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Fabriano: City of Medieval & Renaissance Papermaking

Fabriano: City of Medieval and Renaissance Papermaking

Lecture by Sylvia Albro

Given at the Library of Congress on March 7, 2017

Sylvia Rodgers Albro detailed technical advancements introduced in the Italian city of Fabriano, including machinery and equipment, use of watermarks and improvements in the physical processes of papermaking.

Excerpt: The success of trade and the acquisition of wealth gave merchants and artisans in the town of central Italy greater leverage in their society. And by the 13th century, Fabriano city government had transformed from a futile system ruled by noble families to a republican commune with elected officials from 12 established guilds. And this is a re-renovated facade of the cathedral, but it still has the insignia of the most important guilds on the facade represented there.

The first recorded reference to professional paper makers in Fabriano is a notary’s register from 1282. So it’s amazing that some of these record books, they look a bit beat up, but when you think that they’re 800 years old, it’s pretty impressive that they’re still around. Look of the color of that paper on the front. That is just brilliant white still. So in this book, eight paper makers are cited at work in the town.

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