In ancient times, two techniques were used to create a material for drawings and texts. In Egypt, papyrus produced from reeds and in Europe and Asia Minor, parchment, made of calf or goat skin, were used to transmit written texts.
A little history of paper
But it was in China, in about 105 AD, that paper as we know it today was created, made from a mixture of rags and bark. History tells us that after losing a battle to the Arabs, the Chinese had to reveal the secret to making paper. The technique travelled overseas with the winners of the battle and arrived in Italy in around 1250, before reaching France in the thirteenth century.
With the invention of printing by Gutenberg in 1445, the process really began to speed up. However, paper still remained a luxury item which was expensive to manufacture. It was not until 1799 that Louis-Nicolas Robert invented the first paper-making machine which produced paper in a simpler process and at a lower cost.
With Europe's industrialisation, paper then began to be mass-produced and became an everyday object, accessible to all.
And the photo was created
The story could have ended there - but 1825 saw the invention of photography by Nicéphore Nièpce.
After all, all images need a medium which we can use to expose and admire them.
In 1847, Louis Blanquart-Evrard developed albumen paper which was used for photographic prints. The name of this paper comes from albumen, the element found in egg whites which was used to bind the different photographic chemicals to the paper.
Over time, albumen tends to turn yellow. This is why old photos develop a sepia tone.
Among the many dates that punctuate Canson's history
, one in particular resonates with the world of photography: in 1865, Canson®
requested a patent for the improvement of the albumen process. It was granted on 8th December due to the simplification of the printing process and also since it was more economical than other types. With this paper, the use of platinum and gold chloride was avoided, thus instigating a turning point in the process.
Following that, the discovery of various processes to whiten paper, avoid yellowing and increase its durability were developed, resulting in photo paper as we know it today.