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Clearly It’s Clairefontaine

10 Apr

Clairefontaine Brand Story on

Clairefontaine is a paper manufacturer in a class of its own. Originating in France, their rich history in paper-making led to their focus on quality products and sustainable practices that have made Clairefontaine a universal name in the paper world. Currently the only European paper manufacturer still making their own paper for their own products, Clairefontaine has a unique control over the quality of product as well as the impact their facilities have on the environment. Clairefontaine manufactures all of its products from two mills in Europe, making notebooks and stationery products at the Clairefontaine mill in France, and fine art paper and stationery at the Schut mill in the Netherlands.

Clairefontaine’s Mills History

The Clairefontaine mill was founded in the small commune of Etival-Clairefontaine by Jean-Baptiste Bichelberger. Established in 1858, the mill opened on the site of a paper mill that was built in 1512. Best known for making the first school notebooks in France, the Clairefontaine mill has been manufacturing paper since 1858 and stationery products since 1890.

Clairefontaine Classic A4 Side Spiralbound Notebook (8.25 x 11.75)

One of the most popular Clairefontaine notebooks: the Classic A4 Side Spiralbound

The Schut mill in the Netherlands has been operating since the dawn of paper making. Built in 1618, the original De Veentjes mill joined over 170 small paper mills in the Veluwe area of the Netherlands that found success due to the large demand for paper during the Dutch Golden Age. The mill was bought in 1710 by the Schut family, who operated it successfully for nearly three centuries before the mill burned down on May 6, 1895. A modern, steam-powered mill was built on the same spot and was eventually acquired by Papeteries de Clairefontaine in July of 1998. The Schut mill is the last specialty grade producer in the area, but retains its traditional values and dedication to quality.

Unique Environmental Control

Because they make their own paper, Clairefontaine is able to directly control their environmental impact on the surrounding lands. All of the wood pulp used in Clairefontaine paper is purchased from PEFC-certified sustainable forests. The company also has an advanced biological water purification system which removes nearly all of the paper by-product matter in the water so the water can be safely returned to the environment. In fact, people can swim, fish, and boat directly downstream of the Clairefontaine mill on the River Meurthe because the water returned to the river is actually cleaner than when it reached the mill!

What Makes Clairefontaine Paper Extra Special

The clean manufacturing processes at Clairefontaine create an exceptional paper that is loved by people around the world. Though notoriously shiny and white, Clairefontaine paper is absolutely chlorine-free. This is made possible by the use of calcium-carbonate, a mineral that creates the ultra-smooth writing surface that enhances the delight of writing on Clairefontaine paper. The paper is also opaque, meaning you can write on both sides without ink bleeding through.

Clairefontaine Classic Large Top Spiralbound Notepad (5.75 x 8.25)

Another fave of Clairefontaine fans: the Classic Large Top Spiralbound Notepad

All inks used in Clairefontaine products are made from vegetable oil pigments (soybean, corn, linseed oils) rather than mineral ones. This reduces emissions and ensures non-toxic and non-irritating inks. The company is also dedicated to waste reduction. All usable waste is converted into agricultural compost while the package design features returnable containers and bulk packaging. The Clairefontaine mill operates on a dual power generation system that supplies 80% of its own energy needs.

Clairefontaine’s rich history and conscious practices ensure consistent quality and minimal environmental impact, just two of the many reasons that people love writing on Clairefontaine paper. Check out the full selection of Clairefontaine on where you’ll find Clairefontaine’s Top Staple, Side Staple, Top Spiral, Side Spiral, Hard Cover, and Cloth Bound notebooks and notepads.

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