The Quarterly No. 78 - April 2011


Alex. Cowan and Sons, Papermakers, Penicuik, 1779-1975: An Examination of Progress, Success, Takeover and Closure, with some Theoretical Considerations - Ying Yong Ding

The Scottish firm of Alex. Cowan and Sons was famous for its high quality fine papers. This highly detailed article describes how the business faired over almost two centuries until its closure by Reeds in 1975, just short of its bicentenary. In particular the reason for its longevity when compared with many similar competitors is explored, and the lessons that can learned are examined.

11 pages, 2 tables


Ludford Paper Mill - Daven Chamberlain

This paper mill ceased paper manufacture around 1861, since when it has been used for a number of proposes. Photographs illustrate the empty building before it was sold for housing, and the rusted shell of its water wheel.

1 page, 2 illustrations


Railways in Papermaking Part 1: Introduction - Mike Stanyon

Railways and tramways were used in a variety of manufacturing situations from the early 19th century onwards. Over time they made headway in paper mills, and were used both for delivery of raw materials to the mill, and export of finished goods from the site. This article introduces the subject, and is the first of a series planned over coming issues which will deal with mill sites, regions, and the engines themselves.

3 pages, 4 illustrations


Early Workers at Paper Bags - Charles Dickens

A short but important piece of social history by Charles Dickens Junior (son of the great author), describing the use of female and child labour in the manufacture of paper bags, and the process of hand-forming these items.

3 pages


History of Paper Test Instrumentation Part 18: Paperboard and Corrugated Board Testers - Daven Chamberlain

Heavyweight packaging grades of paper require specialist test equipment by virtue both of their high strength and multi-layer construction. This article illustrates the main test equipment used for heavyweight boards, combined with which is the unique set of apparatus used to assess the stiffness and crush strength of corrugated grades of packaging.

7 pages, 4 illustration


A Preservative Paper: Salicylic Acid, Borax, and Sodium Sulphate - James Scott

At the time of writing (1912) paper was still the foremost packaging material used to wrap foodstuffs. The author saw the wrapper as a means by which food could be preserved and its shelf life extended. To this end he devised a series of papers containing antiseptic agents, which are described in this article.

2 pages, 3 illustrations


A Sale at Standish Mills - Anon

The closure of a mill, whilst disastrous for the immediate neighbourhood, provided a useful windfall for other paper manufacturers. In this article the mill in question closed in 1884; the text describes the various items that were sold at auction, the selling price, and the mills to which equipment was transferred.

1 page


Are Rags Dangerous? - Anon

The perennial problem associated with use of old rags was disease. This article, from 1884, describes discussions undertaken with mill owners in both the UK and USA to elucidate exactly what diseases rags were supposed to carry.

2 pages


Leibig Cards - The History of Paper - Anon

In an earlier edition of The Quarterly (No.58) we published illustrations of six cards issued by the Leibig company in the early 20th century on the subject of paper manufacture. This article shows the only other series of cards issued by the company on a similar theme, which describes several writing systems that pre-date paper, before ending with a general description of hand- then machine-paper manufacture.

2 pages, 6 illustrations


Money Laundering - Daven Chamberlain

During the early 20th century the American government trialled an unusual process for prolonging the life of its banknotes. A laundry process washed dirt from the notes, then in a subsequent bath they were re-sized. The process showed some merits, until the government started to use cotton instead of linen for banknote manufacture during WWI. The article describes the process, and the machines, several of which were made before the project was discontinued in 1918.

3 pages, 3 illustrations/tables


The 'Black' Diaries of Sir Roger Casement (1864-1916) - Peter Bower

The enigmatic diplomat, who later became and Irish nationalist and subsequently was executed as a British traitor in 1916, was condemned in part due to the contents of these five diaries. Yet their origin and veracity has long been in question. The author was part of a team who examined the physical evidence provided by the diaries - handwriting, paper, binding, etc - in order to provide a conclusive answer to the problem. This article describes the forensic examination of the artefacts, and a detailed appendix outlines further methods that could be brought to bear on the documents should they be required.

9 pages, 11 illustrations


Dandy Roll Construction - Anon

A drawing showing the construction of both laid and wove dandy rolls from the archive of one of the foremost manufacturers of high quality watermarked papers - Wiggins Teape.

1 page, 1 illustration


Let's Have a Party! - Simon Barcham Green

In 1960 Hayle Mill held its 150th anniversary party. This article illustrates the gathering which consisted of hand-papermakers, mainly from England and Scotland, but with several notable dignitaries from the continent.

3 pages, 3 illustrations/tables


Chartham Mill Ream Label - Anon

A beautiful illustrated ream label for "Weatherley's Superfine Satin Post" made at Chartham Mill some time before 1852.

1 page, 1 illustration