T’sai Lun of China invented paper around 2000 years back. Historians believe that in 3500 B. C. Egyptians first discovered paper. It was made from a reedy plant papyrus which grew around river Nile in Egypt. It was from this plant only that the name paper was derived. The first standardized paper was first invented by a Chinese courtier T’sai Lun who was incharge of manufacturing instruments in the Imperial court of Emperor Han Ho Ti. Paper invention brought a lot of wealth and respect to T’sai Lun but he got involved in some case and was sentenced to prison where he consumed poison and died.
The idea of paper invention came to him while he saw a wasp making a nest. The ingredients that he used for paper making were inner bark of mulberry bush, bamboo fibers and rags. He presented the first sheet of paper to the emperor Han Ho Ti. For centuries the Chinese kept paper making a secret. It was in 8th century that Arabs learnt of this technique when they won a war against China, then they carried the technique to Spain and by late 14th century it became known to the Europeans.
It was not until 19th century that people learnt to make paper from wood pulp. Most of the paper now made is out of wood only. The best paper use cotton or linen rags. The production of paper around the world is more than 280 million pounds a year.