Apr 14, 2011
A Unique Use for Jumbo Toilet Paper
Most jumbo toilet paper rolls are used in commercial bathrooms or high traffic restrooms. But Dr. James Tanton had another use for these jumbo rolls of paper.
Dr. Tanton professes to prefer the small individually wrapped toilet tissue rolls for household use. But he was using the jumbo toilet paper rolls with his students at St. Mark’s School in Southborough, Massachusetts to try to beat a paper folding record set by Britney Gallivan in 2002. For the past 7 years, Dr. James Tanton had tried to beat Britney’s record of folding a sheet of paper in half 12 times.
Dr. James Tanton found ToiletPaperWorld.com by googling toilet paper supplies. Of all the online toilet paper suppliers he thought that the ToiletPaperWorld.com site name was dynamic. “Who can resist Toilet Paper World?”
Dr. Tanton described the site as easily navigable, and found the jumbo rolls of toilet paper easily. The biggest roll of toilet paper on ToiletPaperWorld.com is 4,000 feet long, although he would welcome a longer roll if it was manufactured.
By taping together rolls of toilet paper, Dr. Tanton and the students finally achieved a 13,000 ft long sheet of toilet paper. On April 3, 2011 in the Infinite Corridor at MIT, they managed to fold the toilet paper that was more than 2 miles long. They created 13 unidirectional folds, beating Britney’s record. The only problem was that the folded paper would not stay folded by itself.
Why the Infinite Corridor?
The Infinite Corridor was the longest indoor space that the toilet paper would not be affected by outside forces. Wind especially was a major obstacle for working with such a light and floaty material. Even the indoor air conditioning had enough force to cause the toilet paper to move.
For the Record
Dr. Tanton says that next year they hope to have the actual freestanding entity, using 24,000 ft of paper, creating a stable 13 folds.
Though the Guinness Book of World Records doesn’t have a paper folding category yet, they just may after this! Next year, ToiletPaperWorld.com will donate the toilet paper supplies for the challenge. Good luck to Dr. James Tanton and the students at St. Mark’s!
Read about it in the Boston Globe