The Alkaline Paper Advocate

Volume 1, Number 2
Mar 1988

The Obstacle Course

In 1985, a reader of the Abbey Newsletter wrote the Editor, requesting a source of permanent/durable paper for a family genealogy publishing project. A number of different approaches were suggested to him, none of which was sure or easy. Somehow he settled on Warren Olde Style, and then tackled the problem of finding a place that would sell it to him. He related his subsequent experiences in a letter to the Editor which was published in the November 1985 issue. Both his own name and the name of the paper were withheld at the time; but the paper is named here because doing so will no longer give it an unfair market advantage, since it has been discontinued.

Consumers of other alkaline papers are equally dedicated and persistent. One publisher had to go out of the country to find alkaline paper, because the distributors he consulted were unable to help him find a domestic product; another is now contacting European mills to find a substitute for Olde Style. This Editor has had to buy her newsletter paper (Ecusta Waylite) eight cartons at a time for years, and store it in her small apartment until it was used up, because it is not stocked by distributors in Utah.

I have finally settled on Warren Olde Style for my book. I enclose a sample. Isn't it gorgeous stuff?

Through trial and error, I discovered that there are three dealers in town who handle this paper. I first went to Dealer A (who had handled my first order a decade ago) out east of the city. They said they didn't stock it, but could order it, and it would take three weeks, and there was the 1,000-sheet minimum. They quoted a price which I considered quite unreasonable. When I demurred, they suggested I might try Dealer B. Then I asked A to call B to check this out, which they did, only to report that B did not handle it.

Recalling that the paper I wanted is made by a subsidiary of Scott Paper, I drove over to the west side of the city to beard the Scott people in their den. I was told that the handled only toilet paper and kitchen towels, etc. there at the den, and that distributors A, B, and C handled the subsidiary's paper. They called a man at Dealer C, and put me on the line; he was very courteous and helpful, but gave me about the same story, and wound up by suggesting that I try Dealer B. When I told him that B had already been contacted by phone with negative results, he recommended that I call personally at their headquarters.

So I drove back across town and called on Dealer B, a new, large, handsome, and prosperous looking establishment. The receptionist asked me to be seated, while she summed a salesman from somewhere deep in the bowels of the institution. The salesman was courteous, but said he was puzzled by my references to Olde Style; I had to explain that this was the name of the variety of paper that I wanted. So he Checked by phone with another salesman, and reported that they didn't stock it. When I asked if they could order it, he retired into the depths for about 20 minutes; when he returned he reported that they had called the mill, that the mill was beginning a new run of this paper on September 9, that they could have some for me by the end of September, and that the minimum order would be 1,000 sheets. When he quoted a price that was quite reasonable, certainly compared to that quoted by Dealer A, I accepted, and wrote out my check.

I had spend about six hours driving 75 miles back and forth across town. Now all I will have to do is to drive out to Dealer B at the end of September, load the paper in my VW (it will fit, as I learned before), and carry it down to a friendly printer (who has accommodated me before) to cut it into two stacks of 19 x 25, a size I can handle.

[Name withheld]

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