The Evolution of Toilet Paper

Toilet Paper

Toilet paper – we all use it, we all need it and most importantly, we want a roll that will get us clean and not irritate our sensitive areas. Have you ever wondered just where this great personal hygiene product originated and how has it evolved into the absorbent, ultra-soft product we see today?

It is said that toilet paper made its first appearance in the 6th century in medieval China, but obviously not in the form we see it in today. Throughout the past centuries, wealthy people had been known to wipe themselves using wool, lace or even hemp, while the less than wealthy folks turned to items such as rags, wood shavings, grass, hay, stone and even sand. Not exactly items one would want to find hanging on a toilet paper holder in a public restroom today.

As far as modern commercially available toilet paper, Joseph Gayetty is credited as the inventor of this now necessary product in 1857. One of the major differences between the original toilet tissue and what we see in bathrooms today is it medicated, as well as sold in packages of flat sheets.

If we were to go back and look at the original toilet paper, it would remind us more of tissues than of the white rolls of paper wrapped around a cardboard ring. While the idea of toilet paper is a simple one, there are so many variations, roll sizes, textures that it can be quite complex and technical for the companies that make and sell the products. What size, roughness, softness, chemical residue, water-absorption and weights should each roll consist of are just some of the criteria these producers must take into consideration when creating their own version of toilet paper.

When you go to the grocery store to pick up more toilet paper, surely you have a certain set of criteria that you want your toilet paper to meet in order for you to purchase and use it. Do you want one-ply, two-ply, double roll, triple roll, extra absorbent, scented, medicated, with aloe or with wax? There is an array of choices for which you can select from.

Most commercial office buildings generally use the lowest grade of one-ply toilet tissue that is sold, due to it being readily available and more often than not, cheaper than the softer, thicker variety of toilet paper.

Regardless of the toilet paper you choose to stock your bathroom with, it is safe to say that is has come a long way from its first uses centuries ago.


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