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Re: [BKARTS] Onion Skin?

It is funny you should ask about onionskin paper since I've just
recently started researching its availability for an artists' book i
am working on.  So if anyone has any onionskin (or any old-fashioned
cockle-finished typing paper) at the bottom of a drawer, I would love
to hear from you!

Etherington and Roberts' DIctionary has this definition:
http://cool-palimpsest.stanford.edu/don/dt/dt2375.html.  Manifold was
something similar.

I always remember onion skin for its crisp, loud, cockle texture.  It
would also be called air mail paper since letter writing was a common
use because its light weight kept postage down. It usually around 9
lbs., came in white or yellow, and for airmail in blue. It also
sometimes came with red rules that delineated the margins.  As others
have mentioned, it was commonly used with carbon paper or in any
situation where one wanted to keep bulk down. Manuscripts (or more
properly, typescripts) of novels, poetry, etc. of  20th c writers
would often be on onion skin.  Archives are full of it.

I read somewhere that the cockled finish helped make it easier to
erase typewriter mistakes, but there was also a particular version
that was made to be erasable, which may be what a lot of people are
remembering.  The erasable version was glazed which gave it a shiny,
almost sticky finish that made it easy to erase the ink but also easy
to smudge. It was branded under different names like Racerase and

Rumor has it the last mill in North American stopped production a
couple years ago.  There is a store called the papermill.com that
produces something it calls onion skin, but it apparently does not
have the cockle finish so it is more like tracing paper.  And it looks
like air mail paper is still obtainable in England.  What I have
discovered in my research is that the two groups that most bemoan its
passing are fountain pen aficionados (who love to write on it) and
people who cast their own bullets - apparently there is something
about vintage paper patched bullets that involves wrapping them and 9
lb. onion skin is perfect for it.

I have one citation for Papertec.com whose web site claims they
provide both smooth and cockle finished onion skin to the army, but I
also read someone had contacted them and that the cockle finish was
not longer available.  I am going to confirm.

Again, if anyone knows of any secret supplies of lightweight (9-20
lb.) cockled typing paper, please contact me off list.

Elisabeth Long

> Date:    Mon, 20 Apr 2009 19:23:52 -0400
> From:    jesse meyer <mc.tanner@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> Subject: Onion Skin?
> MIME-Version: 1.0
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=US-ASCII; delsp=yes; format=flowed
> Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
> Hello List.
> Has anyone here ever heard of, or worked with onionskin paper? Is
> this an actual paper made using onion skin, or it just approximates
> onionskin? Similar to elephant hide paper? Is there such a thing?
> Any information would be appreciated.
> Thank you all,
> Jesse

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