Glossary of Paper Terms for Fountain Pen Users

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This glossary by B. H. Bentzman is included here with the author’s kind permission.

I have attempted to collect words concerning paper that might be of use to fountain pen users; and, in an attempt to emulate other scholars, I have as often as not plagiarized from other glossaries. This is a living glossary and I will consider any new inclusions, or for that matter deletions.

felt finish In an early stage of papermaking by machine, while the paper pulp is still more water than fiber, rolls covered with woven wool or synthetic felts leave a characteristic soft texture in the paper's surface.
felt side This is the top side of a sheet of paper. It can be identified by holding a paper up to the light and finding the watermark which faces the top. This is the side usually recommended for the best printing results, but it is not always the best side for fountain pen use. You might find that whereas the felt side resists your fountain pen, the reverse side might work perfectly.
feathering This occurs when you lay a line of ink on paper and it is not sharp but spreads, often spreading in rays that resemble the vane of a feather. It can sometimes be avoided by writing with a finer nib.
fiber This is the thread-like cellulose that forms a cohesive mass that we know as a sheet of paper. See also cellulose.
fine papers The term reserved for high-quality papers that provide superior characteristics for fountain pen users.
finish This refers to the surface characteristics of paper, its texture, its reflectiveness, its acceptance of various mediums.
finishing The final cutting, trimming, and packaging of paper.
flax The flax plant is used to make linen cloth. The fiber comes from the inner bark of the flax plant.
fluorescent paper This is paper with high reflective quality that makes it very bright; when colored pigments are used, they are vivid, perhaps lurid.
foolscap A type of inexpensive writing paper: legal size, lined, yellow sheets in a pad.
Fourdrinier machine A papermaking machine, the wonderful invention of the Frenchman Nicholas-Louis Robert in 1798, first put into service for Henry & Seamy Fourdrinier in England in 1804. Pulp runs into one end of the machine onto a moving endless belt of wire cloth (Fourdrinier wire), then to run over the polished surface of steam-heated cylinders to come out nearly finished paper.

The information in this glossary is as accurate as possible, but you should not take it as absolutely authoritative or complete. If you have additions or corrections to this page, please consider sharing them with us to improve the accuracy of our information.

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