Glossary of Papermaking Terms
Abaca - plant more commonly known as
Abrasiveness - property of the
Absorbency - capacity of the
paper to absorb liquid.
Acid free - paper free from any
acid content or other substances likely to have a detrimental effect on the
Agitator - a revolving paddle used
in stuff chests or vats.
Air-dried - term applied to
machine-made paper which is dried by being passed over hot air drums.
Air-knife - a thin flat jet of
air acting as a doctor blade to remove excess coating
from a wet sheet.
Alum - aluminium sulphate, added to gelatine
in the sizing of paper to stabilise the gelatine.
Apron - sheet of oiled cloth, leather
or rubber which bridges the gap between the breast box
and the moving wire on a Fourdrinier
Ass - curved wooden post on the corner
of the vat where the mould is rested after
forming the sheet.
Back - marks left in a sheet of hand
made paper where it has been dried over ropes.
Badger - term applied to a residue
of pulp remaining in the vat after
papermaking is completed.
Bamboo - now rarely used for the
production of paper, the fibres are short and needle
Beater or Hollander -
introduced mid seventeenth century and superseded the method of preparing pulp
by hammering or stamping the rags.
Beater roll - cylinder or drum
set with knives set against a bedplate to cut up rags
in a beater trough.
Beating - process of reducing raw
materials to a fibrous state in the production of pulp.
Bedplate - in a stamper
it is a flat plate of iron in the bottom of the trough against which rags are
pounded. In a Hollander it has ridges or knives and acts
with the beater roll.
Bleach - chemical used to whiten
paper pulp, often a chlorine solution.
Board - thick sheet of paper, either homogenous
or made from several layers of paper pressed or glued together.
Board machine - similar to
cylinder mould machine but has from two to seven cylinder moulds in line to form
Breaker - reduces rags to smaller
pieces for beating in a Hollander.
Breast box - part of the
papermachine from which the pulp issues onto the moving wire.
Bridge - platform across the vat.
Broke - un-saleable flawed paper,
Brown-white - papermakers
description of papers made from blends of white and coloured linen rags, and
usually having some addition of hemp or jute
fibre derived from rope.
Calcium carbonate - loading
agent or filler.
Calender - set or stack of rollers
at the end of the papermachine to smooth paper, may have heated rolls. See also Super-calender.
Calendering - process of
pressing to smooth or glaze a sheet of paper during the finishing
Cardboard - thick stiff paper
produced by pasting several layers of paper together.
Cartridge - originally used for
making cartridges, later used as a strong wrapping paper and as an artists
Cast paper - form of paper made
by pouring pulp into a specially constructed mould.
Cellulose - basic substance of
paper manufacture derived from plant tissues.
Chain lines - the more widely
spaced watermark lines across the narrow way of a sheet of paper. Caused by the
wires used to hold the laid wires together.
China clay - fine clay used as a
Chemical wood pulp -
wood reduced to pulp by a chemical process, e.g., with caustic soda or
bi-sulphite of lime. See also Soda process.
Coating - mineral substances such
as china clay applied to the surface of paper to make it more suitable for some
methods of printing.
Cold pressed - surface quality
of a sheet of paper made the same way as a Not surface.
Contraries - unwanted pieces of
materials which have become embedded in a sheet of paper.
Cotton - source of fibre
for papermaking, usually in the form of linters or rags.
The fibres are strong and flexible and suited to the production of fine papers.
Couch - action of transferring sheets
of newly formed paper from hand moulds to felt blankets.
Couch rolls - rolls at the end
of a Fourdrinier machine to transfer the paper from the moving
wire to a felt
Coucher - person who transfers
newly formed sheets of paper from hand moulds to felt blankets.
Cover - wire surface of a hand mould
through which the water drains, can be made of laid or wove wire, also the
surface of a dandy roll.
Cracking - breakline occurring
where sheets of paper are folded.
Cross - T shaped wooden tool used to
remove paper from ropes in a drying loft.
Curing - allowing the paper to
mature before sale.
Cylinder - term indiscriminately
applied to various kinds of rolls or drums on papermachines. More particularly
the steam heated cylinders for drying paper.
Cylinder mould machine, cylinder
machine - invented by John Dickinson in 1809 and has a cylinder
covered with a wire through which the water drains, leaving the pulp on the
surface. The cylinder is partially immersed in a vat of pulp. It has been
developed into board machines and machines for making paper with complex
Dandy roll - light skeleton roll
or cylinder covered with wire which presses gently on the paper while still wet.
It helps to improve the formation of the sheet by gently pressing the top
surface and can be used to impart a laid or wove look-through.
Also used to impress a
watermark into the top surface of paper by images attached to the roll.
Daphne - plant known as the 'Nepal
paper plant' used as a source of fibre for papermaking.
Deckle - on a hand mould is the
removable frame which retains the pulp on the cover while the water drains
through. On a Fourdrinier machine, the deckle strap performs the same function
on the moving wire.
Deckle edge - slightly wavy
line to the edge of handmade paper, formed by a slight thinning of the edge of
the sheet by pulp creeping under the edge of the deckle
during forming of the sheet.
Deckle slip - strip of wood
fixed to the underside of the deckle to stop the pulp
Devil - machine for removing dust and
dirt from rags or esparto grass (also called a willow)
Digester - vessel in which wood
chips, rags or esparto grass are boiled with chemicals. It can be stationary or
revolving, horizontal or upright, cylindrical or spherical.
Disc refiner - machine with
rotating ribbed discs or plates which beats out pulp for papermachines.
Dished - stack of paper lying
concave rather than flat.
Doctor - thin metal blade which
scrapes off excess liquid or fibres off a roller to help maintain a smooth
Double-faced mould -
mould with a secondary supporting wire layer underneath the forming surface.
Developed towards the end of the eighteenth century for wove
moulds, also began to be used for laid moulds by
the end of the eighteenth century.
Dry cylinder machine -
is one where pulp is poured onto the surface of the cylinder so that the water
drains away through the cover on the cylinder.
Dry end - term for the drying
section of the papermachine consisting of the drying
cylinders, calender, reel.
Dry pressing - various pressing
sequences applied to sheets after drying.
Drying loft - large airy room
in which sheets of hand made paper are hung or laid to dry.
Duster - mechanical device, usually
a revolving wire mesh drum, for opening out rags etc. and for getting rid of
Edge chains - extra chain lines
running on the outer edge of both short sides of the mould
for extra strength.
Embossed watermarks -
see Shadow watermarks.
Embossing - form of printing to
produce a raised impression or pattern on the surface of a sheet of paper.
Engine - originally a term applied
to any machine but in a papermill particularly to the Hollander
Engine-sized - paper to which
the sizing was added during the beating stage.
Esparto - grass used for
papermaking, the fibres are short and smooth, esparto paper
has an even texture, softness and elasticity.
Felts - material woven from either
cotton or wool with a raised surface which supports the wet sheet of paper
during the stages of removal of water.
Felt mark - texture acquired on
the surface of the paper from the felt.
Felt side - the side of the paper
in contact with the felt after forming,
opposite to the wire side.
Fermentation - old method of
preparing rags for the beater of
letting piles of wet rags heat up and begin to rot.
Fibre - fibres for papermaking, can
be animal (e.g. wool or hair), mineral (e.g. asbestos) or plant. Plant fibres
are the most important group, the important constituent being cellulose
which is extracted from a variety of plants. Suitable plant sources can be
grouped into several types:
Seed hairs, e.g. cotton
Bast fibres from the inner bark or stems, e.g. linen,
hemp, jute, ramie, mulberry
Leaf fibres, e.g. esparto and manila
Grasses, e.g. straw, bamboo
Wood, usually softwoods such as spruce, fir or pine, but can
See chemical, mechanical
and thermo-mechanical pulps.
Plant fibres can be extracted from the plant itself or from secondary sources
such as rags.
Fibrillation - the act of
breaking up the surface of cellulose fibres
during the beating process.
Filler - material added to the beating
stage to fill in the pores of the fibre, producing a harder
Finish - term used when describing
the nature of the surface of the sheet.
Finishing - process of imparting
the final surface to the sheet.
Flong - board used for forming
Foils - tapered strips of plastic
fitted under the moving wire of a Fourdrinier machine to scrape off excess water
and drain the sheet more quickly.
Form - old name for the mould.
Forming - the action of making a
sheet of paper by dipping the mould into a vat of
pulp, the water drains through
the cover leaving the pulp on the surface.
Fourdrinier - name applied to
the papermachine after the Fourdrinier brothers who financed its early
development. It produces a continuous web of paper and was developed by Bryan
Donkin from the original invention of Nicholas-Louis Robert.
Free - pulp from
which water will drain easily when on the mould.
Furnish - raw material from which paper
is manufactured, particularly the fibre or blend of fibres.
Gampi - Diplomorpha spp, plant
used for papermaking, the fibres are long and thin and
difficult to fibrillate.
Gelatine - nitrogenous constituent
of skin, bones, and hooves of animals, used as a size added
to the dry sheet, has the added effect of strengthening the surface of the
Glaze - gloss or polish on a sheet of
paper. See also Plate glazing.
Grain - alignment of fibres
in a sheet of paper caused by the flow of the web of wet
paper in cylinder or Fourdrinier
Grinder - machine used to prepare
mechanical wood pulp, consisting of a revolving grindstone against which the
debarked logs are pressed to disintegrate them.
Ground wood - pulp produced by
Half stuff - partially broken or
beaten fibres for papermaking. See also Stuff.
Hemp - Cannabis sativa, one of
the oldest fibres recorded in use in papermaking, the fibres are strong and
inclined to split in the beating process.
Hollander - see Beater.
Hog - wooden paddle used to keep the fibre
in suspension in the vat, later replaced by a mechanical
paddle in the base of the vat.
Hot pressed - one of three
traditional finishes of hand made paper. Originally
produced by pressing the paper between hot metal plates, later by plate
Hydration - process of take up of
water by the fibres through crushing and fibrillation
Hydropulper - vat
with a machine driven agitator or cutter used to reduce fibres
to pulp and aid hydration.
Insides - the best paper regardless
of type, the sheets used as the inside quires of a ream,
the paper being packed with the best paper protected by lower quality paper top
and bottom of the ream, the outsides.
machine - produces thick sheets of board by winding the paper as it
comes from either a Fourdrinier or a cylinder mould machine onto a roller. When
sufficiently thick the web is cut along the length of the roller and pulled off.
Jordan - machine for reducing or
making finer the stock or pulp before it passes to the papermachine. It has a
cone set with knives around its circumference which rotates within another also
set with knives. Invented by J Jordan, Hartford, Connecticut, USA in 1859.
Jute - Corchorus capsularis, plant
source of fibre, the fibres are strong and do not fibrillate
or bleach easily.
Kaolin - fine white clay used as a filler.
Knots - small lumps of badly beaten
or twisted fibres in the pulp.
Knotter - appliance with vibrating
screens for removing knots or lumps from the pulp.
Kollergang - German name for an
edgerunner used in pulping materials in papermaking.
Kõzo - Broussonetia spp, several
species of the paper mulberry used in papermaking, the fibres
are long and sinewy.
Laid lines - close light lines
in laid paper formed by the laid wires of the laid
mould or dandy roll.
Laid papers - those which, when
held up to the light, have a ribbed or lined effect due to the paper being made
on a mould made with a cover of closely placed parallel laid wires to form the
sieve through which the water drains.
Laid mould - mould
made with close fine laid wires fastened to wider spaced stronger chain wires
running at right angles producing a paper with a slightly ribbed surface to one
side of the paper.
Laminated paper - two or
more sheets of paper couched together directly on top of
Layer - person who separates the
sheets of hand made paper from the felts on which they have
Lignin - unwanted part of woody
plants, can cause degradation later in the life of the paper.
Linen - Linum usitatissimum, term
covers either flax or linen as a source of fibre, often in
the form of rags. The fibres are hard and fibrillate
Linters - three grades of cotton
fibres obtained from the cotton plant after the ginning operation and used in
papermaking: first cut or lint, mill cut and second cut. The fibres are short
and do not need much refining.
Liquor - general term for chemical
solutions, but in paper making chiefly used for alkaline solutions.
Litress - kind of smooth cartridge
paper made in two sizes, Royal and
Foolscap, used for drawing.
Loading - non-cellulose
material added to the pulp, e.g. smalts
added to rags to make them appear whiter or china clay added
to bulk up the fibre and act as an aid to ink retention.
Look-through - structural
appearance of a sheet of paper observed when viewed by transmitted light.
Louvres (or luffers) - shutters in
the drying loft allowing circulation of air.
Macerate - bruising of fibres
during the beating process.
Manila - plant also known as 'abaca', the whole plant is used for papermaking and yields several qualities of
Maturing - see curing.
Mechanical wood pulp -
pulp prepared by purely mechanical means, e.g., by grinding logs of wood.
M G or Yankee machine - has a
single highly polished steam heated drying cylinder to which the sheet of paper
adheres as it dries and receives a smooth surface on the cylinder side of the
Millboard - heavyweight boards
made from hemp and flax fibres and/or fibre refuse.
Mitsumata - Edgeworthia spp, plant
used as a source of papermaking fibre, the fibres are fine
and relatively short.
Mould - rectangular wooden frame
covered with either a laid or wove wire surface used for forming sheets of paper
Newsprint - name for paper used
for printing newspapers, the cheapest type made.
Not - traditional paper finish,
slightly rough and unglazed, produced by pressing wet paper
against itself after the first wet press.
Opacity - quality of a paper
related to the amount of light that can be transmitted through its surface.
Outsides - second quality paper
used top and bottom of a ream to protect the best quality
paper, the insides.
Pack or wad - may be either the
pile of wet sheets assembled by the layer after separation
from the felts or a small number
of sheets piled up ready for glazing.
Paper-hanging - obsolescent
term for wallpaper.
Pasteboard - general term for
cardboard formed by pasting fine papers to either side of a middle of inferior
Picker - person who examines
finished paper for defects.
Picking - property of paper to
release surface fibres during printing operations.
Plate glazing - method of
producing a smooth surface on sheets of generally hand made paper by placing
them between polished plates of zinc or copper and passing the pack
back and forth
with slight friction between pressing rollers.
Plate paper - paper designed
for copperplate printing.
Post - term applied to a pile of
sheets, normally 144 but varying in number, of wet pulp, fresh from the mould,
just made into paper couched with alternate felts
and ready for pressing.
Potcher - one of a series of
beaters or engines used in washing and preparing pulp, especially applies to
Potching stick - used to
move pulp around in a beater or vat.
Presse pâté - machine
almost identical to the wet end of a Fourdrinier used to turn wood
sheets which can be transported to another mill for making into the final paper.
Pressing papers - rag
and rope based papers or boards, sometimes heavily glazed,
used for pressing or resurfacing woollen cloth.
Printings - papers designed for
Pulp - the aqueous stuff containing
disintegrated cellulose fibre from which paper is made.
Quire - originally a quantity of
twenty-four sheets of paper, now measured at twenty-five sheets.
Rags - formerly the principal raw
material for making paper, now rarely used except for very high quality papers.
Could be linen or cotton but by association also includes
jute, sailcloth and
Ramie - Boehmeria nivea, plant
commonly referred to as 'China grass' used as a source of fibre
Rattle - sound produced by shaking a
sheet of paper indicating its hardness.
Ream - term used for a quantity of
sheets of paper, traditionally twenty quires (480 sheets)
of paper but could vary with the type of paper. Now consists of 500 sheets.
Ream wrappers - sheets of
coarse paper used to wrap a ream of paper.
Reel - general term for the revolving
frame or drum which receives the paper coming off the machine.
Refining - was originally beating
out any lumps left in the pulp before it passed to the papermachine but is now
used for the final beating of wood pulp. See Disc
Resilience - property of paper
that allows it to return to normal after distortion.
Retree - sheets of paper with minor
Retting - term applied to the
process of soaking flax in water to rot the hard stems to ease the process of beating
into fibres. The process can also be applied to rags. See fermentation.
Ribs - thin bars of wood which support
the wire cover of a mould, normally
across the narrow way and in a laid mould support the chain
Rosin - used in the sizing
of paper, usually as an engine size but occasionally
as a tub size.
Rough - traditional paper finish,
formed by the weave of the felts during the wet
Rough shake - used to describe
a sheet of paper in which the fibres are distributed at
random, as in hand made papers.
Salle - room in the paper mill where
sorting, curing and packing of paper took place.
Seconds - term for imperfect
sheets. See also retree and outsides.
Shadow watermarks -
formed on a woven wire cover by pressing it into higher or
lower areas to form a pattern. The paper in the lower areas is thicker and in
the higher areas is thinner. When looked through this produces dark and light
areas in the watermark. Portraits and pictures can be made with this process and
are often used in security papers. Also sometimes known as chiaroscuro
Shadow zone - thicker area in
the sheet of paper formed either side of the ribs on a single-faced
mould by the
water being drawn out and attracting more fibres.
Shake - sideways movement of a hand
mould by the vatman or the wire of a papermachine to interlock the
still suspended in the pulp.
Sheet - piece of paper or board,
Shives (or sheaves) - specks in
finished paper caused by impurities in the raw materials.
Silurian - term for paper which
has flecks in it, often material or threads.
Single-faced mould - mould
on which the wire cover sits directly on the ribs.
Size - originally a solution of glue
or gelatine but later any substance that reduces the rate at which paper absorbs
water or ink. Can be applied by coating the finished sheet or by addition to the
pulp before forming. See also tub-sized
Sizing - process of treating the
paper with size.
Slice - opening through which pulp is
poured onto the wire of a Fourdrinier.
Slushing - first dispersion of raw
materials in water by agitation.
Smalts - finely powdered cobalt blue
glass used in loading.
Soda process - alkaline
treatment of wood for the production of chemical
wood pulp by digesting the fibres under pressure with a solution of caustic
Spur - group of sheets (from 3 to 38) dried together
as a wad in the drying loft.
Stamper - early machine for making pulp,
consisting of several sets of large wooden hammers falling into mortars filled
with rags. Superseded by the beater.
Stationer - originally a
tradesman who had a station or shop, as distinct from an itinerant vendor,
formerly a book-seller, or publisher, or both, but now only a tradesman who
sells writing materials.
Stock - see pulp.
Strainer - screens to filter out
impurities from the pulp.
Strawboard - cheap coarse board
made on a multi-cylinder machine from incompletely
Stuff - paper stock or pulp
ready for making into paper. See also half stuff.
Stuff chest - large supply tank
with an agitator in which the stuff
is stored before passing to the vat or machine.
Suction or vacuum boxes -
placed under the end of the wire on a Fourdrinier to
draw out the water from the pulp or paper passing over them.
Suction couch roll -
perforated revolving bronze shell passing over a suction box
which serves to further extract water from the sheet of pulp
Sulphate process - method
of cooking wood chips generally in sulphate of soda to produce chemical
wood pulp, introduced by Dahl in 1884.
Sulphite process - process
of pulping wood with sulphurous acid in closed vessels at high pressure.
Super-calender - set or
stack of rollers separate to the papermachine to smooth paper, may have heated
rolls. See also Calender.
Tearing wire - thick wire
fixed to a mould producing a thinner line of paper to
facilitate tearing into two sheets. Can also apply to a cylinder
Texture - surface of the sheet, can
be altered at various stages of the papermaking process.
- made by heating chips of wood under pressure.
Titanium dioxide - loading
agent giving a degree of whiteness and opacity to a sheet.
Trebles (or tribbles) - racks of
drying ropes often covered with horse or cow hair, used to dry paper in the drying
loft. May also be hessian screens used to dry paper flat.
Tub-sized - refers to sizing
applied to paper by soaking it in a solution of hot gelatine
and alum after it has been formed,
pressed, dried and allowed to cure.
Twin-wire - name applied to
duplex paper made on a pair of Fourdrinier machines
but joined while still wet in so that the two wire sides come together producing
a sheet with the outer surfaces the same.
Vat - originally the tank containing
the stuff from which hand made paper was produced but later
also applied to the tank in which the cylinder of a mould
machine is partially immersed.