19th century paper watermarks

Technology for papermaking was revised over the centuries, but changed dramatically in the 19th century Figs. The working and aesthetic qualities of paper, which are the result of the interaction of all aspects of the papermaking process also changed. They reflect an aesthetic developed as a result of the machine and a technology that is capable of matching that aesthetic.

19th century paper watermarks

19th century paper watermarks

Watermarks are designs or patterns put into paper during its production, by making thinner line or wire watermarks or thicker shadow watermarks the layer of pulp when it is still wet. Paper watermarks can be seen holding the paper against the light or, in some cases, over a black surfece.

The object of watermarks in paper is, essentialy, identifying the paper, as a signature of the manufacturer, or as a security measure to avoid forgery of important documents as bank notes, passports, entry tickets, etc.

Today, good quality writing paper, as well as art drawing paper or paper for bibliophile publishing, usually carry an identifying watermark.

Neverthless, it is easier to find watermarks in old papers from envelopes, letters, books Indeed, watermarks are a good help in the study of old documents, as they can suggest their origin or date. As any other thing, watermarks, or papers carrying a watermark, may be collected as a hobby.

Some watermarks, from the collection of the author of this site. The classification is not definitive; will be revised as new images are added.

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Links to sites with information about paper watermarks, and also to sites with references about paper in general. The background image is a laid paper. This is, a paper with a watermark through its whole surface, consisting of a pattern of dense horizontal lines crossed by another ones at right angles.In the early 19th century when paper was made by hand, a watermark was produced when thin wire was shaped into a design or letters, and then sewn into the mold used to make the paper.

When a sheet of paper was held up to the light, the watermark could be read.

Hunting for Watermarks | Smithsonian Institution Archives

Sadly, with the advent of large scale paper manufacturing at the end of the 19th century, the ancient craft of making paper by hand nearly came to an end in America. The art of watermarking all but vanished and the tradition was on the verge of collapse.

19th century paper watermarks

Some watermark motifs remained popular for a century or more, such as the Arms of Amsterdam in use for years. l5 In addition, popular watermarks were imitated in many countries, so the Arms of Amsterdam may appear on German or Italian paper. Web links. Arranged into sections: Associations paper specimens, watermarks, marbling, decorated paper, as well as books on bookbinding, printing, typography, etc.

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A predominantly American based organisation but useful for 19th and 20th century information on U.S. . Some watermark motifs remained popular for a century or more, such as the Arms of Amsterdam in use for years. l5 In addition, popular watermarks were imitated in many countries, so the Arms of Amsterdam may appear on German or Italian paper.

Sadly, with the advent of large scale paper manufacturing at the end of the 19th century, the ancient craft of making paper by hand nearly came to an end in America. The art of watermarking all but vanished and the tradition was on the verge of collapse.

Making Watermarks Meaningful: Significant Details in Recording and Identifying Watermarks