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the story of smythson
featherweight paper and bindings

Smythson floppy books and diaries contain 'featherweight' Paper, copyrighted in 1916 by Frank Smythson, who had a vision to create the world's first practical, lightweight, portable diary.

Since then, many have tried to imitate the Smythson style and quality but none have succeeded. As early as 1942, Smythson went as far as the House of Lords to defend itself against counterfeiting.

weight and opacity

Featherweight Paper is half the thickness and weight (50 grams per square metre) of normal paper, so a great many pages can be contained in a very slim, light book

Normally such thin paper is not appropriate for use with a fountain pen, but Featherweight Paper is rigorously tested to ensure it can hold the ink.

watermark and authenticity

Featherweight Paper is pale blue and watermarked with a distinctive globe and feather design, which appears at least once on each page and ensures the book is not an imitation.

Creating a watermark in paper this light is difficult, so the paper has to be made at a specialist mill in England that produces international security and banknote paper.

floppy binding

Smythson books containing Featherweight Paper have a distinctive strong and hard-wearing 'floppy leather' binding that is virtually unchanged since the 1890s. Called the 'Panama Hat' of books, the Featherweight Panama, bound in crossgrain leather, can be rolled up and squashed and will improve with age. These bindings are handmade with stitched spines and gilt-edges pages.

For all the above reasons, Smythson Featherweight Books are internationally popular with many distinguished writers, journalists, travellers and explorers. Used by 'the great and the good' over many generations, they have been called a 'secret social passport'.

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