Today we feature the Bowater Papers, a trade journal from the Bowater Paper Corporation of London published irregularly from 1950. The Library holds issues 1-4.
William Vansittart Bowater founded the Bowater company in London in the 1880s as a paper wholesaler and agent for the purchase of newsprint on behalf of newspaper publishers. Following the founder’s death in 1907, Bowaters became a limited liability private company named W V Bowater and Sons Ltd. Bowaters’ first step towards becoming a paper manufacturer was in July 1925 at Northfleet. Bowaters’ business plan was based on rapid expansion and by the end of 1930 the company produced 22% of the total UK output of newsprint. After the war, a rapid revival of demand for newsprint appeared unlikely so the company diversified into paper packaging. This strategy continued to be effective so that by the mid 1950s the company entered into the rapidly growing tissue market. The company was taken over by the Scott Paper Group in the mid 1980s.
The Bowater Papers features articles on paper manufacture and packaging design, but rendered through highly innovative typographical and mechanical means to impress both clients, shareholders and competitors alike. As the public-facing vehicle for the company’s work, the journal was consciously designed to impress through technical skill and bright modernist designs. Devices such as fold-outs, punch-throughs and packaging inserts were used liberally.