If you're new to collecting antique maps one of the first things that confuses the novice is the term 'original map'. This was explained in part one of these posts. I also gave you a basic description of the intaglio print process resulting in the maps image being transferred to the paper. Also in part one I gave you some visual example images of 'laid paper' so you know what you're looking for. As explained all maps were printed on laid paper up until around the end of the 18th century.
As map making entered the start of the 19th century a shift took place towards using paper produced on a new mold called WOVE. This wove paper had been invented by James Whatman in 1757. The development of ‘wove’ paper, producing paper on a smooth, regular-surfaced, woven mesh material that was pioneered by James Whatman at his Turkey Mill in Maidstone, Kent. It resulted in a sheet with a much smoother, less irregular surface than previously found in 'laid' paper
Like many other crafts, paper making by hand on a commercial basis eventually became non viable. The new technique quickly spread throughout Europe and America and soon it dominated the paper making industry. In time machines were developed that made paper on a continuous roll, no more individual sheets! As we entered the first half of the 19th century this wove paper was most common, hence most original maps were produced on wove paper, sometimes watermarked sometimes not.
Again the place to start is with the paper but as explained you're now looking for a different set of clues because over time the paper making process changed. The images above are the result of shining a bright light behind the paper. Often it is sufficient to hold the paper up to the light to see the kind of paper the map has been printed on. Getting a little bit of an understanding of this subject is really valuable to you. Being able to recognise paper in this way will help you greatly when it comes to identify if a map is original or a reproduction produced using modern paper processes.
In the next post on this subject I'll share with you what to look out for on the paper itself!
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