Carbonless Paper: Then and Now

Glatfelter’s innovations drive the microencapsulation marvel 62 years later

In 1954, the demand for duplicate cash register receipts without messy carbon paper laid the groundwork for breakthrough chemistry at the National Cash Register Company in Dayton, Ohio. Then, chemists there created microscopic capsules filled with ink and discovered that by pressing one sheet of paper containing the ink-filled capsules against a second specially coated sheet of paper a duplicate image could be created.

It was the birth of carbonless paper.

To assist in manufacturing the paper invention, local paper companies, including Mead Paper Company in Chillicothe, Ohio—now Glatfelter—were engaged in manufacturing this new product.

“The facility in Chillicothe was involved in the early days on the original carbonless paper developments,” says John Stolarz, Glatfelter’s senior product manager – microencapsulation.

Today, carbonless paper remains the go-to for multi-copy business forms (think traditional white/yellow/pink three-part forms) needed in tough, demanding environments where copies are critical but where the cost and/or delicacy of thermal digital printing are prohibitive.

Driven by its commitment to sustainability, environmental responsibility, and customer focus, Glatfelter is committed to marketing carbonless paper.

Improvements in the last 15 years include:

Capsules. Glatfelter developed a formaldehyde-free wall structure for its capsules.

Chemistry. Petroleum distillates formerly used inside the capsules have been replaced by natural soy-based oils that better protect the environment.

Paper. A re-engineered coated front that tops the second sheet has more advanced, safer chemicals and offers cleaner printing. Because the presses don’t get dirty as often, printers experience less downtime and can make longer press runs.

Beyond Paper. Our strength in microencapsulation has led to a new product line branded as G Force, which features a variety of specialty chemical solutions.

“We’re committed to carbonless going forward. We’ll continue providing an economically and environmentally sustainable source for this product line,” says Stolarz.