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Carbon paper (originally carbonic paper) was originally
paper Paper is a thin sheet material Material is a substance Substance may refer to: * Substance (Jainism), a term in Jain ontology to denote the base or owner of attributes * Chemical substance, a material with a definite chemical composition ...

paper
coated on one side with a layer of a loosely bound dry
ink Ink is a gel, Sol (colloid), sol, or Solution (chemistry), solution that contains at least one colourant, such as a dye or pigment, and is used to color a surface to produce an image, writing, text, or design. Ink is used for drawing or writing ...

ink
or pigmented
coating A coating is a covering that is applied to the surface of an object, usually referred to as the substrate Substrate may refer to: Physical layers *Substrate (biology), the natural environment in which an organism lives, or the surface or medium ...
, bound with
wax Waxes are a diverse class of organic compound In , organic compounds are generally any s that contain - . Due to carbon's ability to (form chains with other carbon s), millions of organic compounds are known. The study of the properties, ...
, used for making one or more copies simultaneously with the creation of an original document when using a
typewriter A typewriter is a mechanical Mechanical may refer to: Machine * Mechanical system A machine is any physical system with ordered structural and functional properties. It may represent human-made or naturally occurring device molecular ...

typewriter
or a
ballpoint pen A ballpoint pen, also known as a biro or ball pen, is a pen A pen is a common writing instrument A writing implement or writing instrument is an object used to produce writing Writing is a medium of human communication that involves ...
. The manufacture of carbon paper was formerly the largest consumer of
montan wax Montan wax, also known as lignite wax or OP wax, is a hard wax Waxes are a diverse class of organic compound In , organic compounds are generally any s that contain - . Due to carbon's ability to (form chains with other carbon s), m ...
. In 1954 the Columbia Ribbon & Carbon Manufacturing Company filed a patent for what became known in the trade as solvent carbon paper: the coating was changed from wax-based to polymer-based. The manufacturing process changed from a hot-melt method to a solvent-applied coating or set of coatings. It was then possible to use polyester or other plastic film as a substrate, instead of paper, although the name remained carbon paper.


History

In 1801,
Pellegrino Turri Pellegrino Turri (1765–1828), an Italy, Italian inventor, invented a mechanical typing machine, one of the first typewriters, at the start of the 19th century (conflicting accounts suggest 1801, 1806 or 1808) for his blind friend Countess Carolina ...
, an
Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance language *** Regional Italian, regional variants of the ...

Italian
inventor, invented carbon paper to provide the ink for his mechanical typing
machine A machine is any physical system with ordered structural and functional properties. It may represent human-made or naturally occurring device molecular machine A molecular machine, nanite, or nanomachine is a molecular component that produc ...

machine
, one of the first
typewriters File:Typewriter.ogv, Video showing the operation of a typewriter A typewriter is a machine, mechanical or electromechanical machine for typing characters. Typically, a typewriter has an array of Button (control), keys, and each one causes a dif ...

typewriters
. Ralph Wedgwood obtained the first patent for carbon paper in 1806. Carbon paper was the principal medium of reproduction for
samizdat Samizdat (russian: самиздат, lit=self-publishing, links=no) was a form of Soviet dissidents, dissident activity across the socialist Eastern Bloc in which individuals reproduced censored and underground makeshift publications, often by h ...
, a publication method used in the former
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a of multiple national ; in practice and were highly until its final years. The ...
in order to publish books without having to use state-controlled printing houses and risk the
censorship Censorship is the suppression of speech, public communication, or other information. This may be done on the basis that such material is considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or "inconvenient". Censorship can be conducted by governments ...

censorship
or imprisonment that was commonplace at the time. While the use of carbon paper has declined to almost nothing, a legacy of its once widespread use has remained in the header of emails, where the abbreviation "cc" stands for "carbon copies", the copies intended for recipients other than the principal addressee.


Fuel cell application

Carbon paper is also used in
fuel cell A fuel cell is an electrochemical cell An electrochemical cell is a device capable of either generating electrical energy Electrical energy is energy derived from electric potential energy or kinetic energy. When used loosely, ''electri ...

fuel cell
applications. However, this carbon paper has nothing to do with the carbon paper used for copying texts. It consists of
carbon microfibers
carbon microfibers
manufactured into flat sheets. It is used to help as an electrode that facilitates diffusion of reagents across the catalyst layered membrane portion of membrane electrode assembly.


Other uses

The advent of word-processing and the decline of typewriting meant that any number of copies of a document could be printed on demand, and the decline of carbon paper, which had already been partially superseded by
photocopying A photocopier (also known as a copier or copy machine, and formerly a Xerox Machine) is a machine that makes copies of documents and other visual images onto paper Paper is a thin sheet material produced by mechanically and/or chemically ...

photocopying
and
carbonless copy paper Carbonless copy paper (CCP), non-carbon copy paper, or NCR paper (No Carbon Required, taken from the initials of its creator, National Cash Register) is a type of coated paperCoated paper (also known as enamel paper, gloss paper, and slick paper) i ...
, became irrevocable. A few specialist or remnant uses remain. Examples of these are receipts at
point of sale The point of sale (POS) or point of purchase (POP) is the time and place where a retail transaction is completed. At the point of sale, the merchant A merchant is a person who trades in Commodity, commodities produced by other people, espec ...
(though they have mostly been relegated to being backups for when electronic POS devices fail) or for on-the-spot
fine Fine may refer to: Characters * Sylvia Fine (''The Nanny''), Fran's mother on ''The Nanny'' * Fine/Officer Fine, character in Tales from the Crypt, played by Vincent Spano Vincent M. Spano (born October 18, 1962) is an American film, stage and ...
notices, duplicate checks, and some money orders (though the
United States Postal Service The United States Postal Service (USPS; also known as the Post Office, U.S. Mail, or Postal Service) is an independent agency A regulatory agency or regulatory authority, is a Public benefit corporation Public-benefit corporation is a te ...
has recently converted to an electronic format), and tracking slips for various expedited mail services requiring multiple copies. In India, form-filling is on a sufficient scale that carbon paper is still widely used. As of 2013, in Canada only one eight-person company still manufactures carbon paper, in the United Kingdom one company and in the United States only two small companies. There have been some experimental uses of carbon paper in art (as a surface for painting) and
mail art Mail art, also known as postal art and correspondence art, is an artistic movement centered on sending small-scale works through the mail, postal service. It initially developed out of what eventually became Ray Johnson's New York Correspondence ...
(to decorate envelopes). Carbon paper is commonly used to transfer patterns onto glass in the creation of
stained glass The term stained glass refers to coloured glass as a material and to works created from it. Throughout its thousand-year history, the term has been applied almost exclusively to the windows of churches and other significant religious buildings ...

stained glass
. Carbon paper disks are still used in school physics labs as parts of experiments on projectile motion or position, velocity, and acceleration.


See also

*
Carbon copy Before the development of photographic copiers, a carbon copy—not to be confused with the carbon print A carbon print is a Photography, photographic print with an image consisting of pigmented gelatin, rather than of silver or other metallic ...
*
Carbonless copy paper Carbonless copy paper (CCP), non-carbon copy paper, or NCR paper (No Carbon Required, taken from the initials of its creator, National Cash Register) is a type of coated paperCoated paper (also known as enamel paper, gloss paper, and slick paper) i ...
*
List of duplicating processes This is a partial list of text and image duplicating processes used in business and government from the Industrial Revolution The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in Europe and the United States, in the p ...


References


External links


''Carbon Paper Being Used in Fuel Cells''

''The Exciting History of Carbon Paper!''



A comment on carbon paper
{{Paper Printing and writing paper Coated paper Italian inventions 19th-century inventions