History of Wallpaper Around the World, Part 2

history wallpaper around world

In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some of the earliest origins of wallpaper throughout history. Wallpaper has been used by human civilizations in some shape or form for thousands of years, with a diverse history that’s led us to modern wallpaper formats you see today.

At Wallpaper Warehouse, we’re highly appreciative of the history behind the various designer and discounted wallpaper we offer in a variety of colors, styles and manufacturers. In today’s part two, we’ll go over the advent of widespread wallpaper manufacturing, a few other developments in previous centuries and how today’s wallpaper came to be.

Wallpaper Manufacturing Origins

In the year 1675, the wallpaper world underwent a major shift when Jean-Michael Papillon, a French engineer, began making hand-carved block designs in matching patterns. Many consider this the true invention of modern wallpaper. From here, two additional innovations improved the manufacturing process for wallpaper around Europe:

  • Tints: In 1785, French and German entrepreneur Christophe-Philippe Oberkampf introduced a new machine that could print colored tints onto sheets of paper for a wallpaper format.
  • Continuous sheets: Later, in 1799, a man named Louis-Nicolas Roberts built a machine that could produce continuous sheets of wallpaper with colored patterns – those familiar with a machine known as the Fourdrinier Machine should know that Roberts’ invention paved the way for it.

Aniline Dye

Fast forward to the year 1856, when another major point was reached: The invention of aniline dye, which replaced the use of arsenic or white lead in creating wallpaper. Not only did aniline dye make the production process far cheaper, it also removed the health risks associated with arsenic and white lead, which had been impacting industry workers for years. This discovery sped up the wallpaper manufacturing process significantly.

20th Century and Today’s Wallpaper

Over the next century or so, there weren’t a ton of specific new inventions or innovations in terms of wallpaper. By the 20th century, or the period we’d mostly consider “modern,” wallpaper was a virtual necessity in every home, often featuring bold floral patterns and retro colors. Designers began to put their stamp in wallpaper, including luxury designers who would create their own unique brands of wallpaper – many of these still exist today.

Today, wallpaper is meant to define the ambiance and color scheme of your entire home. It can create an environment and a texture, whether you’re using designer wallpaper for a high-quality area or kids’ wallpaper for your child’s room. Modern technology and trends change regularly, so it’s important to work with experts who track these developments and will keep you abreast of anything you need to know.

For more on the history of wallpaper, or to learn about any of our discount wallpaper, speak to the staff at Wallpaper Warehouse today.

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