created since 2003       

Early Paper Mills in Europe

Personal Comment: The paper mill in Leesdorf near Vienna in the year 1321 should have a natural context to the 3rd Habsburg King Frederick the Fair, rival king 1314-1325 and co-regent 1326-1330 to Ludwig IV. the Bavarian. The house of Habsburg had as their home region Austria, their repeated appearance as German king (Rudolph I 1273 - 1291, Albert I 1298 - 1308 before Frederick) caused some importance for the region around Vienna. Paper was necessary for administrative activities. In similar context appear the following entries (see below) to "Au near Munich 1347" (region of German King Ludwig IV of Bavaria 1314 - 1447) and the paper mill in Nuremberg 1390 - the follower of Ludwig IV. was Emperor Charles IV. (1346 - 1378), who prefered Praha and Bohemia as home region. The region of Bohemia expanded politically in his time till the region of Nuremberg and Nuremberg was prefered by Charles IV. in a similar way as Praha.

Personal Comment: There are relatively much notes to paper mills before 1350, then a pause and an astonishing silence about paper manufacturing after 1350 till the following entry about Ulman Stromer in the year 1390 (it would be astonishing, if one assumes an unbroken paper manufacturing tradition between 1350 and 1390). I think, one should reflect this observation on the background of the great peste in 1348-1350, when in Europe about a 3rd of the population died in short time. This should have caused serious damage in a lot of the social, administrative and economical structures, which - beside many other effects - also influenced negatively the advance in paper technology, the demand for paper on the market and general trade.

Further Paper notes:

Hildesheimer Stadtrechnungen (prices for a "Ries" of paper, generally imported from North Italy).

Corresponding we've in North Italy peace between Milan and Venice till 1425, a general disturbance in German-Italian connections in the time of the council of Basel (connected to Lombard wars in Italy), in 1441 a "great peace" between Venice and Milan, and since 1447 a new "book loving pope Nikolaus V."
Generally a factor of inflation is involved (later prices have less real worth than earlier). Without this factor it seems, that paper becomes slightly cheaper at the begin of 16th century and reaches higher prices in the 2nd half of 16th century. Source, p. 118, refers to Doebner, Urkundenbuch der Stadt Hildesheim, Bd. 5 und 6

Italian Imports: Southern Germany mainly took in 15. century its paper from Italian imports (Venice and Milan; Italian import paper lost its meaning with 16th century). The city of Görlitz/Oberlausitz (near Dresden) between 1376/1426 took its paper also from Italy. In the Hildesheimer Stadtrechnungen is occasionally "lumberdes poppyrs" (paper from Lombardy) mentioned. In German export papers from Venice in 14th century paper is mentioned. In Source, p. 121

(composed by autorbis)