Do you know who invented the process of making paper? Paper has existed in China since the 2nd century BC, but it was Cai Lun (蔡伦) (ca. 50-121 AD) who is credited with significant improvements and the standardisation of the paper-making process, which today is still based on his technique.
Cai Lun was a court eunuch who was promoted several times under the rule of Emperor He of Han. In 89 AD, he received the title of Shang Fang Si, an office in charge of manufacturing instruments and weapons.
In 105 AD, Cai invented the composition need to make paper along with the papermaking process. This process included the use of materials like bark, hemp, silk and fishing net. Cai's paper (known as Cai Lun paper) was light and thin, strong and inexpensive and could be mass-produced.
Cai Lun’s invention enabled China to develop its civilisation much faster than with earlier writing materials (primarily bamboo). The same happened in Europe, where Cai Lun paper was introduced in the 12th or 13th century. This invention not only promoted written language, but it also progressed human civilisation as a whole. For these reasons, it is considered one of the most important inventions in history.