The ancient Sumerians used to write on tablets of wet clay with a tool known as the Stylus. Later, the clay tablets were baked in the sun or in a potter's oven so that they would become hard. Several such clay tablets have come down to us.
              It was the Egyptians who came up with Papyrus. Papyrus was made from the stalk of the papyrus plant, a tall reed which often grew to a height of twelve feet. The stalks were cut into thin strips and glued together with a paste made of flour. This was then hammered into a thin sheet and dried in the sun. Several such sheets were then glued together to form long rolls. Some of these rolls were over a hundred feet long!
             Papyrus had its flaws. It smudged easily, yet it became the chief writing material of much and remained so far almost four thousand years. The Greeks and the Romans too used papyrus. But for day-to-day writing, the Romans used a wooden slate coated with black wax. When one scratched through the wax, the letters would stand out. To rub off what had been written, one had to heat the slate. This would smoothen the surface and the slate of wax would be ready for use again.
             In India most writting was done on Palm leaves, but later, Tamra Patras or Copper plates were used for official records.
             The Chinese were the first to discover the art of making paper. They made it from Linen rags but they kept the method a closely-guarded secret. Seven hundred years later the Arabs who had conquered a chinese city, persuaded some of their prisoners to part with the secret and Europeans in their turn learnt the method from the Arabs.
            Today the best paper is still made out of rags. But most paper is made from Spruce or Pine wood.

Clay Tablets



Post a Comment