>Today I found a nice little book which presented me with a mystery. It is small (about 5.5 inches tall), bound in full leather, and bears only the title “Trades” and the date “1824” on the binding. Inside there is no title-page, or any other information about the book, only 62 plates with captions, relating to various early 19thC trades. A little digging tells me that these are likely plates from The Book of English Trades and Library of Useful Arts (London, 1824), which is the 12th edition of a work first published in 1804 under a slightly different title.
I thought I would use this to do a series on trades related to book production and distribution, in honor of our Updike collection on the history of books and printing. Here we have “the paper maker.”
The practice of making paper from linen rags was imported from China (it was in general use by 399 A.D.) west to Kashmir (6thC), Baghdad (793), Egypt (900), Morocco (1100), Spain (1150) and Italy (ca. 1270). North America did not produce paper until 1690 (though the Spanish were making it in Mexico in the 1570s).
The essential process did not change in Europe for four hundred years, and some fine paper makers still use variations of it.