Who Invented Paper?

  • The word “paper” came from the word “papyrus.” Papyrus was a plant abundant in Egypt. However, the acknowledged inventor of paper was a Chinese. So remember, as far as who invented paper is concerned, according to recorded history, the answer is a Chinese. The account below is how paper began.


    T’sai Lun Of China is the Winner!

    About 105 A.D. (some say 2000 years ago), there was a man from Lei-Yang, China named T’sai Lun. He was a courtier. He separated the fibers of huge wet mush. Paper is a mixture of pulped wood fibers and cotton or flax. They are pressed together then dried under the sun. That was what he did. That was how paper began. He spread it on a cloth mat framed with bamboo. After the sun had dried up the fiber mixture a new product emerged—paper. Thus, it is a by-product of other materials.

    But Paper is not Papyrus

    T’sai Lun may have had competitors in Egypt before for the title of who invented paper. But after careful weighing of facts, it was unanimously decided that he was really the one who invented paper. The papyrus that the Egyptians used was not really paper; it was more the bark of a plant, a raw unprocessed material. Paper, by definition, is a processed material derived from several raw materials. So the first man on earth who came up with the brilliant idea of inventing paper was T’sai Lun.


    Earlier Records of Writing Materials

    To be sure, man had been using writing materials long before T’sai Lun invented paper. As in the case of other inventions, he developed other people’s works. Man first wrote on rocks, on cave walls, on wood, on stone tablets or wet clay, on tree barks, and several other materials. But who invented paper as we know the material today is none other than T’sai Lun. And his name alone is in recorded history as far as records of how paper began is concerned.

    T’sai Lun’s Legacy to Future Generations

    Perhaps, little did T’sai Lun realize that what he was making was about to benefit centuries of generations after him. Even in our modern computer and Internet age, we still rely heavily on his invention. Today, paper is produced in tons of rolls for global use. It comes in various types and texture, depending on the manner it will be used. This are all made possible by the invention of this Chinese thousands of years ago.