Monday, July 21, 2014

A Short History of Toilet Paper

Fewer things have had a bigger impact on mankind than the invention of toilet paper. (Okay, that's an exaggeration, but can you imagine a world without TP?) Joseph Gayetty is credited with inventing toilet paper in 1857, and his brand remained one of the few commercial varieties available until Northern Tissue Company invented a splinter-free paper in 1935.

What did people use before? The ancient Greeks used stones and pieces of clay. The ancient Romans used a sponge on the end of a long stick that was shared by the entire community. In Colonial America, corncobs were commonly used, and later old newspapers and catalogues. Even today, people in India refrain from toilet paper altogether, preferring the left-hand and bucket-of-water method.

But leave it to the inventive Japanese who are charting the course to the next level of toilet hygiene and comfort. In Japan, toilets are equipped with water jets that get you refreshingly clean. Toilet paper is used merely to dry when air blowers aren't available.

1 comment:

My View From Maine said...

In Thailand and many Asian countries we put toilet paper on the dining table to wipe our mouths.

In the bathroom we have a "butt sprayer" not unlike the one at your kitchen sink. It is way better and cleaner than toilet paper. Some folks use a little bit of paper to dab the water from your bum, but it is not uncomfortable to just hike your pants and move on!