The Fourdrinier Machine

In 1807 the Fourdrinier papermaking machine was patented in France. This machine worked by a continuous process: pulp was fed onto a belt of wire cloth that was continually moving so that the sheet was left on the surface while the water drained through the wire.

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The paper is smoothed on rotating heated cylinders, or calendars, and on to the reel. This is cut up into the appropriate length of sheets which are then traditionally counted into reams. The Fourdrinier brothers were able to increase their production of paper ten-fold, from 60 to 100 lb. per day by hand, to 1000 lb. per day using their new machine. Fifty years after the mechanisation of the process the price of paper had dropped by almost one half.

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