Water Marks

Watermarks are identification marks produced during the paper making process. The first watermarks appeared in Italy during the 13th century, but their use rapidly spread across Europe. They were used as a means to identify the papermaker or the trade guild that manufactured the paper. The marks shown here were created by a wire sewn onto the paper mold. Watermarks continue to be used today as manufacturer's marks and to prevent forgery.


The first marks were simple objects.

This mark is the source of the term "foolscap" for a certain size paper.

Paschal Lamb from the 15th Century.

John Tate's watermark.

Klaus Rittenhouse's watermark.

Watermark of the Gutenberg Bible.

15th Century watermark of
The Gallizianis of Basel.

To read more about watermarks see Papermaking: Art and Craft from the Library of Congress.

These images are not for duplication.

McKinney Engineering Library