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Toilet Paper History in a Nutshell

In 1857, a man named Joseph Gayetty invented the first known iteration of toilet paper. At first, the new-fangled invention was sold in packages of full sheets which were watermarked with “Gayetty’s Medicated Paper.” The first modern commercially available toilet paper was released in the late 1920s. Abroad, the story is a little different. According to the Toilet Paper Encyclopedia:

US TP History

A Chinese emperor first used toilet paper in 1391. Manufacturers provided the luxury item exclusively to royalty. Later, the Bureau of Imperial Supplies began producing 720,000 sheets of toilet tissue per year.

European TP History

  • Across Europe. Between 1400-1600, in Renaissance Europe, the educated and elite demanded lots of toilet paper, leading it to become an essential commodity. Unfortunately, demand surpassed supply at the time. For this reason, rags, which were also difficult to come by, became the go-to.
  • England. Sir John Harrington invented the Flushing Toilet in 1596. A British nobleman and godson to Queen Elizabeth I, he invented a valve that released water from the water closet and suggested flushing at least twice a day. Rumor has it that this is where the name the “John” originated. To read more about the history of plumbing, check out the JB Plumbing blog post.
  • United States. Henry Crane immigrated from England and settles in Dorchester, Massachusetts in 1648. His great-grandson, Stephen Crane, is the first in the family to become a papermaker.
    • By 1690, William Rittenhouse and William Bradford of Germantown, PA built the first North American paper-making mill near Philadelphia, which used rags as the raw material. Finally, the process included boiling, rinsing, drying and beating the rags to a pulp.

      Colonial Americans used corn cobs as toilet paper.

    • Initially, colonial Americans cleansed themselves with corncobs and leaves. Later, newspapers, the Sears catalog and Farmer’s Almanac filled the bill. Colonials used the hole in the Almanac to hang it on a nail or string. French Royalty used lace.

      French royalty once used lace as toilet paper.

    • By 1822, paper-makers benefited form a U.S. tariff. From there on, the industry grew steadily into its world dominance of today.

Clogged Toilet Repair Services

Clogged toilets remain a common problem in Southern California, even though modern toilet paper is specifically designed to decompose when introduced to liquid. If your toilets clog, call the experts at JB Plumbing. With us, you can expect upfront pricing; fast, free estimates; licensed, bonded and insured plumbers, who are neat, polite, and well trained. We use state-of-the-art tools and equipment and are proud of the fact our services are free from hidden costs like travel charges. If you call JB Plumbing today, 24/7, you will speak directly to a plumber instead of a telephone answering service. At JB Plumbing, we are experts in residential and commercial plumbing as well as construction. Call today to schedule an appointment. (909) 593-2194.

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