In 1801 John Gamble was granted the first English patent on a paper machine. John Hall, an engineer at Dartford, was asked to examine the original machine built by Robert with the intention of improving it. Bryan Donkin, a mechanic and apprenticed to Hall was then engaged to construct a paper machine which was completed in 1803 and installed at Frogmore Mill, Hemel Hempstead, funded by the Fourdriniers.
Following Robert’s invention of the continuous paper making machine, there was a need to find a way to watermark paper on the reel. The original dandy rolls, the device invented to provide watermarks on a paper machine, consisted of a framework of lengthwise wooden ribs onto which round metal discs were attached in order to loosely support a woven wire fabric cover, to form a hollow cylinder. Later dandy rolls consisted entirely of metal. The watermark designs were originally tied on to the cover with fine wire.
The invention of the ‘dandy roll’ is attributed to John Marshall of the firm T. J. Marshall of London, established in 1792. Mr Marshall did not file for a patent on his invention. The records of the Great Seal Patent Office include a patent granted to John and Christopher Phipps of Lower Buckland Mill in Dover, dated 11th January 1825, for a cylinder formed of wire to create impressions upon the forming paper. Neither John nor Christopher Phipps pursued the construction of their rollers. They passed into relative obscurity. However, John Marshall, in 1826, proceeded with the production of a similar roller, the name of which is said to have been bestowed upon it when a worker at Marshall’s establishment exclaimed “Isn’t that a dandy!”, a word of Scottish derivation meaning smart and fine.