100 Greatest Science Inventions of All Time

By Kendall Haven | Go to book overview

Paper
Year of Invention: A.D. 105

What Is It? A smooth, flexible surface made from cellulose (plant-based) fiber
used to write and draw on.

Who Invented It? Ts’ai Lun (in China)


Why Is This Invention One of the 100 Greatest?

How many pieces of paper do you touch, read, or look at in a day? How many paper bags, paper plates, paper napkins, paper towels, pieces of toilet paper, cardboard containers, or corrugated containers do you use? Cheap, plentiful paper made writing and art practical and possible as part of daily life.

The availability of paper made written language possible. Paper has shaped and molded the way we communicate and the way we organize our societies. Paper has defined the way we store, safeguard, and share our history and information. Amazingly, 19 of the other 99 of these 100 greatest science inventions directly depend on paper, and 48 of them indirectly depend on paper.


History of the Invention

What Did People Do Before?

People wrote on clay tablets and on dried sheepskins long before paper existed. But these were not available to ordinary people, and writing was the privilege of official scholars. By 3000 B.C., Egyptians were making writing scrolls from the peeled and pressed fibers of papyrus plants. By this same time, the Chinese were making a writing material called tapa from the peeled, dried, and pounded inner bark of mulberry, fig, or daphne (a kind of laurel) trees. Both the Chinese and the Egyptian writing surfaces were reasonably smooth, flexible, strong, and durable. However, like sheepskin parchment and vellum, they were available only in a limited supply and were too expensive for common use.


How Was Paper Invented?

Ts’ai Lun was a councilor in the royal court of Chinese emperor Ho Ti during the Han Dynasty. He was also a scientist. In the year A.D. 104 the emperor dumped a problem into Ts’ai Lun’s lap. Tapa making was a slow, labor intensive process. Bark supplies were limited. The emperor ordered Ts’ai Lun to create better, more plentiful paper.

-21-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
100 Greatest Science Inventions of All Time
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 336

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.