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How long has toilet paper been around?

Oh toilet paper... How you've become such a popular topic. I was going to stay completely out of this whole "thing", but my friend reminded me my book is basically a journal of what's happening in my day-to-day, that's how I pick my Daily Doodles after all... So here it is, "How long has toilet paper been around?"


While people have been wiping probably almost as long as they've been around, it was interesting to discover the first commercially packaged "toilet paper" wasn't introduced until 1857.

Joseph C. Gayetty invented the first packaged toilet paper in the United States in 1857. He is credited as the inventor of modern commercially available toilet paper. "Gayetty’s Medicated Paper" was sold in packages of flat sheets, medicated with aloe and watermarked with his name on each sheet. Gayety’s toilet paper was available as late as the 1920's.


When Toilet paper started coming on rolls is a little more murky area. In 1871, Seth Wheeler (to some sources Zeth Wheeler) of Albany became the official “inventor” of perforated paper on a roll with his patents for rolled and perforated wrapping paper. His Albany Perforated Wrapping Paper Company began selling toilet paper on a roll with the same patent, resubmitted to say 'wrapping paper or toilet paper'.


In 1879, Thomas Seymour, Edward Irvin and Clarence Wood Scott founded the Scott Paper Company in Philadelphia. Scott brothers came up with the idea of customizing rolls for every merchant-customer they had. They began selling packages of small rolls and stacked sheets. Scott Paper Company began producing toilet paper under its own brand name in 1896 and are credited with popularizing toilet paper on a roll. By 1925 Scott Company became the leading toilet paper company in the world.


Now this is going to make some of you cringe... It wasn't until 1935 that Northern Tissue invented splinter free toilet paper. Yikes, am I right? Simple paper making procedures often failed to remove small splinters from the finished product but Northern Paper engineers solved the problem (their method was called linenizing). Softer, splinter-free toilet paper then became a reality for consumers and provided an advertising slogan for Northern Tissue.


In 1942 St. Andrew’s Paper Mill (England, Walthamstow, London), produced the first soft, two ply toilet tissue. The first colored toilet tissue by Northern in 1954. Perfume was added to toilet paper in 1964 by Charmin... and get this, America experienced its first toilet paper shortage in 1973 because of a Johnny Carson joke.


Toilet paper continues to evolve and change and improve and be a cause for panic apparently, though in 1973 it was short lived. The real toilet paper question still remains... why do people not understand the toilet paper goes OVER the roll, not under?




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