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In the 1790s members of the industry in both Paris and London were working on inventions to try to mechanise paper-making. In England John Dickenson produced the cylinder machine that was operational by 1809. Although useful for smaller enterprises, this lacked the large scale potential of the machine resulting from the invention of Nicholas-Louis Robert in Paris, which had a more complicated incubation period. The last of the early improvements to this machine were financed by the Fourdrinier brothers in London, and it was after these brothers that the machine was named. The Fourdrinier could produce paper of virtually any size for the very first time, limited only by the width of the continuous wire mesh upon which the paper was made. It has been estimated that this machine could produce 40,680 14"x 18" sheets in 12 hours - the production equivalent of 8 hand-operated vats - thus reducing the price of some papers by about two-thirds. A watershed had been reached which led to a rapid increase in other mechanical developments and improvements.The change-over to new technologies was, however, gradual. A few mills using the old hand-made methods continued to function until relatively recently. One mill, Wookey Hole in Somerset, still operates on a small scale but this is largely for tourist purposes. This is slightly counterbalanced by one or two new hand-operated mills that have opened in recent years.The scarcity of paper-making materials had been a problem from th...

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