Toilet Paper Inventor’s Patent Answers Old Question

March 18, 2015 | By Garrett Montgomery More

Toilet paper inventor’s patent answers a question that has been on everybody’s mind since 1891, over or under? According to Seth Wheeler’s original patent, the paper goes over the roll.

Toilet Paper Inventor Patent

Toilet paper inventor’s patent gives a clear answer to the 124-year-old question: Should the paper go over or under the roll? While toilet paper or wrapping material has existed in China since the 2nd century BC; it was in June of 1891 that business mogul Seth Wheeler invented the toilet paper roll.

Mr Seth Wheeler’s Albany Perforated Wrapping Paper Company also came up with the concept of having perfect squares. The figures used in the patents clearly show that the paper should be place in an “over” position. Here is the list of Improvements in Toilet-Paper Rolls made by Wheeler:

“My invention consists of a roll of connected sheets of paper for toilet use, said roll having incisions at intervals extending from the side of the web toward the center, but not meeting, and terminating in an angular out, whereby the slight connection left may be separated without injury to the connected sheets. A difficulty with rolls of this character as heretofore manufactured has been due to the width of the bond uniting the sheets, which it has been necessary to make of considerable strength to Withstand the tension of winding, but which it is desirable should be as trail as may be when the roll is unwound, otherwise the sheets do not separate with certainty and many of them are torn. Attempts have been made to remedy this by incisionsin the bond that should not weaken it longitudinally; but such incisions availlittleunless the sheets are pulled in a certain directiona condition the user seldom considers or is aware of. In my improved roll I overcome this wholly by reducing the bond and terminating the lateral incisions in an angular cut, removing all liability of injury to the sheets in separating them. \Vith this construction one sheet may be separated from the next without liability of the incisions turning in a direction parallel with the web and tearing off a considerable part of the contiguous sheet. At the same time I wind rolls containing any desired number of sheets.”

The inventor may have also ended the single-ply or double-ply debate. Wheeler, who believed that paper should not be wasted, wrote:

“The connection d, as shown in Fig. l, permits of the easy severance of a sheet of paper from a roll, which will be intact and no litter is occasioned by such severance. The curved mode of dividing the sheets permits the end of a sheet to be found more readily, and the serrations aid materially in grasping the end of a sheet when not hanging from a roll; but I do not confine myself to this construction, as it is obvious that an angular termination may be given to incisions that are neither curved nor serrated.”

Before the invention of wrapping material, the bourgeois wiped themselves with sponges, wool, lace or hemp, while the poor used their hand, rags, leaves, grass, hay, stone, sand, moss, water, snow, maize, ferns, many plant husks, fruit skins, or seashells, and corncobs.

What are your thoughts on this “discovery”?

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