Page from a Dutch book on paper-making, a rare edition published in Amsterdam by Jan Christiaan Sepp (1770).
Research on paper-making and experiments with vegetable materials as an alternative to “rags” was crucial at this time. Rags (recycled fibers from used textiles), were in short supply, so transforming different types of material into paper, without the use of rag fibers, became a necessity. Plant materials that were converted into paper products included tree moss, grapevine bark, hemp, stinging nettle, cabbage stalks, and hop tendrils, to name a few. Jacob Christian Schäffer (1718-1790) was the key figure in the research for rag alternatives, producing several volumes on his research.