With a little help from their friends
The application of science, engineering and technology made possible the development of papermaking, from what was little more than a cottage industry, to become the global industrial conglomerate that it is today.
Papermaking machines depended on the know-how of drawing bronze wire and weaving it to form a uniform fabric. Wire makers developed specialised looms for the purpose. They exported worldwide as well as supplying the Scottish mills.
The dandy roll was used to consolidate and improve the formation of the paper and was later used to impart the watermark.
The weaving of wet and dry felts used for pressing and drying the paper also became a specialised industry, requiring purpose designed looms. The joining of the felts required much ingenuity that was to develop over the years. Logan Turner of Selkirk, was the only Scottish maker of paper machine felts.
Paper mill engineers flourished as papermaking developed and by 1880 there were six firms capable of building complete machines in Edinburgh. Latterly two independent firms ‘George & William Bertram of Sciennes’ and ‘James Bertram of Leith Walk’ became dominant, not just supplying the local papermakers, but exporting worldwide. George Sinclair, a Leith boiler-maker, inventor of the Sinclair esparto boiler, exported wood pulp digesters to Sweden in 1870.