An old video of commercial hand papermaking in 1976

I just stumbled across this YouTube video of a a 1976 documentary segment which shows the hand papermaking process at Hayle Mill in England. Note that the video ends with about 4 minutes of black screen for some reason. This mill ceased production in 1987.

Despite the age of the film, the picture and sound quality are very good, and they also do a good job of explaining the process and the jobs of the various people involved: the vatman who forms the sheets using a mould and deckle, the coucher who transfers the sheets from the mould to the post and interleaves the felts (couches), and the layer who, after pressing the post, removes and stacks the damp pressed sheets, returning the felts to the coucher.

The clip also shows some details of watermark construction using soldered wire, pulp preparation, and other steps in the process.

At the recent North American Hand Papermakers e-conference Simon Barcham Green, who is the fourth (or fifth?) generation member of the Green family who operated this mill since it was built in the early 1800’s, gave the inaugural Elaine Koretsky Memorial Presentation wherein he spoke about Hayle Mill’s history and operation. That might actually be Simon in the video explaining some of the processes.

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