Watermarks & Foolscaps: Exploring the History of Paper Production

Watermarks & Foolscaps: Exploring the History of Paper Production

Having a basic knowledge of paper is important for collectors and dealers. Many fakes and reprints are identified as the paper is too modern or the wrong type for the print to be an original. This following a brief look at some important types of paper throughout history. While the type and age of the paper can help determine the authenticity of a print, it is not in and of itself proof. Some forgers use old paper. However, many prints, collectibles and documents are identified as fakes because the paper used is too modern or otherwise inconsistent with the original. It is also often known exactly what kind, even brand, of paper famous artists used for their valuable prints. For an original Picasso print, it is often known exactly what kind and brand of paper, and even watermark, he used. Thus, many fakes are easily identified.

Dating a Document through Watermarks

Southworth has been using date codes on most of our watermarked grades since at least The reason for the date code is so that Southworth can tell what year the paper was made. Southworth has received numerous calls asking if we can determine when a particular sheet of our paper was made. On approximately half of the calls we receive, we identify that the paper was made after the document states it was written. One of the calls that Southworth received was from Mr.

Marvin H.

Paper research can – as can printing type – provide a dating within a range of years rather than decades. Identification of paper stocks however, has long been​.

Watermarks are the most important tool for dating undated documents written on paper. Hence, catalogues and databases of watermarks play an eminent role for the work of medievalist and paper historians. The proposed project has the aim to improve this tool in two directions. One is the development of a distributed watermark database and processing system, which allows the access to local watermark databases with different structures in different locations and the processing of images from different sources.

This will make possible the remote access to watermarks from different collections and sources. The common access to watermarks in Russian and western European libraries will be of major benefit for historians of both sides. Russian libraries keep a lot of manuscripts and early printed books from West Europe.

LIMA: Watermark Databases

It is mainly used for documents whose authenticity is important and to produce other papers in which it forms a decorative element. In the past, paper mills used watermarks as their seal to trace paper origin and quality. You could say that they were used like logos are today. These characters are basic and simple.

The dating of paper used for maps starts in earnest with the work of. Edward Heawood who Heawood’s interest in watermarks and in sixteenth-century Italian.

The presence of such a watermark can help establish the date and place that an artwork was made, but only if significant features of the watermark are recognized and recorded. A project of documenting and identifying watermarks for an exhibition catalogue at the National Gallery of Art showed us that there is much to learn about the study and interpretation of watermarks in paper. I would like to share with you some of the significant details to look for in a watermarked sheet, how to try to identify a watermark, and some problems in interpreting information given for published watermarks.

I have included an annotated bibliography of some useful reference books as well as a few articles by some of the foremost current researchers in paper history. The basis of the study of watermarks is that at a given period of time a specific paper mill would have on hand a limited number of papermaking molds, and these molds had a finite useful life. The practice in European mills was to have a pair of molds for each size of paper produced.

In the papermaking work rhythm, the vatman immersed one mold in the vat while the coucher, his partner, couched the previously formed sheet off the other mold onto felts. Each mold generally had attached to it a bent-wire mark serving to indicate the paper’s origin, size, or quality. Often additional countermarks were also attached to the mold. Each of these handmade wire marks varied slightly and produced a distinctive watermark recognizable by slight variations in the mark’s shape, size, placement, and points of attachment to the mold surface, as well as by the spacing of the chain lines and laid lines.

So there will be two recognizable “twin” watermarks for each pair of molds. In watermarks of the 18th century much finer wire attaches the mark and sewing dots become almost imperceptible. In producing common paper sizes, a mill would use that size pair of molds frequently, causing wear and damage to the wire mark and mold.

Learning to “read” old paper

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Coherent dating of drawings not directly connected to dated panels; Common paper supplies, thus common pictorial media; Tentative attribution when a.

The watermark is not a modern innovation, nor was it created to prevent counterfeiting. It was a medieval creation, one used primarily to show the maker of the paper, but also the place in which the paper was made, and less often when the paper was made. For this blog, I would like to discuss the risks of this third purpose of medieval watermarking- using watermarking as a means to date paper.

I will rely upon two manuscript collections of the Rijksarchief te Gent, numbers K91 and K98, to demonstrate the uncertainty of watermark dating. The watermark collection is indeed just that- a bundle of loose leaves of paper, that for the most part, are not medieval at all. In examining the bundle of paper, one sees watermarks with an assigned date of the mark in the top left corner of the page, ranging from the late fourteenth to the late fifteenth century.

However, most of the paper upon which these watermarks are imprinted or drawn are from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, with some drawings added later on carbon paper in the twentieth century. As one can see below, the watermarks have been impressed on the paper, with the top sheet having an outline of the watermark done in pencil, and later sheets having only the watermark itself. The archival inventory reads as if this collection of watermarks has been consistently compiled from the late fourteenth century by St.

Instead, the collection is a later, early modern creation used a means of dating the watermarks used in earlier centuries. But how effective and accurate are these watermark dates?

A Distributed Database and Processing System for Watermarks

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The following Cranes Crest watermarks contain dating indicators in the form of underscores in “CRANES” as indicated by the arrows. A call to the manufacturer​.

Watermarks are translucent impressions on paper, created by wires attached to the papermaking mould. They were and are used to identify the maker of the paper, and sometimes where and when the paper was made. Watermarks were produced in a wide variety of shapes and styles, ranging from geometric designs to images of animals, flowers, national symbols such as the fleur-de-lis of France , and words or names. The watermark wire shape was attached to the paper mould by being sewed to the laid wires horizontal and chain wires vertical with fine wire; this caused “sewing dots” to be impressed on the paper along with the watermark.

The combination of watermark shape, positioning on the sheet and sewing dot pattern can be used to identify the manufacturer of the paper, as well as the geographic area where it was produced and the approximate date of manufacture. There is considerable uncertainty inherent in this identification, however; watermark evidence alone can only provide clues, not precise facts. The uncertainties of watermark analysis include:.

The same papermaker may have used several different watermarks. The same mark may have been used by the same or a different papermaker at times separated by decades. The watermark shape changed gradually as the mould was used, and sometimes the watermark wire broke and was repaired, changing the shape. Paper was sometimes manufactured years before it was used.

Looking at Art, Artifacts and Ideas

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The present invention relates to cheque paper and preparation method thereof, particularly relate to one ” color watermark ” water-mark fake-proof paper and preparation method thereof. Water-mark fake-proof paper is the cheque paper of at present extensive use, and bank-note paper is exactly the Typical Representative of water-mark fake-proof paper. Traditional water-mark fake-proof paper great majority are white paper, and also having is chromatics paper on a small quantity.

No matter white paper or chromatics paper, its technical characterictic is: watermark part and paper part are made up of the paper pulp of same color. Although this paper possesses antiforge function, but the information age of constantly updating in scientific and technical develop rapidly, due to the anti-counterfeiting power deficiency of this cheque paper, so the phenomenon that RMB is faked, invoice is faked happens occasionally, economic order and people’s lives are upset.

In order to improve the anti-counterfeiting power of water-mark fake-proof paper, meet the false proof market demand of cracking down on counterfeit goods, goal of the invention one of the present invention be to provide a kind of for watermark part colored paper pulp, the white paper pulp of other parts there is anti-fraud functional ” color watermark ” water-mark fake-proof paper, two are to provide one ” color watermark ” manufacture method of water-mark fake-proof paper.

A kind of ” color watermark ” water-mark fake-proof paper, described cheque paper is at least made up of two-layer fiber, and ground floor is the basal layer of white paper pulp composition, and the second layer is the color watermark layer that colored paper pulp forms, and color watermark layer and white basis layer are at cylinder. The wet end of paper machine is compound, and forming one side is white, and another side is that white substrate and colored paper pulp form ” color watermark ” water-mark fake-proof paper.

A kind of preparation method of ” color watermark ” water-mark fake-proof paper, the method is used twin cylinder machine or three cylinder mould machines to produce, and the steps include:. Net; What conventional Heisui River was printed to net is not the part of watermark recovery, uses resin-coating. Make it can not drainage, also just can not hang paper pulp, form color watermark net;. As the preferred version of technique scheme, the copper mesh of color watermark net is selected 40 object annealing nets.

As the preferred version of technique scheme, the resin of coating is selected zapon or polyurethane paint, after being diluted, uses. As the preferred version of technique scheme, the cylinder part of described twin cylinder machine or three cylinder mould machines installs coarse cotton cloth absorbent box additional.

Making Watermarks Meaningful: Significant Details in Recording and Identifying Watermarks

There are two main ways of producing watermarks in paper; the dandy roll process , and the more complex cylinder mould process. Watermarks vary greatly in their visibility; while some are obvious on casual inspection, others require some study to pick out. Various aids have been developed, such as watermark fluid that wets the paper without damaging it.

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Log in. Encountered in the course of research on multiple subjects, these Specimens demonstrate usages which may range widely in terms of geographical locations, purposes, languages, and dates or date-ranges. Some specimens are dated or datable. Some not necessarily the same as those are more or less localizable. Some have appeared on this site in blogposts, galleries, and the like. For example, see our blog and its Contents List. The variety may reveal, for example, the use of a given watermark in many different locations and at multiple dates in Western and non-Western settings.

Identifying watermarks with a known, likely, or surmised place and span of production may also revise conjectural dates assigned to particular cases of use on stylistic grounds of script or decoration. Thus, a watermark of a known or approximately known date-range could establish that the written or printed production of the item must postdate the conjectured assignment.


Watermarks vary greatly in their visibility; while some are obvious on casual inspection, others require some study to pick out. Various aids have dating developed, such as watermark learning that wets the paper without damaging it. A watermark is very useful in the paper of paper because it watermarks be used for dating, identifying sizes, mill trademarks and locations, and determining the quality of a sheet of paper. The word is also used dating digital practices that share similarities with physical watermarks.

In one case, overprint watermarks computer-printed output may be used to identify output watermarks an unlicensed trial version of a program.

For centuries paper manufacturers have often distinguished their product by means of watermarks.A watermark is a design in paper made by.

Watermarks are often obscured under text, but in this case I was lucky, as it happened to coincide with the blank portion of a folding plate. Most of the watermarks I’d seen had been smaller, simpler and more condensed, so I was immediately fascinated by this sprawling, seemingly abstract symbol. First, some background on watermarks. A wire mesh mould was lowered into this mixture and lifted out several times.

As the water drained through the mesh it deposited thin layers of fibers on the mould. You can see evidence of the wire mesh in the image above: the vertical lines the ones that look like the watermark, not the folds in the paper are called chain lines, and the more frequent horizontal lines are called laid lines.

They appear when light is shining from behind because the paper is thinner in the places where a wire was. Sure enough, the Thomas L.


You can print the following five types of information: “Date”, “Pages”, “Stamp”, “Text”, and “Watermark”. You can print pre-set text or any characters as the text. If the selected stamp of one position overlaps the stamp of another position, priority will be given in the order; watermark, right side, left side, and center. Content that is hidden due to overlapping will not be printed. Text will be printed at the preset size regardless of the copy ratio or paper size setting.

Rare Book School student dipping a European-style paper mold Detail of modern laid paper with lion watermark (and the date , not.

Current obsession: watermarks! Iowa Center for the Book papermaking facility; above right: the resulting sheet of handmade paper with backlit watermark visible]. If you are not familiar with the process of hand papermaking, here is a look at a paper production at a mill in Maidstone, Kent, England [Hayle Mill, run by Barcham Green and family].

Another video poetically describes a papermaking mill in Puymoyen [southwest France, the region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine]. If I were a scribe in 15th-c. Though an individual mould only lasted about a year [in full production], a watermark symbol was remade again and again on new moulds associated with a given paper mill. Watermarks also wore out over the course of a year, changing slightly in shape and definition. More on the book in a future post! So, if I find a watermark in a manuscript on paper, and locate it in Briquet, it will tell me what other documents and books on paper contain that watermark and what archives in Europe hold these — and provide a date if possible [but cannot specify the mill or location the paper came from].

Watermarks can be helpful in supporting or denying other evidence about the manuscript in question — and providing a general date for undated manuscripts.

General WaterMark paper Video

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