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Celebrating Hahnemühle: 439 Years of Fine Art Paper Production Through Sustainability and Innovation

Updated: Feb 20, 2023

How many brands do you know of that have been around for over 4 CENTURIES? Our partner, Hahnemühle will be celebrating it's 439th Anniversary on February 27th, and we want everyone to wish them a well-deserved "Happy Birthday!". Since Bay Photo is a proud provider of Fine Art Prints on 5 luxurious papers manufactured by Hahnemühle, we're looking closer at the company's sustainability - in the eco-friendly sense, and also what's helped sustain its long-running mission of pure paper production.


A Brief Rundown of a Long-Running History

At its origins in 1584, Eric II, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg granted paper making craftsman, Merten Spieß the right to build what would be known as the first papermill in Germany's Lower Saxony uplands. The papermill was owned by the descendants of Merten Spieß for 185 years, and eventually purchased and renamed by Carl Hahne in 1886. After merging with a company called Schleicher & Schuell in 1927, and later demerging in 2004, Hahnemühle now operates independently, remaining a pioneer and world market leader with products available in more than 130 countries.

The Industrialization era gave paper production (and Hahnemühle) a growth spurt. Through the transition from mainly offering inexpensive writing paper to excelling in traditional artist paper and high purity filter paper, the company went from the small size of less than 15 employees at the end of the 19th century to over 120 employees in the 1920's.

Around that time came the first (mould made) paper machine, and as the industry became more mechanized, this allowed Hahnemühle to release the first vegan, acid-free and archival paper in 1965, with no animal glues or other animal substrates. Finally in the late 1990's, the first Fine Art Inkjet paper was developed!

Now, Hahnemühle boasts its widest selection of 1) traditional artist papers using centuries-old formulations, 2) high-purity filtration papers intended for use in life sciences, and 3) our personal favorites - digital inkjet papers for printing technicians (hello, Hahnemühle + Bay, the perfect match!). How's that for innovation?


Sustainability Down to Its Fibrous Core

Along with the development of any industrial manufacturing process should come the important responsibility of minimizing its carbon footprint and preserving our natural environment. Part of what makes Hahnemühle such a perfect partner for Bay Photo is its strong commitment to sustainability. This fellow "green" company has implemented energy-saving technologies and natural materials - organic fibres and pure water straight from the source.

Beyond its process innovation, Hahnemühle gives back to environmental protection by donating 5% of its "green" paper profits. Supported charities and causes have included reforestation, wildlife preservation and photography tributes as a way of raising awareness. Bay Photo is proud to offer Hahnemühle's Bamboo Paper in our Fine Art Prints catalog. Bamboo Paper is acid-free, lignin-free, has no optical brighteners, and is made of sustainable bamboo fibres for a soft texture, natural white, warm tone and impressive print quality.

Our full selection of Hahnemühle papers includes:

  • Bamboo - 290gsm, 90% Bamboo Fibre, 10% Cotton, No OBA's

  • William Turner - 190gsm, 100% Cotton, Textured White, Mould-Made

  • Torchon - 285gsm, 100% a-Cellulose, Rough Texture, Acid-Free

  • Photo Rag 308 - 308gsm, Smooth Matte Finish, 100% Cotton, Archival Quality, Acid-Free

  • FineArt Baryta Satin - 300gsm, 100% a-Cellulose, Satin Finish, Extremely Deep DMAX, Acid-Free


Happy Birthday, Hahnemühle!

Here's to 439 More Years of Sustainable Innovation



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