Paper is a thin material produced by pressing together moist fibers, typically cellulose pulp derived from wood, rags or grasses, and drying them into flexible sheets.
Paper is a versatile material with many uses. Whilst the most common is for writing and printing upon, it is also widely used as a packaging material, in many cleaning products, in a number of industrial and construction processes, and even as a food ingredient – particularly in Asian cultures.
Paper, and the pulp papermaking process, was said to be developed in China during the early 2nd century AD, possibly as early as the year 105 A.D., by the Han court eunuch Cai Lun, although the earliest archaeological fragments of paper derive from the 2nd century BC in China.
Paper spread from China through the Middle East to medieval Europe in the 13th century, where the first water-powered paper mills were built. In the 19th century, industrial manufacture greatly lowered its cost, enabling mass exchange of information and contributing to significant cultural shifts. In 1844, Canadian inventor Charles Fenerty and German F.G. Keller independently developed processes for pulping wood fibers.
The oldest known archaeological fragments of the immediate precursor to modern paper date to 2nd century BC in China. The pulp papermaking process is ascribed to Cai Lun, a 2nd-century AD Han court eunuch. With paper an effective substitute for silk in many applications, China could export silk in greater quantity, contributing to a Golden Age.
The word "paper" is etymologically derived from Latin papyrus, which comes from the Greek(papuros), the word for the Cyperus papyrus plant. Papyrus is a thick, paper-like material produced from the pith of the Cyperus papyrus plant which was used in ancient Egypt and otherMediterranean cultures for writing before the introduction of paper into