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Random Facts About Paper

image of a paper reel being manufactured

Random Facts about Paper

  • Walter Scott’s Waverley novels were printed on Valleyfield paper.
  • Robert Louis Stevenson used notebooks made in Penicuik.
  • The sailing ship Cutty Sark carried Penicuik paper to Australia in the 1870s.
  • During World War II, special reflective paper was developed in secret at Valleyfield Mill. It was dropped by British planes to hide other aircraft from enemy fire and to deflect enemy searchlights.
  • Lightweight paper was manufactured in the 1840s to circumvent weight restrictions imposed by Royal Mail.
  • Penicuik paper was used in the manufacture of gun cartridges. Other uses were developed for this type of paper, which became known as cartridge paper.
  • Some types of paper were named after local landmarks, eg Silverburn linen, Loganvale Parchment, Monksburn.
  • One of the ships involved in the ill-fated Darien expedition of 1698 was reported to be carrying ‘Penicuik Gray Paper’ although most sources state that papermaking did not start in the town until 1709.

    Rags make paper
    Paper makes money
    Money makes banks
    Banks make loans
    Loans make beggars
    Beggars make rags
    [Anon 19th century]

  • ‘To compare a papermill of 300 years ago with one of the present day is like trying to compare a coracle to a modern liner.’ Robert Waterston, ‘Early papermaking near Edinburgh’ Book of the Old Edinburgh Club, Volume 25.