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Henry Fourdrinier
(11 Feb 1766 - 3 Sep 1854)

English inventor of paper-making machinery known by his name, which is still at the core of modern continuous production equipment.


Henry Fourdrinier - Patent 3068


14 August 1807
Henry Fourdrinier, Sealy Fourdrinier and John Gamble

“Making paper by means of machinery.” This invention consists “in the using of a revolving web of”wire, or other similar material or thing applicable in like manner as such web, the same being made endless by joining its ends together, similar to a round towel, or by having it wove endless, and applying such web to the making or manufacturing of paper according to the arrangement and application of the revolving or endless web before mentioned in connection with other mechanical apparatus.The paper pulp in the vat, which is kept agitated, being brought by admixture of water to the required consistency, is suffered to run through certain appertures in the side or front of the vat, the flow being regulated by a slide valve, and conducted from thence by an inclined plane in an uniform stream upon the surface of the revolving web [called the under web], which is so placed that its surface shall be as nearly level as possible, and have its revolving motion in the direction in which the stream of pulp runs from the vat.

The endless web is caused to revolve round two extreme rollers, and several small rollers are placed under the upper part, upon which the paper is formed, to support the travelling bed with its weight of paper. The width of the sheet of paper is determined by two pieces of wood placed on the travelling bed, and pressing on two endless belts of leather, which travel with the endless web, one on each side; corresponding pieces of wood and travelling straps being also applied under the travelling bed. These together are called “dickles.”A flap of oiled silk is placed where the pulp falls on to the web of wire, one edge of which rests on the surface of the web, and extends from dickle to dickle, for the purpose of preventing the pulp from flowing backwards.

As the web progresses forward with the coating of paper upon it, it is caused to pass between two rollers covered with felts or flannel, called “the wet press rollers;” and in order to protect the pulp from injury by friction of the upper one of these rollers, and the shorter endless web (called the upper web), which may be made of felt, is caused to travel with and above it, so as to be constantly inter-posed between the pulp and the upper wet press roller. The paper after having been thus passed between the wet press rollers is conducted on to another endless web, called the felting, by means of the roller called the “couching roller,” and is carried forward and caused to pass between two “dry press” rollers made of brass, and turned perfectly true, to which considerable pressure may be given. The paper is then sufficiently dry to be wound on reels.

To the roller nearest the vat, round which the “under web” revolves, a quick shaking motion may be given, by means of a crank which is communicated to the web. The endless webs are provided with suitable means for adjusting their tension, and with guides for conducting them in a proper direction, and correct speeds of all the parts is secured by means of adjustable or expanding riggers or hand wheels, as described and shown in the drawing. The water which falls from the web, which contains “paper stuff, blue, size, &c.,” may be returned to the vat by means of pumps or elevating scoops.

The paper, when manufactured, is drawn off the reel, and placed on a table to be cut into sheets. This operation may be effected by placing one or more pairs of steel plates across and level with the surface of the table, the upper edges of which should be parallel with and about one-twentieth of an inch from each other, and causing a corresponding number of small wheels, fitted in a frame with an edge sharpened by being basilled away on both sides, similar to the edge of a hard or cold chisel, to roll across from one side of the table to the other, the edges of these wheels being applied between the opposed edges of the plates. These plates are placed angularly towards each other, and in section are like the strokes of the letter A; the outer edge of each being basilled off by grinding.

[Printed, 2s. See Rolls Chapel Reports, 7th Report, p. 195.]

From: The Patent Office, London, Patents for Inventions. Abridgments of Specifications Relating to the Manufacture of Paper, Pasteboard and Papier Mache, Part II (1859), Section II, 9. (source)


See also:

Nature bears long with those who wrong her. She is patient under abuse. But when abuse has gone too far, when the time of reckoning finally comes, she is equally slow to be appeased and to turn away her wrath. (1882) -- Nathaniel Egleston, who was writing then about deforestation, but speaks equally well about the danger of climate change today.
Carl Sagan Thumbnail Carl Sagan: In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) ...(more by Sagan)

Albert Einstein: I used to wonder how it comes about that the electron is negative. Negative-positive—these are perfectly symmetric in physics. There is no reason whatever to prefer one to the other. Then why is the electron negative? I thought about this for a long time and at last all I could think was “It won the fight!” ...(more by Einstein)

Richard Feynman: It is the facts that matter, not the proofs. Physics can progress without the proofs, but we can't go on without the facts ... if the facts are right, then the proofs are a matter of playing around with the algebra correctly. ...(more by Feynman)
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