The etymological origin of the term ream found in arabic rizmah, which can be translated as “package”. The concept is used to name a set of leaves of paper. For instance: “We have to buy a ream to print the new forms”, “Can you help me load the reams and take them to the warehouse?”, “The boss asked me to hand him a ream”.
The dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE) details that a ream is made up of twenty hands of paper. To understand this definition, we must know what the idea of hand refers to and understand how paper is divided.
In ancient times, leaves were accounted for by hand. The sheets that were cut from a coil used to be separated into five-sheet booklets. Every five booklets, in turn, a hand. It can be said, therefore, that a hand of paper consisted of twenty five sheets (five for each of the five booklets).
By grouping twenty hands together, finally a ream. If each hand had 25 sheets, a ream of 20 coats of paper had 500 sheets. That is why today the reams that can be bought in the shops include this number of sheets.
It is also important to know that, throughout history, the term ream has been used to refer to different quantities. That is, it has not always been equivalent to 500 sheets but has also been used to refer to a set of 480 sheets, for example. That was something that was progressively changing for different reasons, until he finally noticed the amount with which we identify it today.
By extension to the concept of ream, one can speak of half ream (the pack of 250 sheets), quarter (125 sheets) or fifth (100 sheets), all conventional denominations of the packages of sheets according to the quantity offered.
In the same way, in relation to the ream we have to expose the existence of another series of units that are used frequently to also refer to the quantities of sheets of paper with which we are working. Thus, for example, among the most common are these:
-Package. This name refers to what are two reams, that is, 1,000 sheets.
-Tied. This other term is used to denote what is the set of three reams, therefore, 1,500 sheets.
-Bale. A total of five reams are those that are called thus, as far as it talks about, neither more nor less, that to 2,500 sheets.
It should be noted that the reams can be distinguished by the size (being A4 the most common today) and the weight of its leaves.
Likewise, we cannot ignore that, at present, all these terms are those used by printers when ordering paper from their suppliers and thus being able to undertake their jobs. In this way, based on everything they have to print, they will proceed to request that reams, bundles, bundles, half reams be sent to them …