The first mechanised paper machine was installed at Frogmore Mill, Apsley, Hertfordshire in 1803, followed by another in 1804. The site operates currently as a museum. Paper is one of the core industries and is linked to the basic human needs. Paper is the pre-requisite for education and literacy and its use is an index of advancement in these two fields as well as the overall well being of the society.
The paper industry comprises companies that use wood as raw material and produce pulp, paper, board and other cellulose-based products.
The industry is dominated by North American (United States and Canada), northern European (Finland, Sweden, and North-West Russia) and East Asian countries (such as East Siberian Russia, China, Japan, and South Korea). Australasia and Brazil also have significant pulp and paper enterprises. The United States had been the world's leading producer of paper until it was overtaken by China in 2009.
The industry is criticized by environmental groups like the Natural Resources Defense Council for unsustainable deforestation and clear cutting of old-growth forest. The industry trend is to expand globally to countries like Russia, China and Indonesia with low wages and low environmental oversight. According to Greenpeace, farmers in Central America illegally rip up vast tracts of native forest for cattle and soybean production without any consequences, and companies who buy timber from private land owners contribute to massive deforestation of the Amazon Rainforest.
Considering that the pulp and paper industry is a practitioner of nanotechnology, then it is easily the world's largest.