The history of writing began about 5,000 years ago. Markedly different types of materials were painted, written on, chiselled into, scored or stamped. Only until about 100 years ago, paper was, like its forerunners papyrus and parchment, very valuable. Today, it is the most important, least expensive and lightest available writing medium.
The permanent Paper Technology exhibition focuses on the history and cultural uses of this versatile material - next to the sheet forming process in which a sheet of paper is formed from a milky, flaky fluid.
Paper was invented in China 2,000 years ago. Different techniques then spread by way ot the silk road all the way to North Africa and Europe. Paper was and is still today made with fibres, mainly from plants, and water. In the process, climatic conditions influenced the choices of raw material and the production methods.
Papermaking in Europe began in southern Spain and Italy in the 11th century. The first German paper mill, the Gleismühle, was founded in 1390 in Nürnberg by Ulrich Stromer. The basic raw material used was fabric fibre (rags).
In order to satisfy the increasing demand for paper, more and more production processes involving fibre preparation and production of the paper itself were, beginning in the 17th century, taken over by machines. The use of wood as the raw material for paper began around 1840. Paper could then be produced in larger amounts and at less expense. The introduction of computers, word processors and electric storage media have led to lasting changes – for producers as well as for consumers.
In our paper factory children over 8 years old, adolescents and small groups can make paper by hand under the supervision of a guide. For this purpose there are six feedings troughs set up in the former horse stall in which the exhibition takes place that serve as paper scooping basins. There are two wheelchair accessible work stations as well.