The History of Writing- Paper

One of the best ways the world has to remember things is to write them down; as long as a person has a writing implement, they can write whatever is on their mind down on almost any surface.


Indeed, there have been a variety of surfaces available throughout history:


Wax Tablets

This is a tablet made of wood and covered with a layer of wax. It was used as a writing service in Antiquity to the Middle Ages. Writing on wax tablets was usually done with a stylus. They were used for a variety of purposes, from taking notes to recording accounts.


Bamboo and Wooden Slips

These were the main document materials in China before the introduction of paper; the earliest examples date from the 5th century BC. They typically carried a single column of writing each.


Birch Bark

“Birchbark” means the bark of several species of birch trees. The bark is strong and water-resistant; it can be cut, bent, and sewn. In terms of writing purposes, it has been used for paper, scrolls, maps, and manuscripts.



Papyrus is similar to thick paper, which made it an ideal writing surface in ancient times. The first use of papyrus is known to have been in Egypt; in addition to writing, the Egyptians used papyrus for reed boats, mats, rope, and baskets.



Vellum is a writing material made of prepared animal skin; it is usually made from calfskin. It was used to prepare things like single pages, scrolls, codices, and books.


Clay Tablets

Clay tablets were used in the ancient Near East, from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age; they were particularly used for writing in cuneiform. The writing was done on the tablet by imprinting characters on a wet tablet, usually with a stylus; the tablets were then either dried in the sun or air, or they were fired in hot kilns.


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