Many young people will never know the frustration of getting blue carbon paper ink all over their hands when trying to copy a document or create a credit card slip. Blue carbon paper was used extensively in typewriters and documents where several copies were needed for many decades, but it is no longer a staple of the business and retail world. However, for over 150 years, blue carbon paper has been used in one way or another and is still used in limited applications today.
The first version of blue carbon paper was produced in 1823 by Cyrus Dakin, but the idea had been around for some time. As early as 1779, James Watt, a Scottish engineer, was trying to create an inked tissue paper to be used to copy correspondence. Even the version made by Dakin in 1823 was not well-received by the business community, that is until the typewriter was invented in 1867, and a clean, readable copy could be made with carbon paper.
Early blue carbon paper was made by placing a sheet of paper on a slab and covering it with oil, soot and a liquid hydrocarbon. Eventually a machine was created to add a layer of hot wax that eliminated the need to manually brush on the carbon mixture. Although the materials and technology changed over the years, the main concept for blue carbon paper was kept the same for a century or more.
Today, most sales receipts, credit card slips, and other duplicated papers are printed, not copied with blue carbon. The messy blue carbon paper is rarely used in business transactions. However, it still has its uses in industrial applications. Machinery suppliers sell giant rolls of blue carbon paper that are used for machinery calibration and stenciling on glass, keeping this long-standing invention alive and well in some industries.
Posted on behalf of:
The King Group, Inc.
6865 Shiloh Road East, #100
Alpharetta, GA 30005
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