Great Moments in Toilet Paper History

500 B.C.-A.D. 500: Roman So-Called Civilization — All public toilets feature a stick with a sponge attached to its end, soaking in a bucket of brine. Citizens use the tool to freshen up.

1391: The King's Pleasure — Chinese emperors begin ordering toilet paper in sheets measuring 2 feet by 3 feet.

1596: A Royal Flush — Sir John Harington, a godson of Queen Elizabeth I, invents the first flushing toilet (a distinction often attributed to plumber Thomas Crapper).

1700s: Damn Niblets! — Colonial Americans wipe with corncobs, later switching to old newspapers, catalogues and almanacs.

1857: Every Sheet Bears My Name — New York entrepreneur Joseph C. Gayetty manufactures the first packaged pre-moistened sheets of bathroom tissue — called "therapeutic paper" — in packs of 500 for 50 cents. Gayetty is so proud of his innovation that he had his name imprinted on each sheet.

1861-1904: The Gifts of Thomas Crapper — British plumber Thomas Crapper revolutionizes the toilet with a series of plumbing-related patents.

1872: Kimberly Meets Clark — Charles Benjamin Clark, a 28-year-old Civil War veteran, recruits John A. Kimberly to join him in building a paper mill in Wisconsin.

1890: On a Roll — Scott Paper introduces toilet paper on a roll. But the paper goods company is somewhat embarrassed to be associated with such an "unmentionable" thing and refuses to put its name on the product. Instead, the toilet paper bears the name of intermediaries. As a result, at the beginning of the 20th century, the Waldorf Hotel in New York becomes a leader in the toilet paper business.

1902: Enter the Green Bay Giant — Northern Paper Mills, the company that later became Quilted Northern, opens, producing Northern Tissue.

1916: Gas Masks Become Sanitary Napkins — Kimberly-Clark begins concentrating on a special wadding paper. With World War I brewing in Europe, this product, Cellucotton, was adapted for use as a filter in gas masks and bandages. Nurses began using it as sanitary pads. Cellucotton was renamed "Cellu-Naps," and then "Kotex."

1920: The Tissue and the Pop-Up Box — Kimberly-Clark introduces the Kleenex tissue. Nine years later, this product is marketed in the patented Pop-Up box. 1928: From Charming to Charmin — Hoberg paper introduces Charmin. The logo — a woman's head from a cameo pin — was designed to appeal to feminine fashions of the day. A female employee called the packaging "charming," and the product's brand name was born.

1932: Wiping Away Depression — Charmin tries to mitigate the pain of the Great Depression by introducing the economy-sized four-roll pack.

1935: Who's Got the Tweezers? — Northern Tissue is hailed as one of the few splinter-free toilet papers on the market.

1942: A Softer World — St. Andrew's Paper Mill in England introduces two-ply toilet paper. 1944: Patriotic Toilet Paper Duty — The United States honors Kimberly-Clark with an "E" Award (for excellence in commercial services) for its heroic effort supplying soldiers fighting in World War II.

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