Start Date
Place
Notes
Source
3300 BCE
Egypt
In 1998 clay tablets were reported from this date
from the tomb of an Egyptian king named
Scorpion. The tablets had writing that recorded
linen and oil deliveries as a tithe to the king. The
tomb was in a cemetery at Gebel Tjauti in Suhag
province, some 250 miles south of Cairo. [3300
BCE to 3200 BCE]
http://timelines.ws January 2007
3000 BCE
Egypt
Papyrus is used in Egypt as a writing material.
The papyri scrolls can be up to 40 metres long.
The Egyptian state has a monopoly over the
making of papyrus. Papyrus is exported
throughout the Mediterranean region and is a
significant source of revenue.
http://www.ciolek.com/GLOBAL/early.html
July 2010
2500 BCE
Middle East
Animal hide is used in the Middle East as a
writing material.
http://www.ciolek.com/GLOBAL/early.html
August 2010
2500 BCE
Near East
Across Near East, animal hides serve as scrolls.
http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu August
2010
2460 BCE
China
China produced silk. It will serve as a writing
surface.
http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu July 2007
1500 BCE
Crete
The Phaistos disc; symbols carved in relief are
pressed into soft clay.
http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu January
2007
1400 BCE
China
Oldest record of writing in China, on bones and
tortoise shells.
http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu June 2006
1000 BCE
Egypt
A brightly coloured papyrus of this time depicting
a Theban housewife's life after death was found
by Herbert Winlock at Thebes in 1912.
http://timelines.ws March 2007
0800 BCE
Near East
In the Near East leather is a writing surface;
rolled as scrolls.
http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu August
2007
0751 BCE
Middle East
Some Chinese paper-makers are captured by
Arabs in a battle of 751. The captives are put to
work in Samarkand. From there the technology is
taken to Baghdad and continues to spread slowly
westwards through the Muslim world, until it
reaches Spain in the 12th century.
http://www.historyworld.net/wrldhis/PlainText
Histories.asp?
historyid=aa92#ixzz1842NhQbe December
2010
0650 BCE
Greece
Egyptian papyrus arrives in Greek cities.
http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu March
2007
0650 BCE
Greece
Greeks write on papyrus shipped from Nile River
origin.
http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu January
2007
0340 BCE
Greece
In 1962 a papyrus scroll was found in a grave,
about five miles northwest of Thessaloniki. It was
part of a rich cemetery belonging to the ancient
city of Lete. The original several yards of papyrus,
rolled around two wooden runners, was found half
burnt. It dates to around 340 BC, during the reign
of Philip II of Macedon, father of Alexander the
Great.
http://timelines.ws December 2006
0200 BCE
Near East
In approximately 200 BCE, books were made out
of vellum and parchment.
http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu March
2007
0197 BCE
Turkey
Tradition credits its invention to Eumenes II, who
rules in Pergamum on the west coast of Turkey
from 197 to 159 BC. The substance is parchment
(the word derives from a variation of Pergamum).
It is a form of leather.
http://www.historyworld.net/wrldhis/PlainText
Histories.asp?
historyid=aa92#ixzz1841pwRMe December
2010
0030 BCE
Roman Empire
The conquest of Egypt by Rome gave access to
supplies of papyrus, which became the basis of a
large administrative empire.
Innis, Empire, P. 27
0008 BCE
China
Paper is thin material mainly used for writing
upon printing upon or packaging. Papermaking
is considered to be one of the Four Great
Inventions of Ancient China, since the first
papermaking process was developed in China.
Papermaking has traditionally been traced to
about 105 AD during the Han Dynasty (202 BC-
220 AD). However a recent archaeological
discovery has been reported from near
Dunhuang of paper with writing on it dating to 8
BC.
http://www.mkbergman.com/temp-exhibit/
September 2010
0105
China
Paper was invented by Cai Lun in 105 AD, which
was one of the four great inventions by the
Chinese. Cai Lun not only greatly improved the
papermaking technique, but also made it
possible to use a variety of materials, such as
tree bark, hemp, rags, etc. The earliest paper
discovered in Fufeng County, Shaanxi, was
made from hemp during the Western Han (206
BC - 24 AD)
.http://chineseculture.about.com/library/weekl
y/aa_invention_paper02a.htm February 2011
0300
China
Around AD 300 the Chinese developed a solid
ink that could be stored as a stick or cake. When
you wanted to do some writing, you shaved some
ink off the stick and mixed it with water. This type
of ink is still used today through East Asia. In the
United States, these sticks are often called
Chinese ink or Japanese ink. Black ink made
from carbon is often called India ink in the US,
even though it was developed in China.
http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/0921/p18s0
2-hfks.html December 2010
0300
China
The oldest known version of the Tao Te Ching is
written on bamboo tablets.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_religi
on Feb 2012
0659
Europe
The spread of Mohammedanism reduced
exports of papyrus from Egypt [Note: Islam
forbade the export of papyrus. -SM]. It had been
imported at Bordeaux and Marseilles for use in
schools and in the bureaucratic administration,
but between 659 and 679 was replaced by
parchment in the Merovingian court and after 716
practically disappeared. The change roughly
coincided with the rise of the Carolingian
dynasty. In contrast with papyrus, which was
introduced in a restricted area under centralized
control to meet the demands of a centralized
bureaucratic administration and which was
largely limited by its fragile character to water
navigation, parchment was the product of a
widely scattered agricultural economy suited to
the demands of a decentralized administration
and land transportation.
Innis, Empire, P. 138
0750
Middle East
Papermaking introduced in the Islamic world.
Paper making reached Samarkand before 750,
Baghdad in 793, Damascus and Cairo in
approximately 950 (Knops 1998).
http://www.ciolek.com/GLOBAL/early.html#1
st century BCE June 2010
0794
Iraq
First paper mill established in Baghdad.
http://scratchpad.wikia.com/wiki/History_of_
Archives,_Recordkeeping,_and_Records
February 2011
0800
Japan
Marbled paper in Japan.
http://www.xs4all.nl/~knops/timetab.html
November 2010
1100
Europe
Parchment was slowly displaced by paper in
universities, churches, and monasteries. The
Greeks began to use paper in manuscripts in the
twelfth century and Italians in the thirteenth century,
but it was sparingly used, in spite of the very high
cost of parchment notably in the thirteenth century,
until the fifteenth century. Monasteries continued
to support the slow and costly production of
parchment manuscripts. Writing on parchment
required strength and effort. 'Their fingers hold the
parchment pen but the whole body toils.' Working
six hours a day the scribe produced from two to
four pages and required from ten months to a
year and a quarter to copy a Bible. The size of the
scriptures absorbed the energies of monasteries.
Libraries were slowly built up and uniform rules in
the care of books were generally adopted in the
thirteenth century. Demands for space led to the
standing of books upright on the shelves in the
fourteenth and fifteenth centuries and to the rush
of library construction in the fifteenth century.
Innis, Empire and Communication, P. 160-61
1326
France
Richard de Bas, a paper manufacturer, was
founded in Ambert d'Auvergne, France.
http://timelines.ws August 2009
1338
France
First paper-mill opened in France.
http://inventors.about.com/od/pstartinventions
/a/printing_3.htm January 2011
1390
Germany
First paper-mill opened in Germany.
http://inventors.about.com/od/pstartinventions
/a/printing_3.htm January 2011
1446
Korea
The simplified Korean phonetic alphabet,
Hangeul, with 11 vowels, 28 consonants
appeared.
http://timelines.ws December 2006
1495
England
First paper-mill opened in England.
http://inventors.about.com/od/pstartinventions
/a/printing_3.htm January 2011
1500
China
An indigenous plant in China, the bamboo,
proves as convenient a writing material as
papyrus in Egypt. Chinese characters at this
early period are written in vertical columns, so a
thin strip of bamboo is ideal for a single column.
To create a longer document, two lines of thread
link each bamboo strip to its neighbour. The
modern Chinese character for a book evolves
from a pictogram of bamboo strips threaded
together.
http://www.historyworld.net/wrldhis/PlainText
Histories.asp?
historyid=aa92#ixzz1840unqbH December
2010
1500
Vietnam
In the 16th century quoc ngu (a Romanized script
produced by French missionaries) appeared and
was substituted for both the han and nom scripts.
http://www.vietnameasytravel.com/Language
_Literature.asp March 2011
1586
Turkey
First Turkish marbled paper.
http://www.xs4all.nl/~knops/timetab.html
November 2010
1598
Netherlands
First Dutch marbled paper.
http://www.xs4all.nl/~knops/timetab.html
November 2010
1765
Mesopotamia
K. Niebuhr, Danish visitor to Mesopotamia,
made copies of cuneiform inscriptions at
Persepolis, which were later used and
deciphered by George Grotefund. He observed
that there was three kinds of writing--those which
we now recognize as Old Persian, Elamite, and
Babylonian.
http://timelines.ws May 2011
1789
US
Paper production was encouraged by an import
duty of 7 1/2 per cent in 1789 and 10 per cent in
1790.
Innis, Bias, P. 158
1799
France
Machine for making continuous reels of paper is
devised by Frenchman Louis Robert (1761-
1828).
http://www.terramedia.co.uk July 2006
1800
Germany
In Germany, a simple sizing process for paper.
http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu July 2007
1803
UK
The first papermaking machine producing a
continuous roll of paper and capable of
producing sheets in specific sizes - the
Fourdrinier machine - was installed in London in
1803.
New Columbia Encyclopedia
1809
UK
John Dickinson invents a cylinder paper-making
machine.
http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu July 2007
1810
US
It was estimated that by 1810 the United States
had 185 paper mills of which 40 were in
Massachusetts and 60 in Pennsylvania.
Innis, Bias, P. 158
1824
US
The Cherokee people get their own alphabet, 85
letters. Literacy booms.
http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu June 2007
1861
UK
Excise duty on paper was abolished in Britain.
http://www.terramedia.co.uk June 2007
1866
US
Price of 'chemical' wood pulp $36 a tonne in US
in 1900, down from $344 a tonne in 1866.
http://www.magforum.com October 2006
1952
Fall of Baghdad probably meant stimulus to
paper making in Italy and Europe as supplies cut
off." [Note: In 1534, Baghdad was conquered by
the Ottoman Turks. - SM]
Innis, Idea File, 9-1 (1952)
1952
Paper industry built up in relation to city with
supply of rags. Parchment produced over wide
area in France and sent to Paris - probably
explains differentiation between magissier and
parchemenier - rise of guilds among latter.
Innis, Idea File, 16-18 (1952)
Writing Materials Timeline
Created with Timeline Maker Professional. Produced on 29 Feb 2012.