Last year, while browsing my local pen store for quality correspondence paper, I found a single boxed set of Original Crown Mill stationery. The set consisted of one 50-sheet A5 pad and 25 envelopes in Grey. I didn’t know anything about the paper, but the price was reasonable and I liked the colour.
Production of this fine paper began in the late 1800s, as an authentic reproduction of handmade writing sheets produced in Belgium in the 17th century. The remaking of this 'original' handmade paper resulted in the Crown Mill “Original Crown Mill” line of fine stationery. Crown Mill paper is available in a wide variety of sizes, colours and shapes, with card and envelope sets making up a large part of the range. Both Cream Laid and Pure Cotton correspondence paper is available. My comments refer only to the Cream Laid (or Classic) range, though I do hope to try the Pure Cotton range soon.
The standard OCM Cream Laid range is Vergé paper available in several colours – Blue, Cream, Grey, Pink and White being the most commonly available. Currently I have OCM Cream Laid sets in Grey and Cream, with the Grey being light enough to provide excellent contrast with bright inks such as Noodler’s Apache Sunset (orange) and Rohrer & Klingner Fernambuk (scarlet). However, the Grey paper is a little difficult to see through, making it hard to use a ruled guideline sheet beneath.
The laid finish is subtly textured, but still smooth to write on. None of my pen and ink combinations feather on this paper. The Cream and White laid papers write a little more 'dry' compared to the Grey.
The standard envelope selection is available in the above-mentioned five colours, with each envelope lined with White silk tissue. In addition, I also found individual Cream envelopes with silk tissue lining in a choice of 22 colours, so I picked up ten each of Navy Blue, Bamboo, Chocolate, Kraft (a caramel colour) and Bordeaux to mix and match with my Cream A5 paper sheets.
I have a few sheets of G. Lalo Vergé de France A5 tablet paper, and it is very similar to OCM paper in appearance and finish. G. Lalo envelopes have a tapered and gently rounded ‘wallet’ flap, while OCM envelopes have a traditional pointed flap. The OCM Cream Laid is around 100gsm / 26lb, and G. Lalo paper is around 104gsm / 27lb weight.
Overall, this is very good, high-quality paper which all my fountain pens love. I pay AU$11.55 (~$9US) for each A5 pad and about the same amount for 25 envelopes. Sets of 100 sheets and 50 envelopes are also available. OCM Cream Laid has become my standard correspondence stationery.
(FYI: The texture of laid paper is created by the parallel and traverse wires which make up the screen, as illustrated below.)
Edited by Phthalo, 03 December 2007 - 07:06.