The History of Stationery
The average onlooker may see the paper and stationery as a rather mundane topic. But stationery lovers know the industry is so much more than office supplies, but works of art. Here's a look at how paper and the stationery industry evolved and their outlook during an increasingly digital age.
Where Did Stationery Come From?
Tracing stationery's earliest days requires going back to the creation of paper. Egyptians were known to use a papyrus plant to fashion into a solid, dried sheet.
But historians largely credit a Chinese eunuch named Tsai Lun for inventing modern-day paper when he blended the inner bark of a mulberry tree and bamboo fibers around AD100.
The word stationery refers to products sold by a stationer who had a fixed book shop near a university. A stationer's shop was where people sold books and papers, while the rest of the retail commerce was mainly sold at markets and fairs. Manuscript creation was also standing between the 13th and 15th centuries, and many people turned to stationers to bind books and borrow reading material.
Modern Day Stationery
Handwritten notes began peaking in the second half of the 19th century and turned into an art form. The world started to see more colored and lightly tinted papers, floral embellishments, and gold-lined paper.
The paper mill industry was also booming during the early 1800s in the United States. Over 180 mills created hundreds of jobs and included the use of stationery printers. As the concept of stationery has evolved, it transformed from paper indicates mass-produced materials used in writing.
Today, stationery can also encompass digitally produced materials and printables.
The Digital Age
The stationery industry experienced some bumps in the road during the digital age as more people turned to email in the 1990s. Stationery sales boomed and showed the world still craves a more formal and beautiful method to communicate. But the world also experienced digital fatigue, especially during the pandemic, as more people than ever worked online and longed for something tangible.
The Growth of Personalized Office Supplies
The rise of modern-day office supplies took shape in the 1970s with the mainstream use of word processing machines and PCs. Paper and copy centers were in demand, and the industry evolved to include more personalized and curated supplies that reflected the beauty of traditional stationery.
Curating Your Own Stationery Collection
Today's stationery collection can include everything from office supplies, home stationery, writing supplies, task management, and anything related to writing and organization. Stationery supplies are also a low investment that brings satisfaction to both the sender and recipient.
Want to start your own collection? Try one of The Paper & Plan Co's unique products:
Letters Home - Our letters home kit includes ten sheets of A5 handmade paper and envelopes, seals, newspaper rolled graphite pencils, graphite eraser, pencil sharpener, and clear stop stationery box with ribbon and tag.
Office Essentials Box - Get our comprehensive office essentials box with Jots & Jolts notebooks, magnetic bookmarks, memo pad, polaroid pad, post-it notes, task pads, and more.
Page Flags - Tame your paper trail and keep your space tidy with post-it brand Page Flags. They're a fun way to stay organized and on top of your tasks all day.
Thank You Keeper Notepad - Instead of struggling to keep track of all of those thank you notes and correspondence, organize it all with this unique Thank You Keeper Notepad.
Babysitter Notepad - Whether you need a sitter for your fur babies or children, this babysitter pad keeps all of your essential info in one place. In an emergency, it's a go-to reference to organize schedules, list out food allergies, and document bedtime routines.
The Paper & Plan Co Hoodie - These super soft fleece hoodies are the perfect companion for the chilly months ahead. Our signature "&" on the front with "The Paper & Plan Co" down the sleeves.
Ready to dream up your own stationery collection for your home or work? Shop our Paper & Plan collection to organize your day with efficiency and style.