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The 19th century to the present

19. storočieThe history of the paper industry during the 19th and 20th centuries can be divided into 5 periods, which partly overlap but are also marked by definite trends. During the first period (from 1800 to 1860) all manual labour was replaced by machines. This was related to preparation and finishing (pressing, drying, smoothing, packing ...) The second period (from 1840 to 1880) was characterized by efforts to find an industrial process to substitute textile waste (wooden and chemical pulp). The third period (1860-1950) was marked by increased web width, higher speeds, the use of electric drive motors and further improvements to various machine parts, and machine specialization for paper and board production. The working web width of the machine grew from 85cm (in 1830) to 770cm (in 1930), whilst production speed rose from 5m/min. (in 1820) to over 500m/min (in 1930). The fourth period (1950-1980) - still on the basis of old mechanics - brought unprecedented changes in paper production. Apart from a further increase in working width and speed, changes included new materials, new sheet forming options (twin-wire formers), a greater focus on ecology and particularly automation. The result was specialization in certain types of paper, new paper grades, companies with own raw material supplies and sales organisations, and the closing down of non-profitable subsidiaries. The fifth period (from 1980) heads for the future. The development of new sheet forming methods and chemical pulp processes, but also the overall situation on the market (increasing demand, especially in developing countries, allocation problems, pulp prices) lead to an increase in capital intensity and the formation of large international manufaturing groups. At the same time new opportunities appeard for smaller local companies to satisfy more specialised demands. The relative uniformity found in Europe since the Middle ages gave way to an increasing variety, mostly thanks to improvements in printing techniques. Today, paper production is a craft that combines human skills and technical innovation.

Paper making in Slovakia

Výroba papiera na SlovenskuSlovakia, as part of a greater European region, traces the beginnigs of its paper making industry to the arrival of German settlers during the 15th century. In 1880 a tradesman, Jakub Klein, established a paper factory in Ružomberok, carrying the name SCP since 1958 (Northslovak pulp and paper factory). Since then, Ružomberok has been the centre of paper production not only in Slovakia but also in Central Europe. During the 19th century paper factories were also found in Slavošovce and Harmanec. Today, Slovakia is an important European paper producer and one of the biggest and most modern pulp and paper factories in Europe is located in Ružomberok. 

Paper in numbers (2005)

World paper production: 370 mil. tons
European paper production: 103 mil. tons
Paper production in Slovakia: 850 thousand tons
Most paper is produced in Asia (125 mil.tons)
The biggest paper producer in the world is the USA (85 mil.tons)
The biggest paper producer in Europe is Germany (22 mil.tons)
Paper consumption per inhabitant
USA: > 300kg
EU: 180kg
Slovakia: 85 kg
In 2005 the EU used 42% of recycled fibres for paper production and 56% of all paper consumption was paper containing recycled fibres.