KOOPS, Matthias.

Historical Account of the Substances which have been used to describe Events and to convey Ideas, from the earliest Date to the Invention of Paper. Second Edition. Printed on Paper re-made from old printed and written Paper … London: Printed by Jacques and Co. … 1801.

Published: London: Printed by Jacques and Co. … 1801

Date: 1801

Second edition, the first book to be printed on recycled paper. In 1800-01 the naturalized English paper-maker Matthias Koops, working from the Neckinger Mill in Bermondsey, was granted patents for extracting ink from waste paper and for converting the waste into pulp to make good white paper suitable for printing (hitherto it was only of use for pasteboard). The patents also covered the manufacture of paper ‘from straw, hay, thistles, waste and refuse of hemp and flax, and different kinds of wood and bark’, without the need for scarce linen and cotton rags. To promote his venture Koops published this history of early writing materials and alphabets, with an account of his new papers at the beginning and in the Appendix. The first edition, 1800, was printed on straw and wood pulp paper; this second edition was the first book to be printed on recycled paper. Anticipating success, Koops moved his business across the river, establishing The Straw Manufactory in Millbank. The enterprise was over-ambitious and under-capitalized, and Koops faced bankruptcy in 1804, the year before he died. It was, of course, forensic examination of wood pulp in paper that led in part to Carter and Pollard’s exposure of the forged T. J. Wise pamphlets.


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