Wow, the store manager is coming down the ‘Paper Goods” aisle with six large boxes. Hurrying to him, I say, “Do you have toilet paper, any TP?” After a direct look, he opens a box and hands me a twelve pack of double rolls. Flabbergasted, I say, “Thank you, Sir,” and hold out my hand for another. He gives me a stern look. Five minutes later I pass the aisle and it’s empty again.
What technology we have. In a time of high anxiety, we lack basic needs to just do As We Are Told, for the good of all. A simple roll of bathroom toilet paper has achieved magical golden properties. How did our modern society get this way?
From leaves, grass, ferns, seashells, snow, water, sand, wool, lace, hemp and yes, corn cobs, we started. In medieval China the Emperor used 2X3 feet sheets of paper. Ancient people used public holes and anything else. Paper became readily available in the 15th century. In the 1750’s it was common for Englishmen to purchase a copy of Horace and tear pages to carry with them. Newspaper, where is it today when needed, in our technology?
Sir John Harrington is given credit for inventing the first flush toilet for Britain’s Queen Elizabeth I in 1596. The first patent issued for the flush toilet we use today was issued to Alexander Cumming in 1775. The ‘Street’ was America’s bathroom during the 1800s. This was much like the Roman’s holes. Commercial Toilet Paper began circulating in 1857. Before that water was generally used, when available. Thus the term many know, WC or Water Closet. Thomas Crapper in 1881 invented the water float value in toilets that is used today. During World War I the toilet was known as the ‘Crapper’.
Joseph Gayetty created America’s first TP in 1857. They were flat sheets with his name on each sheet. Gayetty advertised them as “The Greatest Necessity of the age!” Scott Paper Company started making rolls of TP in 1890. Today more than 7 billion rolls of toilet paper are sold annually. We Americans use 50% more TP per person than any other country. Each one of us consumes approximately 24 rolls a year. A tree makes about 200 rolls. And each roll is 300 feet long and has 2.8 miles of paper. One roll of TP has 1000 sheets one ply, or 500 sheets two ply and each sheet has been reducing in size since the 1990s.
If you desire expensive TP you can buy a roll of 22 karat gold toilet paper for $1.2 million dollars. In Japan Hanebisho luxury toilet paper sells for $100 for eight rolls. Colored toilet paper was popular in the United States in the late 1900s. It is still popular in Europe.
In Australia they sell the first package of two single rolls for $3.50. The second package is $99.00. Some kids as a prank threw toilet paper all over a neighborhood house. It increased the value of the house by $500,000 dollars.
Be safe and well and please use only four sheets at a time, wash your hands, and practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty—for All!
A timely story for our friends in Baltimore, Maryland, Sarasota, FL, Bradenton, FL Tampa, FL and the entire Florida Suncoast.
Photos from Deposit Photos