KOOPS, Matthias (fl. 1789-1805). Historical Account of the Substances which have been used to Describe Events, and to Convey Ideas from the Earliest Date, to the Invention of Paper. London: T. Burton, 1800. Small 2° (282 x 171mm). Wood-engraved coat of arms and tail-piece. The dedication leaf signed by Koops and inscribed ‘17 James St. Westminster’. 19th-century blue straight-grained morocco tooled in blind, gilt spine label (extremities rubbed, label perhaps later). Provenance: Sir Francis Freeling (1764-1836, postal administrator and book collector; manuscript note recording the purchase at his sale) – Joseph Neeld (1789-1856; armorial bookplate).
FIRST EDITION OF THIS LANDMARK BOOK IN THE HISTORY OF PAPER-MAKING AND RECYCLING: Koops’s book is the first printed on viable paper manufactured solely from straw, while the appendix is printed on ‘paper made from wood alone, the produce of this country, without any intermixture of rags, waste paper, bark, straw, or any other vegetable substance’. With ever-increasing demand from printers for paper, and the associated shortage of traditional raw materials like cotton rags and linen, Koops turned to other sources and was able to prove that paper made from recycled waste paper, straw and wood could be produced commercially; ‘this achievement earns him a place in the history of paper making’ (ODNB). Koops was granted patents for these processes, and also for extracting inks from printed paper before pulping. This copy was formerly in the collection of Francis Freeling, one of the original members of the Roxburghe Club. Bigmore and Wyman, p. 399; Brunet II, 690 (note); Lowndes 1290. [With:] NIGRISOLI, Francesco Maria (1648-1727). De Charta. Ejusque Usu antiquos. Venice: Hieronymus Albricius, 1699. 8° (150 x 100mm). (Some light marginal spotting.) Later vellum, manuscript spine label (some soiling). First edition, rare. ABPC and RBH record no copy having sold at auction.