• FA-123547 © Technisches Museum Wien, Photo: Peter Sedlaczek
  • FA-123548 © Technisches Museum Wien, Photo: Peter Sedlaczek
Collection Area
Production Technology
1800 - 1849
At the moment this object is not published in the museum.

Sleeking hammer for handmade paper, 19th century


Writing on paper, cutting it to size, tearing it up – why not? But hammering it? Handmade paper was often characterised by unevenness, which had to be eliminated by different means.

For centuries round stones were used for smoothing paper out by hand. Then, in the 16th century, hammers with a large striking surface came into use. It meant that several sheets of paper could be processed simultaneously on a sleeking surface. It appears that this method of ‘percussion stamping’ was used for the first time at a paper mill in the Moravian town of Jihlava. Long debates ensued thereafter among the ‘smoothers’ and the ‘stampers’ over who had the best method for processing their product. During the second half of the 18th century rolling mills were gradually introduced for smoothing paper.

In 1916 the Technisches Museum Wien acquired this hammer from the paper mill of Anton J. Schmidt & Sons in the Moravian town of Gross Ullersdorf (Velké Losiny). The first paper bearing that particular mill’s watermark dates from 1596 and features the insignia of the Žerotin, a noble family from Moravia whose members had first established the mill. During and even after the age of industrialisation it remained one of the few papermaking plants to produce exclusively handmade paper. The building itself was acquired by Anton J. Schmidt in 1855. After the First World War the owners manufactured an almost ash- and iron-free filtering paper that was suitable for the finest chemical analyses and was sold as far afield as America and Japan. Handmade paper from Gross Ullersdorf was also used at the time as the backing material for watercolours, copperplate prints, stocks & shares, precious scientific works, diploma certificates, and land registers. The company was nationalised in 1949. Handmade paper is still produced here to this day. The old mill building also comprises a museum.

Date of origin: 19th century

Inv.Nr. 14554
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