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The Exciting History of Carbon Paper What Is It Carbon paper is thin paper coated with a mixture of wax and pigment that is used between two sheets of ordinary paper to make one or more copies of an original document When Was It Invented And Why The exact origin of carbon paper is somewhat uncertain The first documented use of the term carbonated paper was in 1806 when an Englishman named Ralph Wedgwood issued a patent for his Stylographic Writer However Pellegrino Turri had invented a typewriting machine in Italy by at least 1808 and since black paper was essential for the operation of his machine he must have perfected his form of carbon paper at virtually the same time as Wedgwood if not before Adler 1973 Interestingly both men invented their carbon paper as a means to an end they were both trying to help blind people write through the use of a machine and the black paper was really just a substitute for ink In its original form Wedgwoods Stylographic Writer was intended to help the blind write through the use of a metal stylus instead of a quill A piece of paper soaked in printers ink and dried was then placed between two sheets of writing paper in order to transfer a copy onto the bottom sheet Horizontal metal wires on the writing-board acted as feeler-guides for the stylus and presumably helped the blind to write Although invented in 1803 the steel pen only became common around the middle of the nineteenth century the quill was still in use at the end of the century and remained the symbol of the handwriting age First introduced in the laborious days of copying manuscripts in monasteries about the seventh century the quill was the civilised worlds writing tool for a thousand years or more Proudfoot 1972 Little Demand At First A few years later Wedgwood
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