Jacob Christian Schäffer's books were published in fairly limited editions because they included paper specimens. The first edition of Schäffer's work, which is now extremely rare, appeared in six separate volumes between 1765 and 1771, four of which are in the paper-historical collection of the Koninklijke Bibliotheek. The illustrations on the opposite page are taken from the equally rare Dutch edition, published in Amsterdam by Jan Christiaan Sepp in 1770.
Jacob Christian Schäffer (1718-1790) is the key figure in the search for an appropriate substitute for rags in paper-making. He studied at Halle and spent almost his whole working life in Regensburg, where he was offered a benefice in 1741. Schäffer was a man of many interests, who combined his theological studies with exhaustive studies of nature. His comprehensive book on mushrooms was considered the standard work on the subject till well into the nineteenth century. The combination of clergyman, scientist and prolific author made Schäffer a typical exponent of the eighteenth century. It was only to be expected that his research on alternative ways of paper-making, once he embarked upon it, would be very thorough. He set out his tests in an elaborate treatise, accompanied by many samples of paper resulting from his experiments with various vegetable materials.
Publications at the end of the eighteenth century, dealing with the ever growing lack of rags and the ensuing drastic changes in the use of raw materials for paper-making, are a crucial source of information for paper history research in this period. In such research Jacob Christian Schäffer's work plays a fundamental role, not least because he stimulated many other people to continue working along the course he had pioneered.
Proefnemingen en monster-bladen, om papier te maaken zonder lompen, of met een gering byvoegzel derzelven. Jacob Christian Schäffer. Uit het Hoogduitsch vertaald. Amsterdam, by Jan Christiaan Sepp, 1770. 4º. 2 parts in 1 vol., with 15 and 18 paper specimens. 3194 E 19