Carbon copy paper has been around for centuries. It is usually blue or black in color and made in a similar way to carbon copy paper produced commercially. Carbon copy paper has not stood still over the years. The demands for this paper continue to increase as people continue to need copies of important documents quickly. The ability to make copies quickly has caused the increased popularity of this paper.
Carbon copy (sometimes also called carbon copy paper) was initially just paper coated on one edge with a layer of either a thick pigmented layer or a loose bound dry pigment, commonly referred to as a starch, used for making a single or multiple copies of the same document with a conventional ballpoint or a rollerball pen. The purpose of these first versions was simply to provide a means to create copies quickly and easily. The pigmented layer or the starch bound to the paper acted as a kind of shield from ink smudges. This made the process of making copies easier for the users and gave them a more robust copy.
With the development of carbon paper, the need for speed in making copies and the need for greater quality production began to increase. In order to meet these needs, manufacturers developed different methods of producing carbonless forms. The most common among them are the flexographic press, the thermal matted printer, the direct contact roll forming machine, and the ultrasonic sheet press. All these methods produce carbonless forms.
The flexographic press is one of the oldest forms of producing carbon paper. It employs compressed air to press sheets of carbon paper into thick sheets of paper, which are rolled onto a spindle. A piece of equipment called a flexographic applies pressure to the sheet and rolls it onto the spindle. There is usually a feed roller on the other side of the spindle, which feeds carbon paper onto the upper rollers. These rollers transfer the carbon to the other side of the spindle.
The process makes use of high heat to fuse the carbon into the other side of the sheet. Carbon fused on one side cannot be read by the naked eye unless a magnifying glass is used. This is why the carbon paper must be laminated first. After the lamination, the rolled sheets are put into a cylinder which is open at the bottom. The cylinder can be sealed, and then the carbon paper copied using carbon paper that has been laminated.
When carbonless forms were introduced into the market, there was a significant decrease in the cost of producing them. It also made copying much easier since one does not have to use laminating machines. One can simply open the cylinder and make copies without having to worry about the thickness and the quality of the copy.
To produce carbon paper coated with pigment, an acid lye solution is mixed with the carbon paper. This acid is used in order to chemically react to the pigment present in the sheet with the lye solution. Once this reaction is complete, the sheet will begin to burn. It burns until the carbon present in the sheet combines with the pigment to form a sort of bond between them.
This type of carbon paper is commonly used in both home and office copying devices. Some typewriter manufacturers have produced typewriter heads that incorporate this technology. Since carbon paper is stronger than glass for copying purposes, it is preferred over the glass when making hard copies. Many business owners prefer using carbon paper for their personal and home documents because it is less expensive than glass.