Monday, 4 August 2014

A bit about toilet paper, so don't get the shits with me over it...................

Ok saw on Facebook something about how toilet paper wasn't invented till 1880's and that made me think is that true and if so what was used before that so I have done a little research and this is what I found out

Toilet paper as we know it round and printed was invented around 1880 by the Scott paper company and when it was first brought out the Scott company was too embarrassed to put their name on their product, as the concept of toilet paper was a sensitive subject at the time so they customised it for their customers.

The first reference to toilet paper is way back in the 6th century AD in 589 AD the scholar-official Yan Zhitui wrote about the use of toilet paper.

"Paper on which there are quotations or commentaries from the Five Classics or the names of sages, I dare not use for toilet purposes".
During the later Tang Dynasty (618–907 AD), an Arab traveller to China in the year 851 AD remarked:
"...they [the Chinese] do not wash themselves with water when they have done their necessities; but they only wipe themselves with paper."
It was during the 14th century that there was an annual manufacturing of toilet paper amounting in ten million packages of between 1,000 and 10,000 sheets of toilet paper for the general use of the imperial court.

Now let's move onto a bit more modern times a man by the name of Joseph Gayetty is credited with inventing the modern commercially available toilet paper in the United States in 1857, his toilet paper was available up until the 1920's.

His Medicated Paper was sold in packages of flat sheets, watermarked with the inventor's name, his advertising tagline was “the greatest necessity of the age Gayetty's medicated paper for the water-closet.

In 1935, Northern Tissue advertised "splinter-free" toilet paper. Yep, you read that right; early paper production techniques sometimes left splinters embedded in the paper. And you thought you had it tough!

In 1942, St. Andrew's Paper Mill in Great Britain introduced two-ply toilet paper. I remember when my girls where little we couldn't afford two-ply toilet paper, now you can by good affordable two-ply and you can even get some reasonably price three-ply but I don't get that myself very often unless it is on sale.

Nowadays there are twenty-six billion roll of toilet paper sold in America each year. On average people use 8.6 sheets of toilet paper each time they go to the toilet, a total of 57 sheets per day.

Here is Australia we have toilet paper rolls but in some countries they don't have rolls of toilet paper in Taiwan it comes in square sheets instead of rolls and is stored in a plastic box with a lid .

So I guess you are wondering what people used before the invention of toilet paper as we know it, well I will tell you what I have found out about that as well.

Prior to toilet paper, what did civilizations/classes commonly use:

- Wealthy Romans -Wool, rosewater

- Public Restrooms in Ancient Rome- A sponge soaked in salt water, on the end of a stick

- Wealthy French – lace, wool and hemp; bidet

- Middle Ages – hayballs, a scraper/gompf stick kept in a container in the privy

- Early Americans – rags, newsprint, paper from catalogues, corncobs, and leaves

- Viking Age/England- discarded sheep and lambs wool

- Hawaiians – coconut shells

- Eskimos – snow and Tundra moss

- India – your left hand and water

- Commoners – Defecating in the river is very common

- Sailors from Spain/Portugal – frayed end of an old anchor line

- Medieval Europe- Straw, hay, grass, gompf stick

- United States – Corn cobs, Sears Roebuck catalogue, mussel shell, newspaper, leaves, sand

- British Lords – pages from a book

- Elite citizens – Hemp & wool

Ok I guess I have gone one enough about toilet paper although I have found it interesting researching this topic.


  1. This was truly interesting. I knew some of this, but not all. I am glad for the invention. ;)

  2. and yet the biggest issue for most is over or under when hanging it on dispenser! lolol

    1. Yeah I thought of that when I was writing this post but thought I might leave that for another post

  3. That was very interesting. When I lived in Illinois, a lot of the farm women who grew up with outhouses said they wiped with the pages of a catalog when they were done shopping from it.


    1. Yeah it is something I think most people don't think about, like it is as if there has always been stuff like toilet paper but really you don't have to go back that far to discover it wasn't always the case

  4. Holy crap! That is some interesting stuff. :-) I'm kind of wondering about those sticks in water. People actually shared them? Gross.

    1. Yeah I also thought gross indeed I am glad I am alive now and have flushing toilets with soft toilet paper


Did you know No:16

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