Wallpaper history

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  • WALLPAPERHistory

  • 400 B.C.Earliest form of paper was introduced by the Egyptians. (papyrus)

  • 200 B.C.The first wallpaper appeared in ancient China, because they glued rice paper onto their walls

  • 105 A.D.The Chinese started making paper from textile waste, i.e. from rags.This was the birth of paper as we know it today.

  • 8th CenturySeveral Chinese prisoners, with papermaking skills, worked under Arabs, and taught them how to manufacture paperThe Arabs then spread this knowledge throughout the Middle East

  • 10th CenturyArabians were substituting linen fibres for wood & bamboo. Creating a finer sheet of paperPaper now reached a much higher quality level

  • 12th Century

    Papermaking spreads throughout Europe

  • 1418The earliest European block prints were religious souvenirs, known as HelgenThis type of printing may also

    have been used by the Chinese, as early as the 5th Century

  • 1481King Louis XI of France has 50 rolls of paper painted by an artistOther rich Europeans commissioned artists to paint for their wallsReal wallpaper can hardly be said to exist until the advent of the printing press

  • 1509Earliest known fragment of wallpaper was found on beams in the Lodge of Christs College, Cambridge (dated 1509)It is an Italian design, printed on the back of a proclamation by Henry VIIIIt is attributed to Hugo Goes, a printer from York

  • 1599A guild of paperhangers is established in France

  • 1675Jean-Michel Papillon, a French engraver & considered to be the inventor of wallpaper, starts making block designs in matching, continuous patterns.Wallpaper as we know

    it is on its way

  • 1680Oldest example of Flock wallpaper comes from Worcester & is created in approximately 1680

  • 18th CenturyEnglish develop manufacturing methodsFashion conscious Londoners order expensive, hand made papersPapers include, flock papers, marble & stucco effects & borders

  • 1739Wallpaper becomes popular in AmericaPlunket Fleeson begins printing wallpaper in Philadelphia

  • 1778King Louis XVI issues a decree that requires the length of wallpaper to be about 34 feet

  • 1781After American revolution, they set up workshops of their ownWallpaper becomes fashionableDesigns range from rambling roses to patriotic images

  • 1785The French invent the first machine for printing wallpaperAlso invent a way to make an endless roll of wallpaper

  • 1798Lithography is invented in Germany, by Alois SenefelderThis is a method using a plate or stone which has a completely smooth surface

  • 1800French scenic papers printed with hand carved blocks, some taking as many as 5,000 blocks to produce, become popular


  • 1839English invent a four colour surface printing machineDesigns are on hand cut cylinders that can print 400 rolls per dayIt was invented by Charles Potter from Darwen in Lancashire