Paper was invented in China in 105AD. T'sai Lun, a minister in the Imperial Palace, discovered how to make it by boiling rags and old fishing nets and beating them into pulp. Papermaking is probably the first industry to make use of recycled raw materials.
This invention of paper had profound implications for economic, social and cultural history. For the first time there was a medium for communication that was cheap and easy to produce, convenient for writing and drawing on, compact and light. No wonder the Chinese guarded their secret jealously!