History Of Toilet Paper And The Many Uses Of The Toilet Paper Roll

Toilet Paper
Toilet Paper | Source

Could You Live Without Toilet Paper

Toilet paper, toilet tissue, bathroom/toilet tissue, is a convenience that we just take for granted. Sure we could live without it but would we really want to.


When Was Toilet Paper Invented

The history of toilet paper dates way back to the 6th century AD in medieval China and according to Wikipedia it was used by Chinese emperors in the 14th Century as we use toilet paper today, except it was a bit larger than what we have now. They ordered it in 2 x 3 foot sheets. What were they thinking and what were people using before to wipe their derrières.

What was Used Before Toilet Paper


  • A middle-easterner would use their left hand…. eeeewww. Purell hand sanitizer would have been so useful back then.
  • The Greeks used stones and clay and Romans would use a sponge on a stick. Gives one a new outlook on sticks and stones may break my bones but also are quite handy.
  • In the early American West it was very common to use a catalogue. “You done reading that Sears Wish book son cause Daddy needs to go”.


A page from the Sears Roebuck Catalogue
A page from the Sears Roebuck Catalogue | Source
Farmer's Almanac from 1793
Farmer's Almanac from 1793 | Source

Still Seen in Bathrooms Today

It would not be unusual to find a Farmers Almanac hung from a hook in the outhouse with pages torn out. Think of that next time you are in someone’s washroom and happen to see a Farmer almanac sitting there.

Wait I was still reading that!

I remember my grandmother telling me how they would use old newspapers in the old country back in the day. “Look, look told you it was in last weeks news, says so right here on my butt”.

Thank Goodness!

In 1857 the first packaged toilet paper, which was flat sheets, pre-moistened with aloe came out in the U.S.A. and was called Gayetty’s Medicated Paper.

Finally in the 1880’s the perforated and rolled toilet paper was invented. Some people say it was Albany Perforated Wrapping Company that came out with it and others say it was Scott Paper Company.

We can thank Great Britain for their introduction to two-ply toilet tissue in 1942. Today we have 3 ply and I have to say who needs 3 ply. I bought 3 ply once by mistake and all it did was clog my toilet.

Onto Some Fun Stuff About Toilet Paper

Toilet paper and toilet paper rolls are a great source for making crafts. You can make snowflakes, butterfly masks, angels’ toilet paper origami and more. Linda Wright will show you how easy it is to do in her book called Toilet Paper Origami. 

For everyone who either likes or dislikes Obama you can buy your very own Obama toilet paper. Get yours today and “Flush your troubles down the drain”.

Made from Toilet Paper Rolls by Junior Fritz Jacquet
Made from Toilet Paper Rolls by Junior Fritz Jacquet | Source

Actual Uses For The Empty Rolls

Toilet Paper Rolls can come in quite handy if you cannot bring yourself to throw them away. If you have small critters such as rats, gerbils, guinea pigs or hamsters, rolls can be used as a toy for them. Just put them into their cages and they will play with them for hours. At Christmas time use the rolls to place small stocking stuffers in before wrapping. Save them up for craft day with the little ones. They also make great fire starters for when you are outdoors that is. Here is something that I find very creative and something you can do while sitting on the toilet. Toilet Paper sculptures made by Junior Fritz Jacquet.

Even my dog loves "Toilet Paper"

Cats and dogs are very fascinated by toilet paper. In my house we cannot leave the bathroom door open as Magz our dog, will go in and steal toilet paper. One day someone (not me of course) had left the cabinet door open in the bathroom. What a mess, she must have found the stash of toilet paper because when I went to see what she was up to, there was toilet paper everywhere. (I bet you thought only kids toilet papered houses). She had tried to eat it as I found all these wadded little wet mounds of tissue stuck to the floor. For some reason this dog loves paper.

The Aussies as shown in this commercial below have a Real Mans Toilet Paper

Hope you enjoyed this hub on Toilet Paper.

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Comments 75 comments

Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

sedotwc, Thank you.


sedotwc 4 years ago from Indonesia

I had this from you

very full discussion, writing a very impressive


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

Bldg an Architect, It was a weekly inspiration topic :) Glad you liked it.


Bldg an Architect profile image

Bldg an Architect 4 years ago

How on earth did you ever think to write a hub on toilet paper of all things? I love it!


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon

yes. and gross :-)


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

PDX, Ricky Roca, That's a good one lol.


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon

i used to have a roommate with a cat named Ricky. when my dog would get into the kitty litter, we would call it Ricky Roca :-)


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

PDX, I think all dogs like kitty litter. It's a delicacy to them.


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon

well, at least it's not like eating cat litter. My dogs go insane for that stuff :-)


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

Wesman, Thanks for reading :)

PDX, My dogs unravel the toilet paper and chew and eat the cardboard. I have to keep my bathroom door always shut as they will go on a toilet paper hunt.


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon

interesting hub, Susan. i did cringe at the thought of using stones to wipe my bum but I suppose it's better then my left hand. We give one of our dogs, Bella, empty rolls to chew on. she loves the cardboard!


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

hehehehhe.

Got a rare laugh from a Will Starr comment!!!


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

Princesswithapen, Thank you, and glad you enjoyed this with a laugh :)


princesswithapen profile image

princesswithapen 4 years ago

Not in my wildest dreams did I foresee that I'd be reading about toilet paper with my morning cuppa, but I have to say it made for an amusing read. Your take on "..sticks and stones may break my bones but also are quite handy.." was hilarious!

Nicely done Susan.

Princesswithapen


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

Man from Modesto, I'm glad I don't have to use a hose :)

time2rite, Thanks and glad you enjoyed it.


time2rite profile image

time2rite 4 years ago from Navarre, Fl, USA

Just Ask Susan, this was a great hub; I am still "rolling" with laughter! I found it not only interesting but extremely humorous. Thanks for for the info and for the laughs.


Man from Modesto profile image

Man from Modesto 4 years ago from Kiev, Ukraine (formerly Modesto, California)

Anyone who has worked in the middle east knows about the hoses. After one year there, I still don't know how to use those!


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

Sunshine, My grandmother used to curl my hair with toilet paper. Wrap the hair in toilet paper then roll up with foil. I looked like a little martian. Thanks for reminding me of this :)


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

Interesting. I once wondered what they did before toilet paper, I now know and ewwww.

How about other uses for toilet paper? Such as TP'ing someone's tree? It's more for fun than a real use. Some women wrap their hairdo's with TP while they sleep, in the morning they remove the TP and supposedly their "do" is good to go for the day. I heard about that on The View. Anyway this hub was a nice tribute to TP and i'm not shittin' ya. Ok I'm outta here...gotta go.


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

THEHuG5, Hi and nice to meet you. So glad that you enjoyed the hub.

homesteadbound, Our property had an outhouse on it at one time way back when. Thank you for stopping by and for commenting.

tammy, My Grandmother told me of using catalogs too :) Thank you.

alocsin, I'm pretty happy about being born to the toilet paper using world :)

Vincent, Did he have it next time that you visited?

Daisy, I would be carrying around toilet paper too :)


THEHuG5 profile image

THEHuG5 4 years ago

“You done reading that Sears Wish book son cause Daddy needs to go” That woke me up this morning lol! My dog always tears up the toilet paper too if we leave the bathroom door open. I enjoyed reading this a lot, great idea for a hub.


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 4 years ago from Texas

This is a really cute hub. My great granfather still had two outhouses (in town) that he used until his death in the late sixties.


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 4 years ago from North Carolina

What a cute idea. I remember my Grandmother telling me I used too much toilet paper. She grew up during the depression and she said she had to use the Sears catalog! Well done!


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

One of my favorite inventions. I don't know how I would've survived pre-TP. Voting this Up and Interesting.


Vincent Moore 4 years ago

I was at and Indonesian friends apartment years ago. I went to use his bathroom and in place of toilet tissue there was a bottle of water next to the head. I yelled where's your ass wipe. He didn't have a clue what I was referring to. I made him run down to the store and buy me a roll while I sat on his throne waiting for his return. LoL


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

I accompanied my boyfriend on a business trip to India several years ago. In the three weeks we were there, I only left the hotel property once...My boyfriend told me that in some of the men's rooms he used, there was a water hose instead of toilet paper. He began carrying a roll of toilet paper in his briefcase.


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

Susan, It's much softer than the old Sears catalogue :)


sholland10 profile image

sholland10 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri

I bet! That's rough! LOL


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

Susan, I couldn't use Charmin for the longest time as we had an old style toilet. Happy to say that we can now :) Thanks.

RH, LOL so glad :)


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Susan - this is perfect! You validate me! LOL LOL


sholland10 profile image

sholland10 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri

This is great!! Yikes on some of the old ways people used to use. Voted up and across. I had to laugh when I read Will Starr's comment about corncobs. My grandparents used to talk about that. OUCH!!! I am happy to be spoiled with my Charmin. :-)


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

Perspycacious, Thank you, what a nice sounding leaf, and soft too. Nice to meet you.


Perspycacious profile image

Perspycacious 4 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

Pioneers also used mullein leaf when they could find it. Its other name is Lambs Ear; very soft, and chlorophyll too!


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

Gordon, Glad that you liked the hub and thanks for your comments.


Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon Hamilton 5 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

Never realised the history of toilet paper went back so far, Susan - maybe these ancient oriental emperors were somewhat larger in the part of the posterior than people tend to be today, through sitting on them all day...???

I remember the toilet "paper" that we used to have at school. It was more comfortable to steal sandpaper out of the woodwork class! Though the old style roll insides made excellent telescopes when you were playing at pirates...

Great Hub and very interesting.


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

mythicalstorm, Thanks and no I don't mind at all.


mythicalstorm273 profile image

mythicalstorm273 5 years ago

This was quite entertaining! I hope you don't mind I linked it to one of my hubs :-)


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

safiq ali patel Thank you for your input. Have a great day!


safiq ali patel profile image

safiq ali patel 5 years ago from United States Of America

I'm not sure I like hubs that are market stalls from promoting amazon products in the middle. Advertising should be subtle and place to one side.


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

Thanks so much jamie.


jamiecoins profile image

jamiecoins 5 years ago from ireland

wow great information :) i have a uncle in ontario in coldberg i think its called i shall read more of your hubs :)


jamiecoins profile image

jamiecoins 5 years ago from ireland

wow great information :) i have an uncle in ontario in coldberg i think its called i shall read more of your hubs :)


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

saddlerider thanks for sharing :). My grandmother's cottage on the St. Lawrence River had an outhouse and I as I recall there was no toilet paper as we know it today in there.


saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 5 years ago

What a very informative read, a little sticky and smelly however very well written:0)) I remember once going to the john and sitting on the throne, then looking for toilet paper, there was none. My friend was Indonesian, he yelled to me to use the bottle of water beside the toilet.

I yelled back are you insane:0) He knocked on my door and handed me a roll he had hidden away for guests.

Yes in their country they use water to wash off the debris/excess/clingers/poop/ etc etc etc..he he..I learned something that day for sure.

Thanks for sharing the various ways of wiping ones backside. BTW my aunt's cottage back in the 60's up in the Laurentians in Quebec had magazines in the outhouse for that reason to give a wipe, however the glossy and shinyness smeared a lot. Ewwwwwwwwwwww...lol


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

workingmomwm since posting this hub I have tried with every empty roll to sculpt like that. Mine look pretty crazy.

henry thanks so much.


henry1robertson profile image

henry1robertson 5 years ago from Los Angeles, CA 90013

This is a wonderful post. The things given are unanimous and needs to be appreciated by everyone.


workingmomwm profile image

workingmomwm 5 years ago from Kentucky, USA

I love the toilet paper roll sculptures! So cool! Thanks for sharing that.


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

Well Susan, let's just say that toilet paper roll paper cover paper tastes more like cig rolling paper than does Bible paper. . . . .:=\


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

Wesman interesting stuff! Have to ask did the paper work well for the cigarettes?

Rosie thanks so much for the thumbs up.

Jagaplanet glad you found this interesting :)

hillrider thanks for stopping by

diane me too!

Stina thanks I will take Charmin and Cottenelle any day over the Aussie "Sandy"


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

When I once spent six months in a "special resort" community for poor people who'd had issues with police; I found that the term "I 45" did not refer to just the nearby interstate highway. No no. "I 45" was what we called the paper that covered TP rolls, and when we'd smuggle some of that paper into our "communal living centers" we'd use it to smoke cigarettes with. . . .now, getting tobacco in those "communal quarters" was a whole different game. . . .


Rosie2010 profile image

Rosie2010 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

Hiya Susan, oh what a great hub on the history of toilet paper. Yes, we kinda ignore the toilet paper until we run out of it and then we panic! thumbs up and awesome

Have a nice day,

Rosie


Jangaplanet profile image

Jangaplanet 5 years ago

Wow! pretty interesting article. I keep learning something new everyday.


hillrider profile image

hillrider 5 years ago from Mid-west United States

Silly of course but informative ...


dianebowling profile image

dianebowling 5 years ago from Virginia

Loved it! TP is the probably one of the most underappreciated thing we have. I'm so glad I don't have to use corn cobs...or my left hand! Great hub!


cardelean profile image

cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan

Great hub! It really makes you appreciate the little things in life!


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

MarieAlice. Yes very Lucky!


MarieAlice profile image

MarieAlice 5 years ago from Peru

we are lucky to have this luxury!!!


Stina Caxe profile image

Stina Caxe 5 years ago from Virginia

This is great, I love the videos. It makes me appreciate my Charmin more than ever.


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

Thanks Chatkath.


Chatkath profile image

Chatkath 5 years ago from California

Thank you for some funny and interesting history Susan, very well done Hub on such a taken-for-granted topic!

Rated up!!!!


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

Thank you so much Genna.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

I just love these hubs...another winner ,Susan. :)


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

Sue somehow I knew you would like this one :) I am going to make some of this toilet paper lol Thanks for reading.


sueroy333 profile image

sueroy333 5 years ago from Indiana

As you can imagine.. I completely loved this hub!!! I had wondered about the history of toilet paper. I know now why they shake hands with the right hand in the east!

I love, love, LOVED the Aussie video. If I knew where to get some of that toilet paper, I would so get some for my husband!!

voted up and awesome and liked! This was great!!


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

fastfreta, The Aussie video I suppose is a different sense of humor. Thanks for stopping by.

Merlin, Thank you so much for adding to my hub! My Dad was in the Canadian Navy and I have to say I never heard about the Soft Bum Boys .... That's funny!

Jane glad you enjoyed the Chaser Video :)

prasetio, Thanks so much.

Princessa, It would be hard to live without toilet paper.

Pamela,ImChemist and cheapsk8chick, Thank you for reading and for your comments.


fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 5 years ago from Southern California

This is cute Susan, nice trivia. I'm from the Sears catalog era. I must admit I don't get the Aussie video. Very good, voted up.


Merlin Fraser profile image

Merlin Fraser 5 years ago from Cotswold Hills

Did you forgot that there was a variety of toilet paper in between cut up squares of newspaper and the soft tissue of today... with or without Aloe Vera.

This was like grease proof paper on a roll, zero absorbency, and was about as much use a chocolate teapot. This was standard military issue, except on submarines they got the good stuff which was why in the Navy they were always referred to as the Soft Bum Boys, (and not for any other reason that I was aware of ! ) Every sheet of this paper had the words ‘Government Property’ written on it as if anyone would steal it... It made great tracing paper but other than that it was unfit for purpose.

We use to refer to it as ‘John Wayne Toilet Paper,’ because it was Rough and Tough and didn’t take no Sh*t....

Just thought you needed to know this, now your history is complete !


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore

It's amazing how many things were invented by the Chinese, so I'm not at all surprised to hear they came up with toilet paper. Thanks for the interesting history.

Great to see the Chaser team in the bottom video..haha


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 5 years ago from malang-indonesia

This is a great history. I never knew about this before. Thanks for share with us. This was a valuable information. Good work, Susan. Vote up. Take care!

Prasetio


Princessa profile image

Princessa 5 years ago from France

I always wondered...

I have actually seen cut newspaper into handy squares hanging from a hook in the toilet in Peru. I must say it was in the jungle (yes, they get newspaper in the jungle too) and it was more than 20 years ago!

Thank goodness for the soft toilet paper that we can get now!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States

susan, I now know more than I ever hoped to about toilet paper. Your hub was really interesting and I'm glad I live in a world with the real thing! :-)


ImChemist profile image

ImChemist 5 years ago

very helpful hub , thanks for sharing it. rated


cheapsk8chick profile image

cheapsk8chick 5 years ago

I had an auntie who used newspaper. Always. I hated "going" over there as a kid!


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

Will, I was going to add the corncob as well as leaves and other handy stuff maybe I should of. Thanks for reading.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Not so long ago, people in the midwest used corncobs in lieu of expensive toilet paper. I guess that what you would call 'roughing it'!

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