10 Historical Facts About Toilet Paper

  1. Massachusetts-born Joseph C. Gayetty is credited with the invention of modern toilet paper. He originally sold his toilet paper in 1857 and it continued for sale until the 1920s. The paper came in flat packs of 500 and sold for 50 cents. Gayetty’s original toilet paper had aloe as an ingredient.
  2. Seth Wheeler, of Albany, New York, was the first person to gain a patent for toilet paper in 1871.
  3. Ancient Romans didn’t have toilet paper, so they used a sponge on a stick. They kept the sponge and stick clean by dumping them in sea water.
  4. The first recorded existence of toilet paper is from 589 A.D. in China. The scholar Yan Zhitui mentioned using paper for toilet purposes.
  5. The Kimberly-Clark Corporation first sold moist toilet paper in the United Kingdom in the 1990s, marketed with the name of the Andrex company. Kimberly-Clark introduced moist toilet paper to the United States in 2001.
  6. The Scott Paper Company is credited with being the first to sell toilet paper on a roll, beginning in 1879.
  7. The first two-play toilet paper was sold in 1942 by the St. Andrew’s Paper Mill of England.
  8. It was recorded in the 1300s that in the Zhejiang province of China, more than ten million packets of toilet paper were made each year. Each packet had between 1,000 and 10,000 sheets of paper. And that’s from just one province.
  9. Early toilet paper often had pieces of wood pulp still in it. In 1935, Northern paper company became the first to advertise toilet paper free of splinters. Ouch!
  10. The United States suffered a toilet paper shortage in 1973, and it started as a joke. The late, great TV comedian Johnny Carson had heard from a member of Congress there was going to be a shortage on toilet paper (this wasn’t true), so one night on The Tonight Show, Carson joked that toilet paper was disappearing from the shelves of stores. Apparently Americans took Carson seriously. The next morning, by noon, toilet paper was sold out across the country. And it took three weeks before stores could regularly stock toilet paper again.

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