paper manufacturing at the Hudson River Mill utilized production
technologies that remained essentially unchanged since the
19th century. The central technology was the Fourdrinier paper
machine patented in France in 1799. The Fourdrinier process
works by distributing highly liquefied wood pulp across a
wide, moving mesh screen to produce a continuous sheet of
paper. Water is removed from the pulp by suction from beneath
the screen, leaving behind highly concentrated wood pulp that
forms a sheet on the screen. The sheet then moves over a felt
and through a dryer section that removes the remaining moisture
before it is taken up on a roll at the "dry end"
of the paper machine.
The technology that
was perhaps most critical to the success of the Hudson River
Mill was the Keller-Voelter wood pulp grinder developed in
Germany in the 1840's. It was this technology that Alberto,
Albrecht, and Rudolph Pagenstecher transferred to the United
States in 1866 and first utilized at Curtisville, Massachusetts
in 1867. The mechanical production of paper pulp from wood
- commonly referred to as "groundwood" - revolutionized
the paper industry by providing an inexpensive replacement
for the cotton rags and straw that were then the principal
ingredients of paper. Limited forest resources and insufficient
waterpower in the Berkshires, however, soon drove the Pagenstechers
from Curtisville to Palmer Falls on the Hudson River where
abundant natural resources permitted them to scale up the
production of wood pulp and also manufacture paper at the
of chemical pulps in the middle decades of the 19th century
also played a vital role in the modern paper manufacturing
process at the Hudson River Mill. The sulphite process works
by the preliminary break-down of pulpwood into small "chips"
that are then cooked under high pressure in an acid solution.
All the soluble matter in the wood is dissolved in the process,
leaving pure cellulose fiber to serve as paper pulp. Although
more expensive to produce than mechanical pulp, sulphite pulp
was used with groundwood to add strength to the paper sheet.
There are numerous additional technologies
that have contributed to modern paper manufacturing which
are explained in the documents available on this page. The
texts shown - viewable as PDF documents - represent a small
sampling of the publications produced by International Paper
and the Hudson River Mill during the 20th century to explain
the paper manufacturing process. In some cases, content unrelated
to the production process has been omitted from these documents.
Please Note: A silent,
13-minute motion picture created at the Hudson River Mill
in 1919, entitled "The Manufacture of Paper," will
soon be viewable from this page.