The Pioneer Memorial Museum ~ Rags and Paper Trivia

Daughters of the Utah Pioners
Items of Interest

Rags and Paper Trivia

  • 1851 - Deseret News suspended publication for three months, because of rags shortage.

  • 1854 - A papermaking mill established on Temple Square, Salt Lake City. Rags were used to make paper. The result was a thick, gray paper that was often streaked with colors from the old shirts, pants, and dresses used to make it.

  • 1860 - Paper making machine was installed at the old Sugar House Mill at 11th East and 21st South where it remained for more than twenty years.

  • 1861 July 24 - The first paper produced at Sugar House Paper Mill

  • 1882 - Sugar House Paper Mill closed and equipment was moved to the building in Cottonwood Canyon. This paper mill used aspen logs from Parley's and Big Cottonwood Canyons which were ground into pulp for paper rather than rags.

  • 1893 April 1 - The mill in Cottonwood Canyon was completely gutted by fire. Large-scale papermaking in Utah ended.

Paper Trivia - The World

  • The word "paper" comes from the name of the papyrus plant that grew wild along the Nile River in Egypt about 4,000 years ago. Ancient Egyptians used to pound the leaves flat and use them to write on.

  • Rags were the main source of papermaking fiber for centuries.

  • 1666 - in England, cotton and linen were prohibited from being used for burial shrouds in order to make them available for papermaking.

  • 1690 - Paper was first manufactured in the U.S. at the Rittenhouse Mill, Germantown, Pennsylvania.

  • 1700s - There was a shortage of rags to make paper. Nations passed laws forbidding rags to be taken out of the country. Rag smuggling became a lucrative profession.

  • 1770 - Ruled paper was first produced by machine by John Tetlow in England. Its first uses were for music paper an accounting ledgers. Before this, the rules had to be drawn out by hand.

  • 1855 - A New York scientist, Isaiah Deck, proposed that Egyptian mummy wrappings could be used to make paper.

  • 1860 - On the eve of the American Civil War the South was almost entirely dependent on the Northern paper mills for its paper supply. There were 555 paper mills in the United States in 1860, 24 were located in the South.

  • 1861-1865 - During the American Civil War, naval blockades caused newspaper offices to run out of paper to so some editions were printed on wallpaper.

Trivia for Today

  • TODAY - The average American uses about 749 pounds of paper and paper products each year

  • TODAY - On average, it takes 14 days for newsprint to leave the manufacturing mill, go to press, pass through the newsagent's hands, be bought and read, be taken to the recycling bin, and then arrive back at the mill.