Questions & Answers: Legal Paper
Cotton is one of the strongest and most durable fibers known to man. Papers manufactured from cotton fiber will last longer and hold up better under repeated handling and various environmental conditions than paper made from wood pulp. Generally, given reasonable care, a consumer can expect one year of usable life for every 1% of cotton contained in the sheet. Paper made with 100% cotton content can be expected to live at least 100 years.
To illustrate this attribute, it has been documented that in 1962 while perusing the Illinois Historical Society archives, a Southworth Sales Manager discovered a letter dated 1858 signed by Abraham Lincoln. This letter bore the unmistakable Southworth watermark and has stood the test of time.
Typically cotton fiber papers are made of either all cotton fiber (100% cotton) or a blend of cotton and wood pulp. The most common blend is made of 25% cotton and 75% wood pulp.
Behind the words and below the images, the paper you use makes an impression. The cotton fiber in Southworth Company’s papers sends a message even before ink is applied. Its look and feel says quality, prestige and permanence. Yet Southworth’s cotton fiber paper’s compatibility with the latest electronic imaging techniques makes it the contemporary choice. However you choose to use it, cotton fiber paper is the start of something special. While it remains the paper of choice when you are concerned about image, cotton fiber performs well in a range of roles. While the richness of Southworth’s cotton fiber paper leaves a lasting impression, its strength and adaptability shouldn’t be overlooked. Cotton fiber paper’s natural composition makes it strong enough to stand up to complex printing processes and deliver consistent results.
Not only does paper with cotton content feel good, you can feel good about yourself for choosing Southworth cotton paper for your business and personal correspondence and important documents. Cotton is a natural fiber that is made from renewable and recovered materials. Cotton linters* are identified by government recycling standards as a recovered fiber, boosting cotton paper’s compliancy with most government contracts when combined with post consumer fiber.
*Cotton linters are what Southworth uses in the papermaking process. These are the short fibers that are not used in the textile industry, and as such would be discarded into the waste stream if not used in the making of cotton paper. This reduces the waste that would otherwise end up in landfills.
Yes. Advances in papermaking have kept pace with innovations in business equipment, making Southworth’s cotton fiber paper compatible with today’s most demanding printing technologies. New surface enhancements and finishes created especially for new office technology now brings a whole range of options within the reach of anyone with an office printer. Cotton fiber paper performs in a variety of applications. Whether you use delicate tones or saturate the page with bold color, you’ll get unmatched effects on bright, clean cotton fiber paper. As with any paper, for best results we advise that you reference the Print Settings recommended for your machine. Southworth recommends the Bond or Heavyweight paper setting for laser printers. For more details read our Laser Printer Troubleshooting article.
The watermark on Southworth paper is a sign of quality. It assures the user that the paper is a fine paper. The watermark generally will identify the manufacturer, the brand name and the amount of cotton fiber, if any, in the sheet. Through the use of a special roller called a “dandy roll”, the watermark is impressed inside the paper early in the manufacturing process. All of Southworth Company’s cotton fiber papers are watermarked signifying their fine quality and distinction.
Southworth’s watermarks contain a date-code. The purpose of the date-code is to protect the integrity of the document that is printed on the paper from fraud. This is done by incorporating a special marker into the watermark. The position of the mark is usually changed annually and legal records are kept to document the date and its exact location. These marks are especially important for legal, accounting or government documents where the integrity of the document could be called into question.
Fine papers are manufactured in various weights, commonly 32, 24, and 20 pound weights. The substance weight of fine writing paper is determined by the weight of 500 sheets of 17″ x 22″ paper before it is cut to the final 8 1/2″ x 11″ size. If the paper has been manufactured to a 20-pound specification, 500 sheets of this uncut paper will weigh 20 pounds. Four reams of 8 1/2″ x 11″ paper can be cut from each of these uncut sheets. Therefore, a ream of 8 1/2″ x 11″ paper will weigh 5 pounds (20 lbs. divided by four). The most common paper weight today is 20 lb. While Southworth sells 20 lb. papers, most of its papers are 24 lb. weight or higher, providing a more substantial feel and greater durability.
Southworth uses Writing Weights to measure the weight of our papers because most of the paper we make gets converted to 8 ½ X 11, or the traditional letterhead size. Writing Papers are often typically used for letterheads and stationery and tend to be of a higher quality often containing cotton fibers.
Paper Merchants use Text Weights for the paper they sell. These papers get converted to many different sizes for large and small printing presses. Text Paper was historically used to print text pages within books and reports.
Cover Stock includes a wide variety of fairly heavy papers, which can be made into covers for reports, catalogs, brochures, pamphlets, etc. Common weights are 65 lb. and 80 lb. with the word “Cover” typically following the number to differentiate them from Text or Writing weights.
For paper that has a basis weight of 24 lb. or higher (many of Southworth’s papers fall into this category), the correct envelope is one of equal weight to the paper. The correct weight of a matching envelope for a paper of up to 20 lb. stock should be one step heavier than the paper. For example, the proper envelope to use with 20 pound paper would be an envelope made from 24 pound stock.
The metric system of measurement for paper is used primarily throughout the world, with notable exceptions being the United States, Canada and Mexico. Paper-size measured metrically uses the unit “millimeter,” with 25.4mm equaling one inch. The International Standards Organization (ISO) sets forth in its document ISO 216 a series of (metric) paper sizes, each element having a length-to-width ratio of 1.414. A most commonly used size is A4, which measures 210mm x 297mm. The substance weight or basis weight of paper measured metrically uses the unit “grams,” with the weight stated as “grams per square meter,” or g/m2. Southworth offers a full line of high quality A4 papers and envelopes.
The term “bond” has no actual meaning in the manufacturing process. The term comes from WW I when war bonds were printed on cotton fiber papers that were extensively watermarked. The extensive watermark was used to protect buyers from bonds sold by counterfeiters (the first safety paper). Following the war, people who wanted a good quality paper would ask for paper like that “bond” paper. Thus, the term has become associated with high quality and generally when used by the end user means the user wants to buy a “Fine Paper” product.
A paper with a wove, or smooth, finish is one that has no specially manufactured texture. Oftentimes, paper with a smooth surface does not carry a finish designation. If there is no finish designation on a package of paper, you can assume it has a wove finish.
This is a smooth paper with a small amount of richly colored fibers which give it a natural speckled effect, resembling granite. Southworth offers its Granite Specialty Paper in a wide variety of weights and colors, with 25% cotton and 50% Post Consumer Recycled Fiber.
It is thought that various forms of parchment were in use as early as 1500 BC. Parchment was originally made from the flesh side of animal skins. The skins were cooked in lime, stretched on a frame, scraped smooth to the desired thickness, sprinkled with chalk, rubbed smooth with a pumice stone and then dried. (The finishing process smoothed and softened the leather as well as improved on the color of the finished product.) Parchment is still used for some diplomas and public documents. However, most of what is called Parchment paper today is paper manufactured to emulate the look of original parchment. Southworth’s Parchment Specialty Paper reproduces the antique look and Old World elegance of original parchment paper.
Papers made with a laid finish are made to emulate paper as it looked when it was first invented. Laid is a textured finish consisting of a horizontal pattern and a vertical pattern known as “chain lines”. The texture is created by using a dandy roll to impress the pattern into the paper along with the watermark at the wet end of the manufacturing process. Laid papers project a very elegant and sophisticated image. Southworth offers two distinct groups of Laid papers: Antique Laid and Private Stock® Laid. The difference is in the width of the patterns.
Linen is a textured finish applied to paper by an embossing process done after the paper has been manufactured that has the look and feel of linen fabric. Generally, a linen finish is a very subtle texture that performs well in most laser and inkjet printers and copiers. Southworth offers its textured linen papers in a wide variety of weights and colors. Our Linen Business Paper is made of 25% cotton with 30% Post Consumer Recycled Fiber. Southworth Linen Résumé Paper is made of 100% cotton fiber.
Paper which has no acid or residual acid-producing chemicals is called “acid free.” Papers that are “acid free” will resist yellowing and disintegration longer than sheets that are not acid free. This is particularly true as the percent of wood pulp in paper relative to the amount of cotton increases, since cotton papers are less likely to disintegrate or yellow than papers made of all or part wood pulp. Paper with a pH factor of “7″ or higher are considered acid free.
Cotton is one of the strongest and most durable fibers known to man, and has historically been used for archiving purposes. Papers manufactured from cotton fiber will last longer and hold up better under repeated handling and various environmental conditions than paper made from wood pulp. Generally, given reasonable care, a consumer can expect one year of usable life for every 1% of cotton contained in the sheet. Paper made with 100% cotton content can be expected to live at least 100 years.
Recycled Paper is paper that contains a percentage of recovered fiber. Post Consumer Fiber is fiber that comes from paper products that have reached the end consumer and were recycled back into the papermaking process. This could include paper, paperboard, and fibrous wastes from retail stores, office buildings, or homes. Typical examples are old newspapers and magazines. By reclaiming and incorporating PCF into the paper making process, Southworth helps to extend the fiber supply, reducing pressure on forests, reducing mill emissions and cutting back on solid waste.
Southworth manufactures a number of recycled papers containing Post Consumer Fiber (PCF). See the following chart for a partial list that details the recycled content for each product grouping. And don’t forget that cotton is a 100% natural fiber that is made from renewable and recovered materials.
Southworth produces ECF (Elemental Chlorine Free) paper. Chlorine has traditionally been used to give paper its white appearance and to remove lignin, an element of wood fiber that yellows paper. Elemental Chlorine Free (ECF) papers are produced from pulp that has been bleached with a chlorine derivative such as chlorine dioxide, but without elemental chlorine. The use of ECF bleaching is an excellent technology choice for sustainable pulp and paper manufacturing. It eliminates the formation of dioxin, it allows for a greater yield of pulp, and it creates a stronger, more sustainable and recyclable product. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognizes elemental chlorine free (ECF) bleaching as a “best available technology.”
The Forest Stewardship Council™, or FSC®, is an independent, non-profit organization that has established a certification system to promote the responsible management of the world’s forests. Chain of Custody certification provides the assurance that Southworth is maintaining a control system that tracks materials it sources from the forest to the end consumer, through all stages of transportation, manufacturing, and final distribution.
Southworth is proud to have earned FSC® Chain of Custody certification on the company’s 25% Cotton Fiber Business Papers, 25% Cotton Recycled Paper, 25% Cotton Linen Business Paper, Metalo® Specialty Paper, Premium Laser Paper, New Leaf Resume, and New Leaf Business Paper products. Following is a list of Southworth products that have been certified to display the FSC® label.
Please look for FSC® certified products
To view Southworth FSC® certified products click on appropriate link below: