About Chainlines

Welcome to Chainlines

My name is Kristine Smets, and I am the founder and sole researcher at Chainlines. I am a genealogist and house historian with a history and library science degree, who has been researching family history and Baltimore homes for clients since 2012.

“The traditional Western mould for paper-making had a cover made from parallel bronze laid wires running from left to right. These were bound together by pairs of typing wires spaced widely, running from front to back. These ‘chain lines’ appear as lighter lines when a sheet is held up to the light.” — The Oxford Companion to the Book (Oxford University Press, 2010).

Paper moulds showing the use of chain lines in the production of paper.
Paper moulds showing the use of chain lines in the production of paper.

Chain-lines are visible when you hold a piece of hand-made laid paper to the light and provide important clues to the printing history of books produced in the hand-made printing area. For example, chain lines run vertically in the leaves of a folio, horizontally in a quarto, and again vertically in an octavo.

Chainlines, LLC, started as a company specializing in the bibliography and cataloging of rare and early printed books. Since 2012, our expertise has broadened to include a wide variety of historical research activities, especially genealogy and house histories. Still looking for clues, we now like to think of the numerous links in the chains that connect us with our history and family roots.