Saturday, April 21, 2012

A Story About Paper ...

When I was young, I always wondered where all the paper came from to make so many books. My older sister, Donna would walk me to the small public library in Massena, New York almost every Saturday afternoon. I'd lounge around the Children's Room and read picture books, browse  the children's encyclopedias on the reference shelves, and look at the bulletin board that always displayed pictures and blurbs from the various events that happened in the library during story hours and school vacations. Then, it would be time to choose a stack of five picture books to lug home for a week's worth of bedtime stories. There were always so many from which to choose!

I remember asking my Mom one time where all the paper came from. She wrinkled her nose and pointed North. "Can't you smell where it comes from?", she asked.  She was pointing towards Cornwall, Ontario. Whenever we had a breeze coming from the North, our noses were clogged with the sulphurous fumes of the paper pulp plant. It operated there for years during the last half of the 19th century and well into the 20th. I always thought it was funny that my mother told me that they made paper for books and my brother pinched his nose and contradicted her. He said they made toilet paper with the stink already set in!

He always was a real smart ass ...

                                                                                                                                                                                               Image courtesy of


Now that I'm grown, I know differently. Here's an interesting article on papermaking with much detail on the science and more than a bit of history ...

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