Last week on Instagram (@tedwight), I asked you to weigh in on the “over versus under” toilet paper argument. It seems the correct direction to hang toilet paper has been in question so much the subject even has its own section on Wikipedia. Some argue “over” (reduces the risk of transferring germs, easier to find the end, looks better) versus “under” (tidier appearance, harder for a pet to unravel the roll). However, as it turns out, there is a right and wrong way.
And now, thanks to Seth Wheeler’s patent for perforated toilet paper from 1891, we officially have our answer. Wheeler’s illustrations have the paper going up and over the roll. The idea for perforated toilet paper was originally patented by Wheeler’s Albany Perforated Wrapping Paper Company in 1871 and then re-patented again in a roll-form in 1891 as a way of preventing waste.
“Since the advent of rolls of paper…many devices designed to prevent waste have been patented; but all effort in this direction has been apart from the roll of paper-namely, in the construction of holders for the rolls provided with means to prevent free unwinding of the roll and cause the sheets to separate singly at their connecting points,” Wheeler wrote in his patent. “My improved roll may be used on the simplest holders.”