Ts’ai Lun: The man who saved us from carrying trees in our back packs

Could you live in a world where you don’t have any photos on your walls, or Harry Potter was not published? Imagine, there is not even textbook!

A Chinese bamboo book

As you can guess, today’s topic is the invention of the paper. First of all, after the invention of writing, people used a variety of things for writing, such as parchment which is made from processed animal skin, pieces of silk, bamboo trees, and papyrus plant. However, as we can all guess, the books, actually the plants, were too heavy to carry. The silk has also always been expensive. So, people was in need of something more convenient for their daily lives. At this point, I want you to travel with me to China back to the year of BC 100. We see a guy here, Ts’ai Lun, an official of the Imperial Court reporting to the Eastern Han Emperor that he made the paper. But how?

First banknote

He was used to go to the villages to check on how things were going. In one of those visits, he visited a silk-making shop and saw that there was a thin layer of slightly fluffy stuff on a tree mat that it could have been used for writing. Then, he broke the bark of a mulberry tree into fibres and pounded them into a sheet and left it to dry. And there it is; paper! Centuries later, he was chosen the 7th most influential person in the whole history of the world..

Speaking of paper, the first banknote was also first made in China during the 7th century. The first printed book was Gutenberg Bible in 1450s. The first book published in English was The Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye translated from French in 1473. The first newspaper was The Gazette published in 1666 in Oxford, England.

Posted on Feb. 02, 2017


  1. Good topic. Your site brings a glimpse on the evolution of technology, with a potential of becoming a part of our daily readings. Well thought.

    • Thank you Emre, I am very to happy that you mention about technology . Almost everything that we use has a huge history that we usually dont think about. We just use them and don’t even realize how technology is placed in our whole life.

  2. It’s really awasome… your blog is so special that it gives the knowledge that everything has its history and you provided the lnowledge that how much it is important… great… thanks

  3. First off, love your headline! I always thought paper came from the Egyptians. I’m excited to see what else you have in store for us. If you’re stuck for more topics I’d suggest looking at the invention of WiFi and Hedy Lamarr.

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