What is a paper watermark?
Watermarks are designs or patterns put into paper during its production,
by making thinner
or thicker the layer of pulp when it is still wet.
Paper watermarks can be seen holding the paper against the light or, in
some cases, over a black surface. Usually, they show the manufacturers name, and geometric
designs, or images of animals, etc.
The object of watermarks in paper is, essentially, identifying the
paper, as a signature of the manufacturer, or as a security measure to avoid forgery of important
documents as bank notes, passports, entry tickets, etc.
Today, good quality writing paper, as well as art drawing paper or paper
for bibliophile publishing, usually carry an identifying watermark. Nevertheless, it is easier to
find watermarks in old papers from envelopes, letters, books... Indeed, watermarks are a good help in
the study of old documents, as they can suggest their origin or date.
Links to very good websites
about watermarks in paper
International Association of Paper Historians
The IPH integrates professionals of different branches and all friends
of paper within the field of ?paper history. It coordinates all interests and activities in paper
history as an international specialist association co-operating with international, regional and local
organizations not only of paper historians but also of keepers of archives and libraries, conservators, art
historians, specialists in books, printing and technology, associations of the paper industry, the publishing trade
etc., including handicraft and artistic activities in connection with paper.
Federation of Great Britain
The Paper Federation of Great Britain is the trade association
representing UK manufacturers of pulp, paper and board. Site includes industry key statistics.
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