Q.1037:  Is Papyrus a paper?

Ans. The word paper is driven from Papyrus but Papyrus is not truly a paper.

Q: What is Papyrus?

The Egyptians used this aquatic plant to create a writing sheet by peeling apart the plant's tissue-thin layers and stacking them in overlapping, crosshatched pieces to form a sheet. Despite giving us the word "paper," papyrus is not a true paper.

picture of papyrus plant-1                                                                     picture of papyrus plant
Papyrus Plant

Q: How is Papyrus Paper made?

  1. The stalks of the papyrus plant are harvested.
  2. Next the green skin of the stalk is removed and the inner pith is taken out and cut into long strips. The strips are then pounded and soaked in water for 3 days until pliable.
  3. The strips are then cut to the length desired and laid horizontally on a cotton sheet overlapping about 1 millimetre. Other strips are laid vertically over the horizontal strips resulting in the criss-cross pattern in papyrus paper. Another cotton sheet is placed on top.
  4. The sheet is put in a press and squeezed together, with the cotton sheets being replaced until all the moisture is removed.
  5. Finally, all the strips are pressed together forming a single sheet of papyrus paper.

image opapyrus paper sheet

Papyrus Paper Sheet

Good illustration of Papyrus Papermaking http://www.hethert.org/papyrus.html

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