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P

Paper, which the Chinese originated, was the first man-made flexible packaging. It began around the second century BCE with food wrappings made from mulberry bark. Around 105 CE, Tsi Lun, a courtier, invented fiber technology by grinding and soaking woody plant fiber to pound and press into sheets dried on a screen. His product, refined and simplified over the ages, slowly passed west to the Middle East and Europe. It reached Britain in 1310 and the New World in 1690, when the first papermaker set up shop in Germantown, Pennsylvania.