Carbonless paper

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Carbon paper
In order to produce as many copies in a single pass, they were in a particularly thin carbon paper made (indicated by the shining through of the set including checkered paper)

Carbonless paper , and carbon paper , carbon paper , carbon paper or self-copying paper called, is used to create documents in multiple copies, formerly often a duplicate of a document to customize.

In Austria, the term carbonless paper also exists , but has a different meaning. It refers to the sheet of carbon copy on which the copy is made with carbon paper. This thin paper is otherwise as carbon paper or Florpost designated. In Switzerland, printed products made of carbonless paper are referred to as sets , in Austria as carbonless types.

The carbon paper is placed under the original, while another (often thin) sheet of paper is placed under the carbon paper. If you press hard enough with the pen while writing on the top sheet, color will be transferred from the carbon paper to the bottom sheet. This also works with typewriters that put the characters on the paper with pressure, especially those with a type lever , type wheel or ball head . Multiple copies (carbon copies) are also possible by placing a sheet of carbon paper and a sheet of ordinary paper underneath. The maximum number of copies depends on the pressure and the thickness of the paper. In order to generate sufficient pressure (= force per surface), a hard writing instrument must generally be used, e.g. B. a ballpoint pen or pencil, while felt-tip pens or fountain pens are not suitable.

Black carbon papers are mostly used for typewriter copies and blue for handwritten copies. Corrections are time-consuming because they have to be carried out individually on each sheet - the typewriter's correction tape only works on the original.

Also for line printers , as they are still sometimes used in data centers , there are continuous paper sets that contain carbonless paper . Form sets for dot matrix printers are common in medical practices and for immediate receipt printing.


Because computers with word processing software have almost completely replaced the typewriter, carbon paper is now practically only used for handwritten documents.

It is not known who invented carbon paper. On October 7, 1806, a patent was granted to the Englishman Ralph Wedgwood for an apparatus for doubling documents , with which an ink-soaked paper in connection with a metal pen was meant. He started production a few years later.

Durchpauspapiere previously with a layer Indigo -containing starch produced no glue Because of its color strength and light fastness was subsequently Prussian blue advocated.

Carbonless papers without a carbon layer

Modern carbonless copy papers are used to make copies without a carbon layer z. B. for invoices (one third of total consumption), forms and contracts.

It is a wood-free carrier paper that is coated with various chemicals. The copy is created by the chemical reaction between a color donor and a developer. The principle is based on making a copy by bringing about a chemical reaction between two complementary layers by applying pressure to the paper using a writing instrument, a computer printer or a typewriter. The first, transferring layer, the so-called CB layer ( Coated Back ), consists of microcapsules that contain a coloring substance embedded in a binding agent . These capsules with a diameter of ten micrometers contain e.g. B. colorless crystal violet lactone . If mechanical pressure is exerted on these capsules, they burst and release the dye, which is absorbed by the second, absorbing layer, the so-called CF layer (Coated Front). This CF layer consists of a reactive substance ("activated clay") that B. reacts to the blue-violet triphenylmethane dye and creates an image. Further development led to thermal printers , in which the dye is released by heat or reacts to form colored compounds.


There are two basic systems for making carbonless paper. The predominant system used (which is used in more than 95% of carbonless paper) is to apply the dye enclosed in microcapsules and the non-carbon developer separately. This process produces three types of carbonless paper:

  • CB cover sheet ( Coated Back ): This is a carbonless paper with a transferring coating on the back, which contains the microcapsules filled with the color donor. This type of carbonless paper is used as the top sheet of form sets.
  • CFB ( Coated Front and Back ): This type of carbonless paper is coated on the front with a reactive substance that acts as a chemical developer and on the back with microcapsules. CFB paper is used for the middle sheet or one of several middle sheets of form sets. It is the central part of the sentence that both receives and forwards the copy.
  • CF ( Coated Front ): This type of carbonless paper is used as the last sheet of form sets and is coated on the front with a reactive substance, while the back is not coated with microcapsules that contain colorants.

Paper called SC ( selfcontained ) is a special case . Here, microcapsules and color formers are on one and the same sheet. This enables SC paper to be used with any paper (e.g. normal copier paper or company letterhead) to create a carbon copy.

3M offers the so-called Action Paper (also available colored) especially for typewriter users, which could be clamped into the typewriter behind the plain paper original to be written on. In contrast to the above-mentioned coated paper (top, middle and bottom sheet), the material contained microcapsules which were destroyed by pressure during the writing process (including handwriting) and discolored when exposed to oxygen. This also worked with single sheets of paper as a copy, up to three legible copies could be made in one operation.

Something like that

Also for preparation of the copy of an original which is transparent paper (tracing paper) used, but the creation takes place here is not a copy of the same when creating the original, but at a later time. The laid on the object to be copied includes tracing paper according to the print through even a copy of the original.

In the field of tailoring or sewing, a paper similar to carbonless paper is used, the so-called copy paper .


The term “blueprint” is also used in the context of business administration , economics and politics , but it is derived from the cyanotype or diazotype and from the original blueprint , which was not used in the original but as a blueprint. In a figurative sense, this turned into a "plan", a "construct", a "basis", "idea" or "model".

Transferred to social and economic phenomena in the sense that a "model was copied" or something "is suitable as a template for implementing something", but also as a "cheap copy".

In the case of e-mails , copies of the message can be sent to other recipients in the CC address field in addition to the actual recipients . "CC" stands for the English term "carbon copy", ie a copy made with carbon paper.

Web links

Commons : carbonless paper  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Carbon paper  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Entry on Retrieved December 9, 2015 .
  2. ^ A. Beythien: Investigation of food, luxury goods and everyday objects. Springer-Verlag, 2013 (reprint of an edition from 1918), ISBN 978-3-642-99636-8 , p. 856 ( limited preview in the Google book search).
  3. ^ Verlag von Rudolf Mückenberger: Prometheus . Rudolf Mückenberger Verlag, 1901 ( limited preview in Google book search).
  4. a b Decision of the European Commission in Case COMP / M.4513 - Arjowiggins / M-real Zanders Reflex (PDF; 914 kB).
  5. Matthias Heine: Stop saying “blueprint”, you show-off! , at
  6. blueprint