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Paper

I have enough writing paper to last me this lifetime and the next one but I can still be tempted by a good batch of vintage paper at a reasonable price. I don’t buy new paper. I’d much rather get something made when the fountain pen was king.

I’ve been lucky recently. I found two large boxes of excellent paper, one more textured than the other. After that I found a box of paper in the quarto format, lovely paper but softer than the other two. It makes a very bold statement with a medium nib though there is no feathering and little show-through. It’s ideal for a fine nib and would work with some of the paler inks.

Paper, like cotton, is destructive of the environment in its manufacture. My husband remembers the huge paper mills of the south of Scotland, mostly closed now. Those that remain have cleaned up their act – at least as much as it can be cleaned up. Many of the watercourses of Midlothian ran foul for generations and took a long time to recover. Those mills churned out cheap paper for newsprint and hand towels but also the beautiful laid paper and bonds I search for now.

They knew how to make writing paper in those days. Much of today’s paper is made with the ballpoint in mind and even the supposed “good stuff” is often disappointing. I’m grateful for all the unused vintage paper that continues to appear.

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