Friday, May 22, 2015

Over or Under – Where Does Your Sheet Lie? An Answer to the Great Toilet Paper Debate

When it comes down to it, the constantly debated “over or under rule” is just a matter of preference when it comes to how we hang our toilet paper. However; several patent holders and inventors answered our questions of who is right and who is wrong in this debate more than a century ago.

So, here’s the answer – the correct way to hang toilet paper is to have the sheets OVER the roll, not under. That’s right – the answer is the end of a toilet paper roll should be on the outside, or in the “over” position, because the rolls were intended to have the sheets readily available and not behind/under the roll. One patent holder Seth Wheeler, who had patented the toilet paper with incisions/perforations for individual sheet selection, proves this all to be correct.

The History of the Toilet Paper Roll

According to Wikipedia, there are over seven billion rolls of toilet paper sold in the United States alone per year, much more than the annual supply of 720,000 which was recorded during the Ming Dynasty. While the first documented use of toilet paper in human history dates back to the 6th century AD, in early medieval China, the first official roll of toilet paper hadn’t shown its face until centuries later in 1798 when Nicholas-Louis Robert of France invented a machine that produced paper on an endless wire screen, creating continuous rolls rather than sheets. This process led to the invention and use of the Fourdrinier machine - pictured below – in 1803.