#726…SCI, relig, etc: “When Did Toilet Paper Begin?”


   The familiar roll of toilet paper

was created by the Scott Paper Company

in 1890.


What…sort of came…before that?


For more, go through the DOOR

(and close it behind you…)




   Some fascinating personal “private” information has been almost forever lost. The following comes from National Geographic: 101 Inventions That shaped the World¹.

   Before toilet paper people used a wide variety of materials for “this bit” of personal hygiene. In ancient Rome public bathrooms “offered” [offered by whom from where?] a sponge on a stick, soaking it in a bucket of salt water. [This leads to other questions which aren’t explained.] In medieval Europe, hay or grass was used. Colonial Americans relied on rags, leaves, and even corncobs.

   [This all sounds pretty fragmentary and helter-skelter to me.]

   Businessman Joseph Gayetty of NYC invented the first packaged toilet paper in 1857. “Gayetty’s Medicated Paper” was sold in 500 individual sheets for 50¢. The materials? hemp and aloe. Each sheet of this “Greatest Necessity of the Age” was watermarked with his name. Seth Wheeler, in 1971, introduced the roll with perforations on the lines dividing the sheets which he put in dispensers, all of which he carefully patented.

   But it was Scott who really made rolls of perforated paper on the market quickly becoming the leading manufacturer of t. p. in the world. About $6.3 billion worth of toilet paper is now used in the U.S. every year.


  ¹ This booklet was published by National Geographic Partners LLC. Though National Geographic is a reputable producers of science for the general public, the information here and elsewhere in this sort of NG publication is not backed by individual writers or editors. I consider it a “soft source” for detailed information. But worthy enough–usually–for our purposes.

Author: John Knapp