Possibly the dullest book on my shelf

The History of Paper Sacks, 100 Jahre Papiersackmaschinen und Papiersäcke published 1988, in what I imagine is a limited edition.

It celebrates the work of Hermann Hölscher 1842-1913, inventor of the first triangle bag machine and Gustav Fischer 1850-1939, inventor of the first machine for cement sacks. Both went on to form companies which continued to develop machines paper bag production for various markets. The book is obviously a labour of love for the author, Rolf Sander. ‘This book does not pretend to be perfect – it is a forerunner of an extensive work about paper bag technology.’ At 100 pages, it is quite enough for me.

The History of Paper Sacks
Cover of The History of Paper Sacks

It has the text in German, English and French on the left hand side and illustrations of the machines on the right hand side. I have learned about the weak points of a sack and was pleased to hear that in 1912 a Bristol company, Strachan & Henshaw, helped to develop a machine for the production of ‘pasted open mouth bags (cross bottom). This type has the characteristic of a good bottom standing.’

Picture of a Sewn Valve Sack invented by Mr AM Bates in 1908

This made the closure of sacks quick, and the filling dust-free. He went on to found companies in Europe and by 1929, nearly 1,800 valve sack filing machines had been sold around the world.

Did I call this book dull?
Some strangely interesting snippets of information and bags of odd facts – pun intended!