Welcome to the Artifact of the Month - a series featuring an artifact from the Paper Museum's extensive collection. Each month highlights a different artifact to provide the opportunity to learn more about our collection and the variety of items collected.

Rare Book: Wirecloth for Paper Mills

October 1, 2020

This month’s Artifact of the Month is from our Rare Book Library: Wirecloth for Paper Mills, published in 1925 by Rai Wire Works of the French Compagnie de Général D'électricité (aka the General Electricity Company).  

This book was chosen for October as it builds off last month’s discussion of dandy rolls. As a reminder, dandy rolls are hollow, metal cylinders with a raised wire design across their surface used to watermark machine-made paper. 

This book concerns itself with dandy rolls, but more specifically with their wire mesh covering that imbeds watermark images, words, etc. onto the surface of partially formed paper: wirecloth.   

As seen in image two, this book contains a sheet of wirecloth samples. There are two main ways to make wire cloth: weaving or welding. Woven wire cloth, the kind used for watermarking, is more common and generally used for filtering purposes, while welded cloth has a smoother surface, greater strength and rigidity, and is used in other applications in different fields. Wirecloth can be made from a variety of materials: steel, nickel or copper alloy, aluminum, titanium, brass, bronze, etc. Dandy roll wirecloth covers are typically manufactured from phosphor bronze or stainless-steel mesh. 

In addition to being used in the paper industry, wirecloth has been adapted to be used in the aerospace, automotive, architectural, chemical, food handling, pharmaceutical, and medical industries for a variety of purposes (such as screening, structuring, protecting and filtering applications, etc.). 

Please enjoy a variety of images from within this month’s Artifact of the Month. 

Category: Tools

Region of Origin: European


The cover of the book with royal blue detailing
A 3x3 grid of wire cloth samples from the book