23 March 2016

Papermaking at James Cropper Mill

We travelled to the Lake District last week for a visit to the James Cropper paper mill with GF Smith, whose Colorplan paper range is one of the many papers produced at the mill. The Burneside Mill has been home to James Cropper PLC since 1845; some of the machinery within is over one hundred years old and still in operation.

We witnessed the paper making process from start to finish, beginning in the laboratory, where new shades are analysed by spectrometer and reproduced as single-sheet paper samples. The technicians explained the colour development process and the impact of metamerism, whereby colours look identical under one kind of light but drastically different in another; an effect we’d experienced many times when matching papers, Pantones or checking proofs in poor light!

Later, we were led to the heart of the action inside the mill itself, and watched as the bales of pulp were mashed and dyed in enormous vats, before being strained, dried, pressed and wound onto spools. It was fascinating to see the raw materials being transformed and to witness the heat, humidity, noise and activity of the colossal machinery at work. Thankyou to GF Smith and James Cropper for such an interesting day out— we will never look at paper quite the same way again.