Q: Why do chemists enjoy working with NaOH?

A: Because it's so basic!


Origin of Toilet Paper

Have you ever given a thought on how this toilet paper came into existence? Just as important as this small piece of paper is, it also has an interesting past. Let us find out...

Picture this, you enter a washroom and after you attend the nature's call, to your horror, you do not find toilet paper. Now, you are in a fix, you do not know what to do. This is the moment when you realize the importance of a thing as silly as a toilet paper or tissue as we call it. Today, it is almost impossible to imagine a life without toilet paper. But have you ever given a thought on how this toilet paper came into existence? Just as important as this small piece of paper is, it also has an interesting past. Let us find out...

Toilet Paper Makes Its Debut

If we travel back in time, the questions that pop in our heads are, who invented toilet paper, what was toilet paper used for then, who used it for personal hygiene and when and how was the first paper roll invented?

No one is quite sure about who used the first toilet paper and why was it used. Before the official invention of toilet paper, people from different parts of the world had different ideas when it comes to personal hygiene. For example, the rich Romans used sponge or stones and many other things for personal hygiene. The Romans used to keep sponges stuck on a stick in public toilets. The sponges stuck on the stick were kept dipped in salt water between uses in order to disinfect.

The first official toilet paper was introduced in China in the year 1391. However, the first mention of the word toilet paper for personal hygiene dates back to the year 589 AD in Korea. Between 875 and 1391, big sheets of paper were produced in Korea and China for the Chinese royal family for personal hygiene.

Paper was a rare commodity until the 17th and 18th centuries. The first reference to toilet paper was made in the year 1718. Paper was invented in 1700s and since then papers were widely used.

Joseph C Gayetty invented the first packaged paper roll in the United States in the year 1857. He is credited as the inventor of modern toilet paper that is commercially available today. The product was called as Gayetty's medicated paper and was sold in packages of flat sheets. These paper sheets were medicated with aloe Vera and were watermarked with Gayetty's name.

In the year 1871, Seth Wheeler became the official inventor of toilet paper. He patented in rolled and perforated toilet paper. He started selling the first toilet paper roll.

What is Toilet Paper Made of?

Toilet paper rolls are made of a combination of hard wood and soft wood. 70 per cent of the toilet paper is made of hard wood and the rest 30 per cent is soft wood. The pulp of the trees is then mixed with cooking chemicals and is cooked up to three to four hours to separate the cellulose fibres and chemicals that bind the wood together. The pulp is then washed and sent to the bleaching plant to obtain a white paper. The paper is then dried and given the desired shape and size.

So, the next time you carelessly throw a piece of toilet paper without using it judiciously, do make sure to give a thought on how many trees have been cut to help you get that one essential important piece for personal hygiene.

Tags :     Toilet Paper     washroom     tissue     personal hygiene     soft wood     hard wood    


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