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As early as 2000 years ago, in the Western Han Dynasty (206BC-25AD) a form of printing had been developed.
This was stone-tablet rubbing, very similar to brass rubbing in principle.
But it did not reach Britain until around 1490, when the first known paper mill in England was built in 1490.
Paper reached the Americas in the 16th century, by which time it had become a truly global product.
Over thousands of years China has produced a great stream of inventions, ranging from the mundane chopstick and wheelbarrow, to sophisticated earthquake detectors and the advanced concept of bank notes.
But in China there are four inventions traditionally referred to as the Four Great Inventions.
It was used to spread Confucian knowledge and Buddhist sutras.
Not only was it expensive, but it was slow, and there was no guarantee each copy would be the same.
It was brought to Japan around 610 AD, and then moved to Vietnam and India at the beginning of the 6th century.
It took a thousand years after its invention for proper paper to reach Europe.
These are paper, gunpowder, the compass and printing.
Interestingly the word 'paper' is derived from 'papyrus'.In fact the earliest paper is very similar to modern paper in concept and technology.