The Origin of Stationery

Hey, Camp Fans!

Everything Summer Camp clearly understands the decoration as well as the demand behind stationery—why else would we offer awesome camp stationery from reputable brands like Paper so Pretty and Seal & Send?! But, stationery isn’t really a necessary Paper So Prettyproduct. It may be a cool product, but it’s something that’s come along in our modern world, it can’t have much history to it, right?

Wrong.

Not too surprisingly, stationery has been made and used for thousands of years. The first stationery most likely came from Ancient Egypt when they were looking for a different form of a writing surface other than the parchment paper they made out of thin sheep and goatskin. The parchment didn’t take to humidity very well and it would split easily.

They wanted something that was sure to keep for better documenting purposes. They developed what they called ‘papyrus’ (thought to be the word that we get ‘paper’ from) made from the pithy plant. It stood up to the dry conditions of Egypt as well as the humidity.

These ancient Egyptian documents of papyrus are a few thousand years old and still intact today! And guess what! They’re not just plain sheets with writing; they’re covered in ornate designs, painstakingly copied. This is unarguably stationery and not just ‘paper’.

Papyrus was imported from Egypt to Europe though it didn’t have the same shelf life in the cooler, northern temperatures. But in the year 105 A.D., a man named Cai Lun from China invented paper as we know it today, using tree bark.

It was this invention along with the printing press that brought along new opportunities for stationery designing. Sometime around 1450, Johannes Gutenberg’s press took away the tedious task of writing everything out by hand.

By the 1800’s, more than 180 paper mills created hundreds of jobs for Americans. Some people worked for stationery printers. People back then wanted stationery for the same reasons we do today like weddings invitations, birth announcements, written recipes, they even had monogrammed papers for letters and notes.

Demand has only increased throughout the years for printed stationery as people enjoy the atmosphere that stationery designs can add to an invite, a recipe, or a letter home from summer camp.

Thanks for reading.

- John

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