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    The invention of the Gutenberg printing press in 1440 started a steady increase in demand for paper. Until the mid-1800s, most paper pulp was made by collecting, cleaning, and beating discarded linen and cotton rags. Collection of rags was such a large and organized industry that companies were regulated by the government and workers had unions. Henry Mayhew described a grand banquet of the fraternal order of chiffonniers (rag-pickers).1 As literacy and printing technology improved, demand for paper outstripped supply, and the search for alternative sources of fiber began in earnest. For example, Jacob Christian Sha¨ffer, a noted clergyman and amateur botanist, in 1765 began releasing a six-volume treatise on new papermaking fibers.2 He explored the use of a wide range of natural materials to make paper and he bound samples of the paper in his books to demonstrate their quality. Ultimately Sha¨ffer started his own paper company.

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    Houtman, Carl. 2018. Lessons learned from 150 years of pulping wood. In: Beckham, Gregg T., ed. Energy and Environment Series No. 19: Lignin valorization: emerging approaches. Royal Society of Chemistry: 62-74. Chapter 3.


    Wood pulping, lignin isolation, lignin chemistry

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