‘An Introduction to Braille’
Visit to Paper Mill
As a spin off, whilst staying in Scotland, I arranged a visit to Stoneywood Fine Paper Mill, from Arjo Wiggins, in Aberdeen. Olin, the paper used in Part 1 is made here. Wearing my ‘sensible shoes’, a pair of earplugs and a safety vest, Eddie Small the Technical Manager guided me skillfully through the process of paper making.
Stoneywood Mill Tour
Stoneywood is situated beautifully on the shores of the river Don and consists of a complex of old and new buildings. Being such a large factory safety is high on the agenda with separate walkways and warning signs both inside and outside the different buildings.
First stop was the watermarks, situated in one of the oldest buildings. Long lines of dandy rolls stood upright like decorative wall paper against the stone walls of this ancient building. A whole range of new and old dandies together and of course the famous Conqueror logo. In particular, I remember one watermark with a very detailed portrait of Winston Churchill. The image was embossed (soldered into the dandy), a technique that incorporates complex shadows (multi-tonal); unlike the electrotype watermarks (continuous tone).
After that we continued on to a series of larger buildings to view the whole process of paper making, from pulp to paper. Eddie gave me expert explanations about all the different stages. It was really fascinating and impressive to see how big, wet and noisy the process is and how much attention is paid to achieving a constant paper quality, especially considering the fact that there are so many varying factors. At one point I was standing next to giant rolls (webs) of metallic coated papers, one of which I had used for a braille bookmark. Past the coating process we finally reached the finishing machines where neat stacks of paper, including Olin, are packed,.ready for worldwide use.