Author: Anonymous Submitted: 05.08.08 Word Count: 852
The Hollander Beater
During the early 1600s the stamper was still in use for the maceration of fibers. But in Holland they were faced with the problem of how to power the stamper. The most common power source was wind power, generated by windmills. Wind though was unreliable, unlike water it did not flow in a single path and the mill may not always be in that path. Stamping was an action done with brute physical impact against the fiber. Later on during the late 1600s, due to the higher demand for paper and the unreliable wind power of the mills, the Hollander Beater had been developed.
Created in Holland, hence the name Hollander Beater was a play off the Edgerunner which had been used to grind things like mustard seed and tobacco. The Dutch had realized that with the Edgerunner they already had a strong, quick, and more efficient grinder. The Edgerunner though had been a great industrial tool made from large round stones that where made to roll in circles to grind materials. The Hollander Beater is of a smaller size in comparison and instead of the use of stone, a metal cylinder with teeth attached to with was put into place. Replacing the stampers that had been in use for the maceration of the fibrous materials, the Hollander Beater was more efficient. It allowed for paper makers to skip the step of fermentation, with the rolling blade like teeth the fibers were more thoroughly macerated. Also, without having to ferment the fibrous material, the process of papermaking had been sped up incredibly, allowing for papermakers to meet increasing demand for quality paper.
The Hollander Beater is made as a circular track where the blades macerate the pulp while pushing it around the track, which is filled with water to maintain hydration, so that the pulp is continuously beaten without pause. During the 1800s the beater was developed an all purpose feel. It was being used as a replacement for fermentation; it had also been installed with a screen area that helps in cleansing the material and fibers by removing dirt particles. For one of its processes it is know as a rag engine, where the raw material, rags, is introduced into the beater as a replacement for the putrification, or decomposition, process of preparing rags for maceration. This had been allowed with in the beater due to the scissor like action of the blades being place at an angle to each other.
Some had said that thought the Hollander Beater had made the papermaking process increasingly quicker, the paper was of a poorer quality. That the beater was cutting the fibers to short and the strength was greatly reduced because of this. And even with these reasoning’s, the popularity of the Hollander Beater over shadowed this possibility of a poor quality paper because of the greater need for paper.
When these beaters were installed into mills, they had saved on not only time and the elimination of fermentation, but less raw material was lost, money, and water where also saved. During the fermentation period raw material had a great possibility of being lost due to rot. Since fermentation is the controlled “rot” of any material, material that may have been left for to long may have reached the further states of rot and is lost and can not be used. And the beater had replaced stamper that had been in use, and with the stamper there was the added loss of moister with the repeated hits focused on the pulp. In the beater the pulp is fully surrounded and kept within water during the entire process. And since the raw material in use, cotton and linen rags, was expensive, being able to retain more of the raw material lead to reduced cost during production.
Time used to degenerate and macerate the fibers had been cut drastically, going from a process lasting from twelve to twenty-four hours to an approximately six hour process. And with the pulp being more thoroughly macerated, more paper of a higher quality was being created. Since demand for paper was increasing due to the printing press, books, and other needs, the beater was the best improvement for keeping up with this demand.
Over time since it has been developed, its basic function has not changed. The way it looks has altered, updates have been added, and it is adapted more for each time it crosses into; its principle functions have not changed. The Hollander Beater is even still used today by most diehard papermakers. Used now in studios rather than mill since the industrialization of the papermaking process, the hand making process has become more of a hobby than a necessity in the major areas of the world.
1. “The Vatman’s shake and the lure of papermaking history” by Leonard N. Rosenband
2. “De middelste molen: Traditional Dutch papermaking in Gelderland” by Michael Fallon
3. “The Oxford Papers: The development of the Beater” by Phil Crockett
4. “Manipulate: Release” by Michelle Elizabeth Bayer, BFA