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.

laid In papermaking this is the wire mesh covering for a mould. Very fine wires are arranged vertically and horizontally over the frame to allow drainage. It also results in a pattern of itself in the surface of the paper. See also wove.
laid finish This is the grid impression of evenly spaced parallel lines, laid lines and chain lines, that being watermarks can been seen in laid paper when held up to the light. The finish is applied to machine-made paper by a dandy roll.
laid lines These are actually watermarks resulting from the wire mesh on which paper is formed. The lines appear in laid paper when held to the light. They are the shorter lines, closely spaced and running between the longer. See also laid papers.
laid papers These are sheets of paper with a grid pattern that can been seen when held up to the light. They are actually watermarks. They result from the pulp resting against the wire mesh of the mould (See Mould). When laid lines are produced on machine paper by a dandy roll they indicate the direction of the grain. “Laid” lines are closely spaced while “chain” lines are farther apart & run parallel with the grain direction of the sheet, important when folding papers, especially to bookbinders. See also chain lines, dandy roll, laid lines, wove paper.
laser engraving By zapping paper with the ray of a laser the paper is evaporated. New technology employs lasers to cut paper with intricate designs.
legal size A size of writing paper 812"×14".
letterhead Letter-size paper for business use, with a printed heading at the top of the sheet identifying the name and address of the business.
letter size Standard size U. S. business paper, 812"×11". In the rest of the world, standard business sized paper (A4) is 210 mm×297 mm, approximately 8.25"×11.687".
letterpress printing The traditional printing process in which ink is applied to the raised portions of a printing plate or type and is pressed onto paper. See also offset printing.
lightfastness The degree to which the pigment in colored paper will resist fading in sunlight.
lignin This is the material that accompanies cellulose in the cell walls of plants. While lignin is useful to the plants, providing strength and rigidity, it must be chemically removed from the pulp or else it weakens paper and causes the paper to discolor when exposed to light.
linen Fibers from the flax plant are longer and stronger than those of the cotton plant and produce a stronger paper. Paper can be made directly from the unspun fibers of the plant, or from the linen rag made from those raw fibers. See also rag paper.
linen finish A paper surface that is embossed to give the impression of a linen cloth.
linters (also cotton linters) The cotton fibers that remain stuck to the seed after the first ginning. It is used to make paper pulp.

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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