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The papermaking process was first patented in China over 1900 years ago. While the raw materials and technologies have evolved over time and become increasingly complex, the basic process has remained the same. Whether paper is made by hand, sheet by sheet, or on a paper machine at a speed of 80 miles per hour, it includes these three basic steps: one, create a solution of water and cellulose fibers from plants, two, strain the solution so that the fibers form a sheet, and three, dry the sheet.