Original Papier Mache?

Back in Victorian times, many items were made of what is described as Papier Mache. The result was nothing like what we recognise today as Papier Mache....... It looked more like modern plastic...... as smooth as plastic. Was this because the paper was shredded to a much finer consistency than we tend to do these days ? - Or was it something to do with the type of glue, or the process itself ?

As far as I know, the Papiér Maché used during those times was a much different process than any of the simple methods I'm describing here, and in fact we don't actually know how some of it was made. Some methods involved heat, moulds and may laters of laquer and polishing. This is a good short article on the subject: http://www.papiermache.co.uk/articles/victorian-papier-mache/. You can get very smooth surfaces by using paper mache clay though, especially if you finish it properly with gesso and sanding :)