A papermaking machine utilizing a rotating wire-belt-covered cylinder. As the cylinder rotates, it passes through a tank containing the papermaking furnish. As the water drains though the wire toward the inside of the cylinder, the fibers form the paper web on the wire belt. The fibers are then transferred to the underside of a moving felt belt. As the fiber mat travels along this belt, additional cylinders add further layers of fibrous mats. Papermaking systems employing cylinder machine are somewhat slow compared to the traditional fourdrinier machine and newer twin-wire formers, but are useful in making thick, inexpensive paperboard, and the ease of adjusting the composition and number of plys has high cost advantages. Printing and writing papers, however, are rarely produced on a cylinder machine, and many cylinder machines are being replaced by twin-wire formers.
The first automated papermaking machine in the United States was a cylinder machine, built by Delaware papermaker Thomas Gilpin and first put into use in 1817. The first fourdrinier papermaking machine didn't appear in the United States until 1827, although it had been in operation in England since around 1803. (See Fourdrinier.)