From Papyrus to Paper

This passage details the invention of paper.

Lexile Level: 990L

Categories: History Science & Technology

Paper is something that most of us take for granted today. From books, magazines, and newspapers to cereal boxes, milk cartons, and facial tissues, paper products are an important part of our daily lives. Maybe because paper plays such a crucial role in modern society, very few of us stop to consider what people did before it was invented. In Egypt the earliest writing material was woven from papyrus plants. Papyrus was also used in Greece and Rome. In early Greece parchment was introduced as a substitute for papyrus. Parchment, or vellum, was made by processing sheepskin or calfskin. In ancient China the first writing material was bamboo. Slats of bamboo were attached with cords and rolled up into bundles. You can imagine how awkward and heavy such a document would be compared to a book made from paper. The next time your bookrack seems heavy, think about how life was before the invention of paper.

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