Clues and Knowhow: Office Paper: Knowhow 6: A brief History of Paper
The name paper originates from the papyrus-shrub. More than 5.000 years ago, in Egypt, people cut strips from its marrow, merged them crossways, and battered them to get thin sheets. The escaping plant sap made the strips stick together. Script and pictures were applied with black color (soot and gum arabic) and red color (base material ochre).
Other cultures used silk, bamboo or animal skin for writing.
A groundbreaking method to produce paper was found in China about 100 A.D. Until then paper was produced using leftover silk, which was mixed with rags and mulberry bast fiber.
The Chinese official Tsai Lun invented a completely new procedure: The base materials were cleaned, pounded, cooked, and watered.
The emerging pulp was skimmed with a sieve and - just like in modern paper-production - dehydrated, pressed, and smoothed.