Bas van Velzen, ASH PhD candidate, will defend the dissertation entitled 'The Universe between Felt and Wire: a New Look into the Typology of Western Made Paper.' supervised by Prof. J. Wadum and Dr H.J. Porck (Koninklijke Bibliotheek).
Studying Western papermaking in its main aspects and variations, and both critically evaluate and systematically structure the acquired information, will provide those in paper conservation and allied fields the necessary knowledge to better understand this complex and diverse substrate.
The main types of paper that appear on the conservation workbench are analysed. A classification of paper types is given. Next, the steps in the papermaking process and the traces they leave behind are described systematically. The papermaker's considerations and choices in making paper are described. For this the role of rag sorting in the papermaking process, how the Hollander beater extends the papermaker’s possibilities, the transition to new fibre sources, and the effects on paper properties of fillers and coatings are investigated.
Studying its fibre composition reveals the inherent properties of paper. The use of polarisation microscopy combined with the λ-retardation plate is described and recommended for obtaining a clear and fast sample analysis.
Six simpler and less hazardous micro-chemical stains to determine the composition of paper were investigated. It emerged that only one produced a satisfactory result. The traditional tests, with all their drawbacks, continue to prove their worth.
A systematical expansion on the paper typologies involves describing the paper types under four major properties: pulp sort, sizing, surface structure, and the range of paper weight.
Due to the potential implications for collection management a closer research into the pulping method of wood pulp types, due to the possible negative ageing properties of acidic-pulped pulp types is proposed.