An old box containing a near-complete ream of foolscap-size Spicers 'Plus Fabric' paper.

Late last year I acquired a virtually-unused ream of foolscap paper. It’s ‘Plus Fabric’, made by Spicers, in a larger size and a lighter weight than my other box of the stuff. Foolscap was once the default paper-size for office use in the UK, until A4 eclipsed it during the ’70s and ’80s. Initially referring to a style of watermark, foolscap came to denote specific dimensions, which, with regard to paper for writing, typing and copying, were 8"x13".

When I first began buying refill pads of my own at WH Smith to use for schoolwork back in the early ’80s, it seemed that A4 and foolscap were both equally readily available. Within a year or two, however, the latter size became harder to find, at length no longer being sold at all. I was annoyed as I preferred its elongated profile to the squatter and squarer A4. Having since become so thoroughly accustomed to the ‘new’ format. foolscap now seems oddly oblong. This box of it will be ideal for typewriting purposes - I just now need to find the equivalent of some A5, A6 or DL envelopes I can fold the sheets into.

Another view of the Spicers 'Plus Fabric' foolscap paper.