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Paper Finishing

Depending on the desired finish (paper mills manufacture dozens of types of paper), the sheet passes between heated rolls (calenders) that compress it and heat the surface. Special clays can also be added to improve the properties of the sheet (surface finish, print quality, etc.).

As the sheet is wound on a roll, all of its properties are checked electronically: moisture content, smoothness, density, colour, opacity, strength, and so on. The test results are sent by the computer to the control panel where adjustments can be made.


In the past twenty years, papermakers have invested heavily in updating their processes, improving recovery, reuse and recycling, and optimizing their use of water, energy and fibre. Their efforts have reduced the amount of waste of all kinds that is discharged into the environment.

History of Cobalt blue:

Although smalt, a pigment made from cobalt blue glass has been known at least since the Middle Ages, the cobalt blue established in the nineteenth century was a greatly improved one.

The isolation of the blue color of smalt was discovered in the first half of the eighteenth century by the Swedish chemist Brandt. In 1777, Gahn and Wenzel found cobalt aluminate during research on cobalt compounds. Their discovery was made during experimentation with a soldering blowpipe. The color was not manufactured commercially until late in 1803 or 1804. The Minister of the French government, Chaptal, appointed Louis Jaques Thénard and Mérimée to look into the improvement of artists' colors. Thenard developed this new cobalt blue by his observations at the Sevres porcelain factory. He experimented with roasting cobalt arsenate and cobalt phosphate with alumina in a furnace. He published his results in late 1803-4 in the Journal des mines, "Sur les couleurs, suives d'un procédé pour préparer une couleur bleue aussi belle que l'outremer." Thénard tried the blue in oil and gum media and by the time his report was published, the color had not changed after a two-month exposure test. Production began in France in 1807. Most sources cited regard Thenard as the inventor of the blue. However, Leithner of Vienna is also mentioned as one who developed cobalt arsenate as early as 1775.

Cobalt blue was generally regarded as durable in the nineteenth century. It requires one hundred percent of oil to grind it as an oil paint otherwise its cool tone can turn greenish due to the yellowing of linseed oil. To avoid the yellowing, Laurie suggested that it be used as a glaze color or mixing it with white. It is totally stable in watercolor and fresco techniques. Field called it a "modern, improved blue". John J. Varley, author of List of Colours, recommended it as a good substitution for ultramarine blue for painting skies.

Brief description of Egyptian blue:

Very stable synthetical pigment of varying blue colour. It is one of the oldest man-made colors commonly found on wall paintings in Egypt, Mesopotamia and Rome. Many specimens, well over 3000 years old, appear to be little changed by the time.

Brief description of Indigo:

Blue pigment prepared from plants until the end of 19th century. Since 1870 it has been manufactured synthetically. It has fair tinting strength and may fade rapidly when exposed to strong sunlight. Worked in tempera or beneath varnish it can be very stable.

Indian indigo was probably used as a painting pigment by ancient Greeks and Romans. Marco Polo (13th century) was the first to report on the preparation of indigo in India.

Green is the color of life, of plants and of spring. Green is the color of the seasonal renewal and the triumph of spring over cold winter and thus of Hope and Immortality. The Chinese associate green (and black) with the female Yin - the passive and receiving principle. Yellow, on the other hand, is associated with the male Yang - the active and creative principle.

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