Paper Production Milestone in Roanoke Rapids, 1909

A paper plant in Canton in 1922On February 26, 1909, the Roanoke Rapids Paper Manufacturing Company produced the first sulphate processed kraft paper in the United States. The sulphate name refers to the use of sodium sulphate, or sulphur. Kraft paper has long been used in applications ranging from butcher paper to concrete sacks. It is usually coarse and strong and is often light brown in color.

The pulp mill, constructed between 1907 and 1909, was part of the greater Roanoke Rapids Manufacturing Company, incorporated in 1905. At the outset of production, the mill generated between 15 and 18 tons of pulp per day, and that daily amount was soon increased to 25 tons.

Between 1909 and 1912, the finished product of the paper mill was made from ground wood pulp and sulphate pulp. Kraft paper was manufactured entirely from sulphate pulp after 1912. In 1913, the name of the business was changed to Halifax Paper Company, and improvements were made to the plant in order to boost production to 35 tons per day. The company continued to expand and merge over the years and is now a subsidiary of International Paper.

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