"Il Museo Della Carta" Top 5 Page for this destination Italy Off The Beaten Path Tip by iandsmith

Italy Off The Beaten Path: 430 reviews and 602 photos

  Screw press with guide attached
by iandsmith

The paper museum in Amalfi was something I'd never heard of but, being my usual curious self and having an abiding faith that all museums have at least one thing interesting, I paid up and went on this fascinating tour of an ancient paper mill, handed over to the State in 1969 by Comm. Nicola Milano who had the foresight to recognize his factory's historical value. Somewhat sadly, he passed away a couple of weeks before I viewed his old premises that date back to the 13th or 14th centuries.
Unbeknowns to me, paper used to be made of battered linen, cotton and hemp, derived from literally thrashing the pulp out of old garments before putting them in a large vat
of water.
A fine wire screen was then carefully put in the tank, collecting a certain amount of pulp which was then put between woollen felt sheets and, layer upon layer, stacked beneath a wooden-screw press that squeezed some of the water out before they were sent to the drying rooms.
The sheets were then treated with a solution of gelatin and smoothed by hand after accurate quality selection.
This was not a place you would want to work. Lung diseases (from fine fibres), plague (from old clothes) and the fact that 60% suffered industrial deafness whilst working with fabric that was bleached with urine and disinfected with lime. In a word, "yuk!".
The amazing thing is that, apart from the workers, it's all still there.

othercontact: Follow the signs from the piazza

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated May 9, 2003
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