Thursday, September 18, 2008

Outhouses II

Eve at brought up an interesting question. When was toilet paper invented? My first inclination was that it was a fairly new invention, but thought since I had the information highway at my fingertips, I needed to take advantage of it and do my research. What I found out was interesting, and if I thought so, I am hoping many of you would like to have a bit of useless information to impress others at parties, although I am not sure how one could get a conversation started on toilet paper!

Here is what I found at

I Historical facts
Click here for the complete historical timeline of Toilet Paper and important paper making dates, going back to 50BC...

When and where was toilet paper first invented?

*China…AD 1391 - The Bureau of Imperial Supplies began producing 720,000 sheets of toilet paper a year, each sheet measuring two feet by three feet. For use by the Emperors.

*USA…1857 - New Yorker Joseph C. Gayetty produced the first packaged bathroom tissue in the United States in 1857. The Gayetty Firm from New Jersey produced the first toilet paper named "The Therapeutic Paper". It contained an abundance of aloe, a curative addition. The company sold it in packs of 500 sheets for fifty cents, and Joseph Gayetty had his name printed on each sheet! *USA…1890 - The Scott Paper Company is the first company to manufacture tissue on a roll, specifically for the use of toilet paper. Faced with the consumers' resistance toward the "unmentionable" product, Scott came up with the idea of customizing rolls for every merchant-customer they had. Under this private-label arrangement, Scott purchased large "jumbo" rolls of paper from various paper mills and converted them into packages of small rolls and stacked sheets. *Great Britain…1880- British Perforated Paper Company

When was the first roll of toilet paper made and by whom?

Scott Paper Company marketed the first rolls of toilet paper. The Company was founded in 1879 by brothers E. Irvin and Clarence Scott in Philadelphia and specialized in producing toilet paper. At first they purchased paper and tissue from outside suppliers and cut, rolled and packaged the paper. They converted large parent rolls of tissue into small rolls and stacked sheets and began to market the product through drug and variety stores under private label names. Then, in 1896, Irvin's son Arthur joined the company at the age of 21. He convinced his father and uncle to phase out their private label business and concentrate on their own brand names. With this, Scott purchased the private label name Waldorf from a Philadelphian 'paper jobber' named Albert DeCernea in 1902 and began producing this as their first brand name. As sales grew, it became evident that production changes were necessary to guarantee consistency. In 1910, Scott bought an abandoned soap factory in Chester, 5 miles south of Philadelphia for $85,000 and began making their own parent rolls of tissue, 72" wide at 150-200 feet per minute instead of buying from others. Rolls were sold with either 650 or 1,000 perforated sheets. In 1915, Scott installed an advanced, high-speed Fourdrinier papermaking machine. It made paper 148" wide at 500 feet per minute. In 1921, their brand, Waldorf represented 64% of Scott's total case sales. By 1925 Scott became the leading toilet paper company in the world. (On July 17, 1995 Scott was acquired by Kimberly Clark)

Early Marketing

The roll did not easily fit into the consumer market at first. At the time, society did not speak of the subject frequently. It was quite 'unmentionable" to talk about this product in the conservative, Victorian era. However, during this time indoor plumbing was improving and the public had a desire for better hygiene.

An early advertisement

Scott advertisements were suggesting that "over 65% of middle-aged men and women suffered from some sort of rectal disease". Inferior toilet paper was deemed to be responsible. It was printed in Scott advertisements that "harsh toilet tissue may cause serious injury". The ad said " ScotTissue, Sani-tissue and Waldorf are famous bathroom tissues specifically processed to satisfy the three requirements doctors say toilet tissue must have to be safe: absorbency-softness-chemical purity". Each sheet, it said was made of "thirsty fibers." Scott tissue was made from the finest ingredients and "they are neither acid nor alkaline in reaction. Each sheet is fully sterilized in manufacture" it read.

The first paper roll towel- the ScotTowel.

There is a story that in 1907, a teacher in Philadelphia blamed a mild cold epidemic on the fact that students used the same cloth towel. So she cut up paper into squares and used them as individual towels. Around that time Scott was experimenting with a new type of crepe tissue. It was so thick that it couldn't be cut and rolled into toilet paper. So Arthur Scott ordered it to be made into rolls of towels and perforated into individual 13" x 18" sheets. This was called the Sani-Towels. Advertisements said, " For use once by one user." Success was helped by states that outlawed the use of cloth-roll towels because of spreading disease.

What did people use before toilet paper was invented?

*Newsprint, paper catalogue pages in early US

*Hayballs, Scraper/gompf stick kept in container by the privy in the Middle Ages

*Discarded sheep's wool in the Viking Age, England

*Frayed end of an old anchor cable was used by sailing crews from Spain and Portugal

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

*Corn cobs, Sears Roebuck catalog, mussel shell, newspaper, leaves, sand- United States

*Water and your left hand, India

*Pages from a book, British Lords

*Coconut shells in early Hawaii

*Lace was used by French Royalty

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

*The Wealthy in Ancient Rome-Wool and Rosewater

*French Royalty-lace, hemp

*Hemp & wool were used by the elite citizens of the world

*Defecating in the river was very common internationally

*Bidet, France

*Snow and Tundra Moss were used by early Eskimos

I hope you enjoyed this bit of trivia as much as I did...


Roses and Lilacs said...

Interesting post. Of course I've heard of the old outhouses have catalogs but never knew when the tissue products became available.

beckie said...

I can see this as quite a conversation starter at the occasional office party. And now we have the facts to disuss with authority. :0

Morning Glories in Round Rock said...

Never let it be said we blog just for the sake of blogging--we blog for educational purposes! :-)

Wendy said...

Yikes! That's a lot of info just on toilet paper. I'm impressed!

Morning Glories in Round Rock said...

Wendy, I bet you didn't know blogging could be so educational. LOL!

Rose said...

Well, this is a subject I've never much thought about before. How is it that this was never discussed in any of the college courses I took?:) I feel so enlightened now; thanks for the info, LOL.

I just read your last post on outhouses, which was so interesting, too. I've seen them in different magazine articles before; in fact, it might have been Better Homes and Gardens that featured a garden with several of them as "architectural interests."
I still remember Grandma's too vividly to want one in my back yard, though!

Morning Glories in Round Rock said...

Rose, never let it be said that blogging is not good for you (as in educational)!

I am hoping that mine would be a reminder of a simpler time--a blank canvas for an old fashioned garden without the smell--well, bad smell that is! And a handy spot to keep my potting and gardening supplies. My husband is all for getting them out of his domain (the garage).

Eve said...

Haha...who knew an innocent comment about toiliet tissue would inspire a whole post. I'm honored. : )

Like my friend used to tell me when I asked her why she would pick me for best quote of the day on our old book board, so often..."Eve, Some days, the pickings are just slim". LOL

Morning Glories in Round Rock said...

Oh no, Eve! I didn't think the pickings were slim. I guess my mind took off on a tangent when you asked that question, and I just ran with it! I think that is what is so tantalizing about the 'net--there is so much useless information at your fingertips! I had a lot of fun with it. Hum-mm, after toilet paper, what's left?!?