in 1860, and in 1868, 293; for Ireland the figures are 35 and 21 respectively, and for Scotland 54 and 57. This shows that a reduction of 19 per cent. has taken place in the number of English mills, of 40 per cent. in the number of Irish, while the Scotch have increased about 6 per cent.

No material has yet been discovered to supersede the use of linen and cotton rags in making the finer qualities of paper. Many attempts have been made to find other kinds of fibre that would be equally suitable; and the list of substances which have been subjected to a trial is an exceedingly curious one. Up till the year 1857 upwards of two hundred patents had been taken out in Britain for the protection of inventions of this kind, and they relate to about fifty varieties of fibre. The list includes asbestos, bean-stalks, clover, dung, gutta-percha, heather, moss, nettles, peat, sawdust, sea-weed, thistles, and tobacco-stalks. In the year 1772 a book was published at Regensburg, in which there were eighty- one specimens of paper made from as many different substances. The demand for paper has always threatened to exceed the supply of rags, and hence the desire to find a substitute or auxiliary. About fifteen years ago many experiments were made both in this country and on the Continent, with the view of discovering some material for making paper that would give more satisfactory results than any of the auxiliaries to rags previously introduced. In 1854 Mr Alexander Brown patented a mode of making paper from the "bracken" or fern plants of Scotland. About the same time a Prussian inventor produced some specimens of paper made from pine trees. In 1855 the proprietors of the "Times" newspaper offered a prize of L.1000 for the discovery of a new and readily available material, but the conditions attached to the prize were not such as to make it an object of popular desire by persons who were best able to make experiments. The competition resulted, however, in proving that paper of an inferior quality could be made from wood-shavings and bran. In 1856 Mr Edward Grantless, a marble-cutter of Glasgow, obtained a patent for making paper from stone. The material that has come nearest to answering the requirements of anything that could compete with rags is "esparto grass," a plant obtainable in great abundance on both the European and African shores of the Mediterranean. The capabilities of esparto were discovered to some extent in 1839, but the plant did not attract much attention until 1862. Mr Routledge, of the Enysham Paper Mills, near Oxford, had made some experiments with the fibre about the year 1856, and succeeded in discovering a more useful, effectual, and economical mode of treating it than any of those who preceded him in the re¬search. About ten years ago he began to make printing paper from esparto exclusively; but it was only when his productions were shown at the Exhibition of 1862 that the value of his discoveries was fully realised. The report of the jury on paper says:—"Judging from the specimens of paper exhibited by Mr Routledge, manufactured by him at his mills at Enysham, in Oxford, exclusively from esparto, as well as from the other specimens of paper manufactured at various other mills employing his process, in which esparto is used as a blend with the ordinary rag material, the results are very satisfactory, demonstrating that a new material has at length been brought into use, meeting this long-desired requirement both as regards quality and economy." Esparto now holds a permanent and important position in the trade. Used alone, or with a small admixture of rags, esparto supplies the entire newspaper press of this country, and is extensively used in the production of other varieties of paper.

About three years ago a gentleman residing in Norwich, who had given some attention to the subject, became the accidental possessor of a peculiar kind of grass grown in Japan, and exported hither chiefly for the use of gardeners, who employ it in tying plants. The grass attains a length of six or seven feet, and a breadth of something less than an inch, and in its native country flourishes in great luxuriance. Nearly the whole of the blade is composed of a strong silky fibre, running from one end to the other, the proportion of vegetable matter making up the remainder of the leaf being much smaller than in any other grass upon which experiments have been made. Thinking ho had discovered what might prove to be a

valuable material for making paper, the gentleman referred to submitted a specimen of the grass to Messrs Magnay & Delano, paper makers, Taverham, in Norfolk, and by them it was forwarded to their chemist in London, whose report upon the material, which was accompanied by a sample of the pulp obtained from it, was most satisfactory, and placed it far above esparto grass in all its essentials —namely, length and quality of fibre, the readiness with which it might be bleached and reduced to pulp, and its capability of being converted into the finest quality of paper. The only objection to the use of the new grass was its cost; but as it can be produced in unlimited quantities, both in Japan and elsewhere, there is no doubt that, if the demand were sufficient to induce the cultivation of the material, the supply could be multiplied to any required extent. A good deal of paper is now being made in Northern Europe from wood-shavings and sawdust; and a Scotch firm of timber-merchants, in Gottland, recently completed arrangements for the conversion of the refuse of their mills into pulp for making paper.

The application of machinery to the manufacture of paper is of recent date. Both in preparing the pulp and in making the paper, the appliances used by the early paper-makers were of the simplest kind, as may be gleaned from the following account of the mode of working practised in the mills of Mid-Lothian in the early years of this century:—The rags, after being thoroughly washed and bleached, were, while still wet, laid in heaps and covered over with sacking. In that way they were allowed to ferment for about a week, when they were taken out and cut into small portions by means of a sharp hook. They were next placed in large mortars made of oak, and there pounded with iron-shod rods, kept in motion by either wind or water power. So slow was this process of pulping, that eighty pairs of stamps produced only one hundredweight of pulp a-day. Even then the work was so imperfectly done that the stuff had to be pressed into boxes, and allowed to "mellow" for several weeks. After that it had to be subjected to a series of beatings in the mortars before it was ready for use. The pulp was next placed in a "vat," along with a certain quantity of water. The fibrous matter was held in suspension by the liquor being constantly stirred by a revolving frame or series of wooden arms. In making paper by the hand process—now almost extinct—the order of operations is briefly this (and it is merely mentioned here to give some idea of the immense advantage conferred by the paper-machine now in use):—The "dipper," or "vatman," takes a framework covered with wire-gauze, and dipping it into the vat takes up a quantity of pulp sufficient for one sheet, the size of the sheet being determined by the size of the "mould," and the thickness by the depth of a moveable ledge placed round the wire. The water soon drains off, leaving the pulp resting in an even layer on the wire. Another workman, designated a "toucher," takes the mould and transfers the pulp to a piece of felt or woollen cloth. Usually two moulds are employed, so that, while the "toucher" is emptying one, the "vatmen" is filling the other. The "layer" deposits the successive pieces of felt, with their delicate burden, in a pile; and when a certain number of sheets are thus arranged, they are taken to a press which forces out all the superfluous water, and gives a degree of solidity to the paper. The felts are then removed, and the paper is pressed by itself. The largest size of paper made by hand was "antiquarian," which measured 53 inches by 31, and so great was the weight of the liquid pulp employed in the formation of a single sheet, that no fewer than nine men were required to raise the mould out of the vat, by means of pulleys. The "vatman's " duties used to be of a severe kind. In order to give the paper the proper degree of finish, the liquid pulp was heated, and he had to stand over the steaming vat usually from three o'clock in the morning till one or two in the afternoon. Great skill and strength were required in order to produce the heavier kinds of paper, and the vatmen were regarded as the most important persons connected with a paper mill. The paper, after being pressed, was hung on hair- ropes to dry. The ropes were made of hair because that material did not give off any stain. When dry, the paper was sized by being dipped into baths of size-liquor, after which it was again hung up. It was finished by being pressed between hot iron plates. The productive power of a mill was in those days reckoned by the number of vats. The men who attended each vat were called a " vat's crew;" and so independent were the workmen of fifty years ago, that it is stated to have been no unusual thing for a vat's crew, or even all the vats' crews in a mill, to stop working when they thought proper, adjourn to the nearest public-house, and there enjoy themselves for such time as suited their tastes, no matter how pressing the demand for paper. The vatmen and touchers looked upon their occupation as one that machinery could never affect, and were most inconsiderate in their actions and demands. Their employers were so much pestered by the irregular manner in which the work of their mills went on, that they were ready to try any promising invention that offered, and when the paper-machine was brought to a degree of perfection it was readily adopted.

The first important mechanical contrivance introduced into the trade was the pulping-engine, invented in Holland about the middle of last century. The tedious method of fermenting the rags and bruising them in a mortar was superseded by this machine, which, in its present improved form, reduces the fresh rags to pulp in a few hours, and is capable of comminuting five or six tons a-week. Though the means of producing a vastly increased quantity of pulp were thus provided, many years elapsed before any successful attempt was made to perform the work of the vatmen and toucher by machinery. Among the more remarkable contrivances produced for the purpose were a set of automatic figures made by the ingenious M. Montgolfier of Paris. The figures were designed to perform the operations of the respective workmen; but they could not be got to work profitably, and were thrown aside. While mechanicians of world-wide fame were racking their brains to find out a system of paper-making machinery, Louis Robert, a humble clerk in a paper mill at Essonne, was quietly studying the subject, and one day excited the wonder of his employers by producing for their inspection a working model of a machine which was capable of producing from the pulp webs of paper of any length. The model was a tiny thing, from which the paper came forth no wider than a piece of tape. A machine of larger dimensions was made and patented, and when the invention came under the notice of the Government, the ingenious author of it was liberally rewarded. M. Robert's employers bought the invention, and transferred it to an English firm— Messrs Fourdrinier—who spent L.60,000 in perfecting it; but, in consequence of some defect or change in the Patent-laws, they reaped no advantage from their enterprise. The invention became public property, and Messrs Fourdrinier were reduced to bankruptcy. The paper-making machine is one of the most ingenious contrivances employed in the arts, and has been a chief cause in the creation of that cheap literature which has done so much to make the present century a remarkable era in the history of human progress. The finest and most complete paper-making machines in the world have been made in Edinburgh, by Mr George Bertram, Sciennes, and Messrs James Bertram & Son, Leith Walk. A machine exhibited by Mr George Bertram at the Exhibition of 1862 created universal admiration, and was pronounced by paper- makers of all nations to be by far the most perfect machine ever produced.

When the manufacture of paper began to obtain a footing among British industries, an Excise duty of 3d. a-pound on first-class papers, and 11d. on second-class, was levied. This duty produced L.46,868 in 1784, L.315,802 in 1815, L.619,824 in 1830. In 1839 the Excise duty was reduced to an equal rate of lid. a-pound on all qualities of paper. Under the new scale the revenue from paper increased in 1857 to L.I,244,652, of which sum Scotland contributed L.263,786. In 1860 the paper duty produced L.1,397,349. Having come to be regarded as a "tax on knowledge," its abolition was mooted on several occasions, but not until 1860 was any movement made for its removal by the Government. In that year Mr Gladstone (then Chancellor of the Exchequer) introduced a bill to repeal the duty. The bill passed its third reading in the Commons on May 8, by the narrow majority of nine. A fortnight afterwards the Lords rejected the bill by a majority of eighty-nine. This action on the part of the Lords was regarded by the Ministry to be contrary to the recognised practice in dealing with money bills, and a political crisis threatened to follow. Mr Gladstone denounced the rejection of the bill by the Lords as "one of the most gigantic and dangerous encroachments on constitutional usage which had been made in modern times," and his resignation was considered imminent in consequence of the adverse vote in the Lords. A Customs duty of lid. a-pound was charged on foreign paper imported into Britain, the difference between that sum and the Excise duty charged on paper made in this country being looked upon as an equivalent to the restrictions on the home manufacture necessary for the collection of the Excise duty. Though he failed to get rid of the Excise duty, Mr Gladstone considered himself bound, by a clause in the French treaty, to take immediate action for assimilating the duty on paper imported from France to the Excise duty charged on that manufactured at home. He calculated that the difference amounted to seven-eighths of a penny; and on the 6th August 1860 he moved a resolution in the House of Commons for lowering the duty on French paper by that amount. The resolution was carried by a majority of thirty-three in a very full house. A second resolution, making a similar concession to other countries, was carried at the same time without a division. The paper-makers had risen to a man against the removal of the Customs duty, and considered themselves aggrieved in that, while our ports were open to foreign competitors, they had to pay a heavy export duty on rags before they could obtain them from the only available sources. On the 15th April 1861 Mr Gladstone, in his financial statement, said that he felt himself able to repeal the paper duty as from 1st October following; and on the 6th May the House of Commons passed a resolution giving effect to the abolition of the tax, which for a whole year had been a bone of contention both in Parliament and out of it.

It is impossible to say exactly to what extent the abolition of — the duty has affected the consumption of paper, as the only statistics of the trade were those drawn up by the Excise; but the increase during the past seven years may be reckoned at a third of the quantity formerly made.

At no period has the paper made in Britain been equal to the requirements of the country, and consequently the article has had to be imported from the Continent. The home supply of rags has always been short, and our paper-makers have thereby been placed in a very disadvantageous position compared with their continental brethren. For a number of years past from 12,000 to 25,000 tons of rags have been imported annually, and on these a heavy export duty had to be paid. In 1860 that duty amounted, in the case of Prussia, to L.9, 3s. per ton; Holland, L.8, 8s.; Austria, L.7, 5s.; and so on. In France, Belgium, and Spain, the export of rags was prohibited. A favourable change has taken place since 1860, however—a considerable reduction of the export duty having been made in most cases.

Messrs Alexander Cowan & Sons are among the oldest, best known, and most extensive manufacturers of paper in Scotland. They have three mills at Penicuik, in the county of Edinburgh; but as these stand within a few hundred yards of each other, they are worked as one establishment. The central position is occupied by the Valley- field Mill, which is by far the largest of the three. The nucleus of it was built in 1709, by Mr Anderson, printer to Queen Anne, or by his widow. In 1779 Mr Charles Cowan, grandfather of the present proprietors, bought the mill, and, with the exception of the years 1810 to 1814, when it was used by Government as a place of confinement for French prisoners, the premises have since continued in the family. As time wore on, the accommodation in the Valley- field Mill became unequal to the requirements of an increasing trade, and a neighbouring corn mill was acquired in 1803 and converted into a paper manufactory. This mill is now known as the Bank Mill, because it was at first devoted to making paper for bank-notes. In 1815 the operations of the firm were further extended by the purchase of a paper mill belonging to Mr Nimmo, of Edinburgh, and now known as the Low Mill. Before the last addition the number of persons employed was about thirty, who could turn out by the hand process from two to three tons of paper a-week.

A few years after the close of the French war the Valleyfield Mill was repurchased from Government, fitted out with the most improved appliances, and started afresh in the year 1821. The late Mr Alexander Cowan was among the first in Britain to appreciate the value of the paper-making machine, and to introduce it into the trade; and both he and his successors have ever shown a readiness to seek out and adopt whatever appliances or arrangements gave promise of improving or facilitating the manufacture of paper. In addition to their three mills, Messrs Cowan have an establishment at Musselburgh, in which the esparto they use is reduced to pulp, and another place at Leith, where rags are sorted and cut.

The buildings are so much detached and scattered that it is difficult to realise the extent of the Valleyfield Mill without making a tour through its various sections. To proceed in proper order, the rag stores are the first places to be visited. They occupy a substantially constructed two-storey wooden building, which had been erected at Greenlaw Barracks by Government to extend the accommodation for the detention of French prisoners. The building is upwards of 100 yards in length, and both floors are covered with bales of rags.

A sample bale lying open here and there enables one to judge of the contents of all the others. The collectors of rags arrange them into a certain number of classes, each of which has its distinguishing mark. Only the highest qualities are used by Messrs Cowan, as all the paper made by them is of the finest kind. From the store the rags are taken to the cutting and sorting rooms, where a large number of women are employed. Each woman stands in front of a bench, the upper surface of which is covered with wire netting. Taking a handful of rags from a bale, she shakes them out on the bench, examines them, removes pins, buttons, &c., and then cuts them into small pieces by drawing them across the edge of a huge knife fixed to the bench in a perpendicular position. According to the quality of the various portions, she deposits them in one or other of the compartments of a box which stands near. The heavier portion of the dust and dirt set loose by these operations falls through the wire top of the bench into a receptacle beneath, while the lighter particles float about, and give the atmosphere a very unhealthy appearance. The rags are next put through the dusting-machine, which consists of a large cylinder covered with wire net, and having a series of pegs or spikes inside. The cylinder is fitted up in an inclined position, and as the rags pass through it they are thoroughly shaken and beaten by the spikes. In order to get rid of the remaining dirt and some of the colouring matter, the rags are boiled in an alkaline lye or solution. For that purpose they are conveyed to the boiling-house, which contains a range of large caldrons. These have double sides, and the rags are boiled by the injection of steam through the perforated lining. Cylindrical revolving boilers are now coining into use, the advantages claimed for these being that the rotary motion, by turning over the rags, facilitates the action of the steam and lye.

After being boiled, the rags are ready for conversion into pulp. The "engines," as they are termed, for accomplishing that part of the operations were, as already stated, invented in Holland about the middle of last century. The first pulping machine is the washing-engine, which is simply a shallow cast-iron cistern, fitted with .a cylinder having a number of steel bars 1/8th or 3/6ths of an inch in thickness firmly wedged in it, and projecting about 1˝ inch from the circumference of the cylinder. The cylinder extends half-way across the engine, and the inner end of it rests on a mid-feather. In the bottom of the cistern, immediately beneath the cylinder, a series of bars, corresponding with those on the cylinder, are inserted; and when the cylinder is put in rapid motion (revolving about 120 times in a minute), the rags are drawn in by the cylinder, and rubbed or torn into what is termed "half-stuff." The current caused by the turning of the cylinder sends the rags round the ends of the mid- feather, keeps them moving in a continuous stream up one side of the cistern and down the other, and draws them in between the cylinder and fixed bars. As the chief object in the first instance is to cleanse the rags, they are merely broken into fragments by the first engine into which they are put. During the operation, which requires two hours for its completion, a stream of pure water flows through the machine, and carries off all impurities. Though the rag-cutters exercise a degree of vigilance in looking out for and removing buttons, pins, and the like, many of these escape notice; and it is necessary to take precautions for their removal in the washing- engine. Sloping down in front of the fixed cutters in the bottom of the engine is a cast iron grating called a "button-trap." The ribs of the grating lie parallel to the cutters, and, as small particles of pins, needles, buttons, or other foreign bodies are separated from the rags, they drop into the grating, and there lie until the trough is emptied, when very curious collections of dress-fastening appliances are revealed. The appearance which the rags—especially the coloured ones—present at this stage is very unpromising to the eyes of casual visitors to a paper-mill When the washing and "breaking-in" are completed, the rags are drained and deposited in the bleaching vats, where they are subjected for twenty-four hours to the action of a strong solution of chloride of lime. The colouring-matter is thus destroyed, and the fibres are left perfectly white. By pressure in a hydraulic press, the bleaching liquor is extracted, and the stuff is placed for an hour in another washing-engine, which removes the chloride of lime, and still further separates the fibres. The stuff is then placed in the beating-engine and thoroughly pulped. The beating-engine is similar in construction to the washing-engine; but the rubbing bars are sharper and more closely set, and the motion is much quicker. The beating-engine completes its work in about five hours, by which time the fibres are reduced to about 1/60th of an inch in length, and float free in the water. The contents of the beating- engines are drawn off into large shoots, from which the papermaking machines are supplied.

Messrs Cowan have in operation five machines of the most perfect construction, and these of themselves occupy several large buildings. The machine most recently set up is one of the largest and finest in Britain. Including the drying apparatus, it is 250 feet in length, and is capable of turning out 2500 square yards of paper in an hour. In order to describe the operation of this machine, it is necessary to return to the vats and trace the pulp from that point forward. Before the pulp is allowed to enter the machine, it is mixed with an additional quantity of water, so that the fibres may float freely. So great is the proportion of water to fibre, that the fibre contained in a gallon of the liquid as it passes to the machine would not, when dry, weigh more than a grain or two. As the pulp is drawn off the vat, it receives the proper quantity of water, and is then sent to flow along an open wooden trough thirty or forty yards in length. The object of this journey is to ensure the deposition of impurities of a heavy kind. The liquid then passes through a sort of sieve, technically termed a "knotter," which retains all knotted or matted fibres. It then passes into the cistern of the machine, where it is kept constantly in motion by a revolving agitator. From the cistern it flows in a carefully regulated stream, the full width of the machine, on to an endless web or apron of wire gauze, having about 4000 holes in each square inch. Most of the water passes through the apron instantaneously, and leaves the pulp deposited in an even layer on the wire, by which it is carried forward over a pneumatic drainer, which draws off the greater part of the remaining water. The portion of the machine which pertains to the apron receives a constant vibratory motion, which assists the extraction of the water, and causes the fibres to interlace and become felted. In determining the thickness of the paper to be made, both the speed of the machine and the quantity of pulp allowed to flow upon it must be taken into account. Before the web of semi-formed paper leaves the apron, it passes under a wire roller, on which letters or devices in wire are sewed, whereby is produced what is known as the "water-mark." From a very early date in the history of paper-making, it would appear to have been customary to form certain devices in the substance of the paper, either to distinguish the productions of particular makers, or the various sizes and qualities. Water-marks have been the means, on several well-known occasions, of detecting frauds, forgeries, and impositions. Curran once made a capital hit, and won a verdict for a client, by referring the Court to the water-mark in a document in the case. The monks in a monastery at Messina preserved with great care, and exhibited with much reverence, a letter alleged to have been written by the Virgin Mary. The "relic" remained an object of interest and curiosity until the monks had a visit from a gentleman, who, after examining the document, said, with affected solemnity, that the letter was wonderful in more ways than one—in fact, that its production involved a miracle, since the water-mark showed that the paper on which the letter was written had not been made until several centuries after the death of the reputed writer. The water-mark is produced, as stated, by a roller bearing the design. The pressure of the wire on the surface of the pulpy web indents it slightly, so that when the paper is held up to the light, the design may be traced by the transparency of the outline. The web next passes between two felt-covered rollers, which extract some of the moisture, and give the material a degree of consistency. When the paper leaves these rollers, it is received upon an endless web of felt, which conducts it through two pairs of pressing rollers, and thus it becomes consolidated. A set of five large drying cylinders, heated by steam, stand next in order; and over all these the paper is led by the felt. When it comes forth from that ordeal, it has sufficient consistency to travel through the other parts of the machine, without the support of a felt. From the first set of drying cylinders it passes to the smoothing rollers, and thence over a second set of steam-heated cylinders, which complete the drying.

At this point printing-paper, which is sized in the pulp, would be calendered; but the paper made in the machine under notice being for writing upon, is sized by being passed through a bath of animal size after leaving the first set of drying cylinders. The superfluous size is removed by pressure between rollers, and the web is led on to the drying-machine, which is a most extensive piece of mechanism It is 200 feet in length, and consists of 200 cylinders, each about a yard in diameter. The cylinders are arranged in three double tiers, which rise to a height of twenty feet. Each cylinder consists of two parts—an outside framing covered with wire-net, inside of which is a fan, the action of which drives a current of air against the paper as it travels round the open periphery of the cylinder. In its passage through the machine the paper is brought into contact with every one of the cylinders; and when it emerges, is found to be thoroughly dried. The object of drying the paper in this way is to render it stronger and harder than it would be if dried on cylinders heated by steam. The paper next passes through burnished rollers, which impart a glaze to the surface; and as it leaves these it is wound in convenient lengths upon movable wooden rollers, which, as they are filled, are shifted to the cutting-machine, by which the paper of six or eight rollers is simultaneously cut into sheets of any required dimensions. The intricate journey which the paper has to travel between the pulp-vat and the cutting-machine is over a mile in length, so that there is always about a mile of paper in the machine. The attendants have to watch the progress of the work very closely, for the slightest disarrangement would injure or break the fabric. There is an index attached to the machine, which shows the number of yards made; and that, taken in connection with the weight of the paper given off in a certain time, supplies data for ascertaining whether the paper is of the proper thickness. The machine can be adjusted to produce paper so thin that a thousand sheets would measure less than an inch in thickness, yet so strong would it be that a stripe four inches in width would bear a weight of 20 lb.

The paper is taken from the cutting-machines to the finishing and packing departments, where the sheets are carefully examined and placed singly between polished copper plates. The plates and paper are passed between rollers, which impart a pressure of thirty or forty tons, the effect being to give the surface of the paper a highly glazed and ivory-like appearance. The paper is then made up into quires and reams, and removed to the warehouse.

Between 2000 and 3000 tons of paper are made annually—all being, as already stated, the finer kinds of writing and printing papers. The quantity made daily is probably equal to a web twenty miles long and above five feet wide. The water-wheels and steam-engines employed in the mills are equal to over 200 horse power.

About 600 persons are employed in the various departments, and these are treated with great consideration and liberality by Messrs

Cowan. The wives and daughters of the partners have always taken a special interest in the sick, and since 1823 have managed a school for the education of the children of the workpeople. In 1840 a commodious school-house was built near the mills, and at present it is attended by about 120 children. The young persons engaged in the mills are compelled to attend free evening classes during three months in the winter season. Usually about eighty girls and forty boys are in attendance at the classes. The mills have only recently been placed under the Factory Laws; but thirty years ago the following rules were put in force by Messrs Cowan:—"1. No child under thirteen years of age shall be employed. 2. No young persons shall be employed before they are able to read, write, and figure—and, in the case of girls, to sew. 3. Wives shall not be employed, as it is considered that they should be 'keepers at home,' for the sake of their husbands and children." Nearly L.1300 a-month is paid in wages, the following being the rates:—Mechanics, 25s. to 26s. a-week; mill-workers (men and lads), 18s. to 19s.; women, from 8s. to 10s.

The most extensive manufacturers of writing-paper in the kingdom are Messrs Alexander Pirie & Sons, Aberdeen. Messrs Pirie have three paper mills, of which that at Stoney wood, on the river Don, about six miles from Aberdeen, is the largest, the others being known as the Union Paper Works, entirely devoted to the making of envelopes; and the Woodside Paper Works, where coarse papers are made. Upwards of 2000 persons are employed by the firm, and between sixty and seventy tons of paper, cards, and cardboard, are made every week. At the Union Paper Works about a million of envelopes are turned out every day, and the mechanism used in that department is of the most beautiful construction.

The besetting sin of the paper-makers is the manner in which they pollute the streams on which their mills are erected, by discharging thereinto their waste chemicals and other refuse. These substances are fatal to fish and unpleasant to the nostrils, if not pernicious to the health, of people dwelling on the banks of the polluted waters. Since 1840 the paper-makers on the North Esk have been defenders in two actions raised by the proprietors of grounds bordering the river, for the purpose of restraining them from discharging the refuse of their mills into the stream. An action raised in 1841 was settled by the paper-makers undertaking to adopt measures for remedying the evil complained of. The steps taken were not successful, however, and matters having grown worse than ever, a fresh action was raised in 1866. The case was heard by the Lord Justice-Clerk, and occupied the Court for eleven days. The result was a verdict in favour of the pursuers on all the issues; and fresh efforts have since been made to retain or render innocuous the waste from the mills. The paper-makers have been put to vast expense in the matter; and it is due to them to say that they have tried every plan that promised to be effectual. Filtering machines have been procured and filtering ponds constructed; and the agency of fire even has been introduced, with the view of getting rid of the objectionable stuff. At Valleyfield, and elsewhere on the Esk, a large extent of ground is devoted to filtering and settling ponds; but as yet absolute success has not been attained by any of the modes of purification tried there or elsewhere. Four or five years ago Messrs Cowan employed chemists of great skill to endeavour to find a way of removing the vegetable fibres and chemical stuffs from the water, and a costly method of incineration was tried. An immense furnace was built, in which the water was evaporated, and the residue burned to cinders. The cinders had a certain value, as they retained a large proportion of the soda used in treating the rags; but that bore a small proportion to the cost of its extraction. The incinerating process, though still persevered in by some of the manufacturers, is not more successful than the others that have been tried, and it has been abandoned at Valleyfield. Messrs Cowan have, though at great inconvenience, got rid of the most offensive of the polluting elements by having their esparto pulped and a large proportion of their rags cut at subsidiary establishments at Musselburgh and Leith.

The most popular form of decorative art is the covering of the walls of rooms with stained paper—a material capable alike of adorning the abodes of the wealthy, and making more cheerful the humblest dwellings. The Chinese are reputed to be the inventors of paper-hangings. Many centuries ago those ingenious people covered their walls with paper, and painted thereon figures and landscapes in the quaint style which even yet marks the limit of their pictorial art. Some of the early British travellers to the east brought home specimens of the painted paper. These were imitated, and came into use to some extent among the wealthier class, who valued the painted paper as a cheap and tolerable substitute for the costly tapestries and leather hangings which were then fashionable. Notwithstanding our early connection with the art, the credit of its development belongs to France, which has long been the chief seat of the manufacture of paper-hangings. In the middle of the sixteenth century paper-staining was an established branch of industry in France; and in 1620 a manufacturer at Rouen invented blocks for producing the patterns, which had previously been done partly by painting, and partly by the stencilling process. The French set themselves to make paper that would resemble in some degree the tapestry which it was intended to stand substitute for, and consequently their earlier efforts were of a pictorial kind. In England the art made slow progress, and it was not until the year 1712 that it attracted the notice of Government, who recognised its existence by imposing a tax of lid. a-yard on stained paper, in addition to the duty of 3d. a-yard charged on the plain paper. At the same time, each manufacturer of paper hangings had to procure a license at a cost of L.20 a-year. By these restrictions the trade was nipped in the bud, and became almost extinct, until, in 1786, Messrs George & Frederick Echardts established an extensive manufactory at Chelsea.

The invention of the paper-making machine, about sixty years ago, gave the manufacture of paper-hangings a great impulse. Previously, the manufacturers had to begin operations by pasting together twenty- four sheets of paper to form a web or "piece" twelve yards long. Irrespective of the labour they entailed in the way of pasting and joining, the composite webs looked patchy, as the stout paper that was used showed the joinings very distinctly. The cost of production having been reduced by the invention of the paper-making machine, paper-hangings were placed within the reach of many persons who were unable to purchase them at the old rates. The first English paper-hangings possessed little or no artistic merit; and the manufacturers did not bestir themselves to improve their productions until some time after 1825. In order to encourage home enterprise, the Government had placed a prohibition on the import of foreign papers, and that continued without any good result until the year named, when the prohibition was removed, and a duty of 1s. per square yard was imposed on all foreign papers imported. The stamp-duty on English paper-hangings was at the same time removed. French paper-hangings were so much superior to those produced in this country, that large quantities were imported notwithstanding the heavy duty. The trade in home-made papers was threatened with extinction, and the only alternative left to the English manufacturers was either to make a higher class of goods, or resign the market entirely to the Continental makers. They chose the former course; but the French had had such a long start that it was difficult for the English manufacturers to approach them. To such an extent had the trade flourished in France, that in 1827 there were in Paris alone seventy-two large manufactories of paper-hangings. In 1846 the import-duty on paper-hangings was reduced to 2d. a-yard, and a great influx of foreign papers followed. About that time cylinder-printing had been introduced into the trade, and the facility of production thus obtained, coupled with the removal or reduction of restrictions, had the effect of bringing down prices. Thenceforward paper-hangings became exceedingly popular, and competition among manufacturers tended to improve the quality and designs.

The manufacture of paper-hangings was begun in Scotland within a comparatively recent period, and, until a few years ago, was conducted on a small scale. There are only about half a dozen firms engaged in the trade, and of these there is but one that does what may be called an extensive business. The number of persons employed altogether will not exceed 500; and were it not that the trade is one that has been carried to a high degree of perfection by those engaged in it in Scotland, and that it promises further development, it might have been omitted from the list of subjects dealt with in this book.

About twelve years ago Messrs Wylie & Lochhead, a well-known firm in Glasgow, added paper-staining to the other departments of their house-furnishing business. They began operations in a small way, and limited themselves to block-printing. The encouragement they received induced them, on the abolition of the paper-duty in 1861, to build a large factory, and introduce cylinder printing- machines. The factory is at Whiteinch, near Partick. The main part of it consists of two large buildings, each upwards of 300 feet in length, by 50 feet in width, and united at one end by a transverse block. About 300 persons are employed, and 80,000 pieces of paper-hangings are made every week. The more costly papers are produced by block-printing, the machines being chiefly devoted to the cheap varieties. The papers supplied to the trade range in price from 10s. to 21d. per piece of twelve yards; but papers which cost 5s. a-yard have been made to special orders.

The paper arrives at the factory in compact rolls, about eighteen inches in diameter, and the first operation it is subjected to is over-running, in order to see that it is unbroken. It is then "padded" or "grounded," by being passed through a machine which spreads upon it an equal coating of colour, and rubs it in well by a series of brushes moving transversely. As the paper comes off the machine it is dried by being made to traverse a hot-air chamber. The paper is padded in all save the very lowest qualities. The ground of the latter is formed by the tint given to the paper in process of manufacture. After being grounded the surface is polished by means of friction-rollers and brushes. Fine drawing-room papers are "satined" —that is, made to assume a glossy appearance resembling satin—by having French chalk rubbed into them as they are drawn through a machine. There are eight cylinder printing-machines in the factory —one capable of putting on twenty colours at a time, and the others twelve, eight, six, and four respectively. The paper is fed into the machine in a continuous web. It passes over a large central cylinder, around which are arranged the engraved printing-rollers, each with a supply of the particular colour which it is to put on. As the paper passes along it receives the colours in succession, and comes out with the design fully developed. The preparation of the engraved rollers is a work of great exactness, as the ultimate appearance of the paper depends much on the nice adjustment of the various colours. The twenty-colour machine prints 20,000 yards a-day, and the others about 30,000 yards each. On leaving the printing-machine, the paper passes through a hot-air chamber, whence it emerges quite dry, and is folded loosely by an ingenious piece of mechanism peculiar to the establishment. It is then raised to an upper floor, where it is measured, cut into twelve-yard lengths, and made up into rolls, all of which operations are performed by machines attended by young women. Papers striped with various shades of positive colours, such as blue, crimson, &c., are much in fashion at present, and Messrs Wylie & Lochhead have recently set up machinery for producing them.

The block-printing shop occupies an entire floor nearly 300 feet in length. Along one side of it the printing-tables are arranged. A man and a boy or girl are employed at each table. The man draws the web of paper over the table and impresses the block upon it, while his assistant keeps the block supplied with colour, as in the case of calico-printing already described, and at intervals hangs up the paper in long loops. Steam-pipes are laid along the floor, which dry the paper so rapidly that by the time the end of a web has been printed the first of it is ready to receive another colour, and so on, one colour being put on after the other until the design is completed.

Messrs Wylie & Lochhead have devoted great attention to the production of paper-hangings of the highest class, and have carried the art of making gold-stamped, bronzed, and flocked papers to a degree of perfection unsurpassed in Britain. The firm have obtained the services of workmen from the best factories in France, and have introduced the most improved machines and processes. A specially interesting department of their establishment is that in which papers of the finer kinds are made. The simplest way of introducing gold into a design is, after the colours have been put on and thoroughly dried, to print the portion to be brought out in gold with a strong size. That is done by hand; and as the paper passes from the printing-table, it is thickly dusted with bronze powder, which adheres only to the sized parts. The paper is then sent through a calendering-machine, and comes out with the bronze figuring flattened and burnished, and the appearance of the design enhanced a hundredfold. Gold stamping is a slower and more costly process, and constitutes the highest department in the art of the paper-stainer. In order to attain the full richness of effect which gold imparts, the papers to which it is applied are grounded with a quiet colour, on which little or no pattern save that in gold is introduced. The case is somewhat different when the bronzing process is used, as then the gold is employed only to form slender outlines and sprigs, and a variety of hues may be used with good results. Bronzing is particularly effective on embossed papers. In the gold stamping-room there are nine screw presses and several cylinder machines. The presses are constructed to operate upon a yard of paper at a time. The paper is prepared with a dry gum size, and on the parts on which the figures are to appear leaves of Dutch metal are laid. On the platen of the press a number of metal dies bearing the designs are fixed, and kept hot by jets of gas. When all is ready, the man in charge draws the paper into position, and, by moving a fly-wheel, brings down the dies. While he is thus engaged, his assistants place metal on a fresh portion of the paper. As the paper is stamped it is rolled up with the superfluous metal still attached to it and removed to another room, where the gold that has not been fixed is rubbed off. Papers of this kind are cut into twelve-yard lengths before being stamped, and sometimes before being grounded, when that operation is done by hand. The designs in gold consist chiefly of isolated scrolls, or floriated ornaments with vase-like centres. Nothing is introduced to destroy the flatness of surface essential in a wall-paper, and the quantity of gold is made to harmonise with the tone of the ground. The more sombre the ground is the more gold may be employed up to a certain point, and the figuring may be of a bolder kind than would be suitable for a light foundation. Drawing-room papers are in many cases embossed, which is done by passing the paper between engraved rollers.

There is considerable variety in the style of embossing—the most common forms being waved lines, diaper, and graining in imitation of leather.

There is yet another variety of paper-hangings—that in which the design is worked out in "flock." In 1634 a Frenchman named Lanier took out a patent in this country for the process of flocking paper, leather, &c. Little came of the invention until the beginning of the present century, when it began to be practised by paper-stainers generally. At the Whiteinch factory there is a special department for flocking. The size is printed on by blocks, and the paper is then introduced into a chest the full length of the piece, where it is covered by a deposit of wool powder, which is caused to adhere evenly by a peculiar vibrating motion given to the bottom of the chest. Flocks are not so much used as they were some years ago, nor are they made so heavy.

The designing of paper-hangings affords wide scope for the exercise of artistic skill; but only in recent years has a high degree of excellence been attained. As already stated, the French have maintained a leading place in the art; but the British manufacturers are pressing closely upon them; and it is a significant fact that, next to Australia, France takes the largest quantity of the paper-hangings exported from this country. The earlier productions of our paper-stainers were remarkable only for poverty of style and feebleness of colour. The manufacturers did not realise the power they had in their hands for improving the artistic taste of the people, and were content so long as they satisfied the moderate demands made upon them by their customers. Not only in the manufacture of paper- hangings is artistic skill requisite, it is also essential in choosing a paper to suit the furnishing and lights of an apartment. There should be a degree of harmony between the colours of the paper and those of the carpet and other furniture; and where that is wanting, the effect is unpleasant, even to an unartistic eye.
A large staff of designers and engravers are employed by Messrs Wylie & Lochhead. The designs are drawn to full dimensions and coloured, and from the drawings the engravers prepare a block or roller for each colour. In the case of the rollers and the finer blocks the design is raised on the surface by driving slips of copper into the wood, and filling up with felt the portions which are to make the impression. In some patterns so many as twenty colours are used, requiring as many separate rollers or blocks. To print a rose, for example, about a dozen blocks are required; for in the simplest way it can be done three or four shades of red have to be used for the flower, three greens for the leaves, two wood colours for the stem, and white for the clear spaces. By changing the colours used in a design great variety of effect may be attained with one set of blocks; but so fickle is the public taste, and so keen the competition among manufacturers, that new blocks are being produced continuously. The papers made at Whiteinch during 1868 embrace no fewer than 240 varieties. Though the establishment has not been many years in existence, an immense stock of blocks and rollers has accumulated, representing in first cost many thousands of pounds. Another important department of the factory is that in which the colours and sizes are prepared. It is a laboratory on a gigantic scale. The colours are ground and mixed by machinery, and for the treatment of those which require to be dissolved or compounded in a hot state there is a range of copper boilers, &c.

The men employed at Whiteinch are paid by piece. The block- printers and machinemen earn from 25s. to 35s., and the women receive from 7s. to 11s. a-week.


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