Myth #49 deals with the use of blue- or purple-colored paper to wrap sugar loaves. A fascinating article was recently brought to my attention, a scholarly piece written by paper conservator Irene Bruckle about the history of blue paper making. She clarifies many points that I could only vaguely address, including the use of woad, logwood, and indigo; how blue was less expensive to make than white, so often used for wrapping; and various common mordants and dying procedures. One relevant paragraph reads as follows:
The production of sugar paper is well documented in the early 17th century, when a Saxon papermaker sold 50 balesof bluesugarwrapping papertoan Amsterdam paper merchant. The first patent in the history of paper manufacture, issued in 1665 in England, concerned the production of sugar paper. The use of this typeof paper continued in many European countries at least until the second world war.nSugar mills even made their own wrapping paper in associated paper mills. Since the paper was mainly intended to protect the sugar cone from dust, it was not required to be strong, could be made from coarse, un-retted rags which were sharply beaten, and did not necessarily require sizing. Different varieties of sugar paper existed: light- and dark blue or purple paper, or double-sided paperconsistingofa light-colouredsheet couched onto a dark blue sheet. The blue or purple ‘Dutch paper’ was particularly famous for its quality.