Thursday, August 03, 2006
EARLY 20th CENTURY ITALIAN HEMP PAPER
A 1906 article in the Paper and Pulp Magazine of Canada, copied and sent to me by John Craig Lupien of the US, contains an article on Italian hemp paper production at the San Cesario paper works. M.A. Myallonier used hemp fibres, which he found rich in cellulose, in a hot maceration process. The vats employed were cylindrical and 4 metres deep, with a capacity of 20 cubic metres. 36 hours was the maximum time required for maceration when using milk of lime (added in a proportion of 15-25%). The entire operation required 14-15 days in summer or 20-22 days in winter, including a 24-48 hour fermenation period, followed by washing and trituration.
The San Cesario factory could produce 2,000 kilograms of packing paper daily, with four washers, consuming just over one horsepower of energy per day and 150 litres of water per minute. The pulping process was carried out in vats with special blades which drew the pulp to the periphery, from whence it was reconducted to the vat and brought under the roller. The refining process took 3-4 hours. Sizing and colouring were accomplished in the vat.