The Fiber Wire

Plugged in and turned on. All paper. All the time.

The Song of the Papermakers

I got really lucky when I first was getting into papermaking. Shopping around on eBay one day I entered ‘paper maker’ into the search field. Scrolling down the results I saw a listing for twenty-four issues of a publication called The Paper Maker. The seller was a man in Oregon who had hundreds of sales to his credit but all in hand tools. He told me what he could; the magazines were found in a box in a friend’s barn, they were clean and showed no sign of mold, no smell of must. I had never heard of the publication either but when the man in Oregon told me there were hand papermaking and paper history articles I clicked ‘buy now’ without any more deliberation. What showed up on my doorstep was a wealth of articles, sometimes amusing and always informative.


I read more about the history of The Paper Maker publication in a book called The Paper Maker: A Survey of Lesser-Known Hand Paper Mills in Europe and North America, compiled and edited by Henry Morris. From 1932 to 1970, The Paper Maker was a mostly biannual publication of Hercules, Inc. and was originally intended to give technical information about the company’s products. By the 1940s it had become primarily a paper history journal, with noted historians like Dard Hunter, Kiyofusa Narita, Henk Voorn and Harry E. Weston (a past professor at SUNY-ESF) contributing articles. By the end of its almost 40 year run it had won distinctions from the National Industrial Advertising Association and was well-regarded for its high standard of design and quality content.

Here is an article by Henk Voorn about his 1963 visit to Père Mathevon of Longechaud, France. During this visit, the 82-year-old Père sang an old papermakers’ song to Henk and other members of the International Association of Paper Historians. Click on the image below and it will take you to the PDF of the article. Enjoy!

la chanson

The above PDF is a scan of:
Voorn, Henk. “Tears of an Old Papermaker.” The Paper Maker 39, no. 1 (1970): 40-45.
All Rights Reserved by Hercules Incorporated. Prompt removal upon request.

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