Friday, May 22, 2015

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.

It wasn’t until 1857 when New Yorker Joseph Gayetty introduced the first packaged toilet tissue in the United States – named “Therapeutic Paper”. He is often credited with the invention of modern commercially available toilet paper and his brand was available in the U.S. until the 1920s. Then in 1890 the Scott Paper Company introduced paper on a roll and quickly became the nation’s leading producer of toilet paper.

Then following the success of the Scott Paper Company, patent holder Seth Wheeler invented and patented the modern toilet roll which had incisions/perforations for individual sheet selection.

You can view his patent here:

There were several other inventors who had their fair share of insight into how we should be handling our paper which – if you’re curious – you can view here:
Are you an over or under type of person? Over or Under – Where Does Your Sheet Lie? An Answer to the Great Toilet Paper Debate

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