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Washington Post Shares History of Toilet Paper

Jun 5, 2009

At, we have a passion for toilet paper, as well as this product’s interesting history. In a recent article in the Washington Post, reporters described the unique and sometimes uncomfortable history of toilet paper. Some highlights include:

  • The first recorded use of toilet paper appears to have occurred in China around A.D. 851. After that, nothing much was written about the practice until the 14th century rolled around. During the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) special sheets of toilet tissue were fashioned for the imperial court.

  • While Chinese royalty was lucky, there were many alternative methods to using toilet paper which made themselves known around the world. Some favorites include: pages from books, newspapers, grass, hay, perfumed wool, saltwater soaked sponges, corn cobs, lace, leaves, and the frayed ends of old anchor cable.

  • TP finally came on the scene in 1857, when Joseph Gayetty sold medicated paper packages. Though this didn’t quite catch on, it did set the stage for a company we now know and love: Scott. In 1890, Scott Co. came out with the first edition of household toilet paper, which has since developed into the soft sheets we now know today.

To learn more about the unique history of toilet paper, be sure to check out’s official Toilet Paper Encyclopedia.

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