The year 1857 is in a sense a milestone when it comes to personal hygiene and sanitary use. Among the patches of soft fabric in the 14 the century in China was made for imperial use sponges on sticks of the Romans, hay, straw and rags in the Middle Ages and the year 1857, one big gaping hole. In that year, Joseph Gayetty and his firm Joseph C. Gayetty Company from New Jersey launched commercial toilet paper for the first time. Under the name 'Gayetty's Medicated Paper ‘he sold loose sheets of paper in 500-sheet packages for 50 cents. The paper was soaked in Aloe Vera for a soothing and healing effect. In addition, each sheet was provided with a watermark with the brand name to generate brand awareness.
However, his invention was not successful. The Americans were not used to paying for a few pieces of paper. They preferred to use ordinary newspaper, which was free and certainly available in large quantities for everyone in the mid-nineteenth century. It seems that especially the catalog of Soers & Roebuck and the bulky The Old Farmer's Almanac , which was published annually in September, were very popular as toilet paper. The Old Farmer's Almanac was slightly more popular because it was provided with a hole where you could easily hang it on a nail in the simple 'outhouses', the outside toilets that were available at that time - even before the installation of toilets in the home and sewerage in the cities.
Most sources report that it was the turn of the Edward,
Clarence and Thomas Scott brothers. In 1879 they founded the Scott Paper Company and energetically started selling toilet paper. At the Philadelphia plant, the paper was manufactured and rolled onto a roll, after which it was sold to middlemen who packaged it under their own brand name. The sale and use of toilet paper at that time was still a big taboo and the Scott family did not want to attach its own - good - name to it. From then on toilet paper on a roll with perforated sheets was put on the market under more than 2000 different brand names, by far the most popular and successful was the Waldorf brand that the Scott brothers finally bought in 1902 as a brand name to market the paper from their own factory under that name, without the intervention of other traders.
However, recent research shows that the Scott brothers were not the inventors of the pre-perforated toilet paper on a roll. It was a Scott Wheeler from Albany NY who applied for a patent in 1871 for rolled up toilet paper. The patent application under number US117355 shows an image of roll for perforated toilet paper. In 1878 - one year before the founding of the Scott Paper Company in Philadelphia - Seth Wheeler founded the Albany Perforated Wrapping Company and in 1891 he applied for a second patent for his rolled-up toilet paper.
The patent application dating from 15 September 1891 not only shows the pre-perforated toilet paper on a wooden roll, but also a toilet roll holder for which a patent had already been applied for in March of the same year under the name 'toilet paper fixture’. In that sense, Seth Wheeler is really seen as the inventor of the toilet roll holder as we still know it today in many forms. The basic principle as Wheeler had in mind has not changed much in the last 130 years.
In the years that followed - and in which Seth Wheeler continued to perfect and expand his inventions with different types of paper and different types of holders - there were numerous other companies who wanted to take advantage of the commercial success that toilet paper and toilet paper holders promised to be. Not only do various patent applications testify to this - such as those from Oliver Hewlett Hicks and the Morgan Envelope Company from Springfield Massachusetts - but also the lawsuits filed by Wheeler for plagiarism. He won the most with flying colors. The Albany Perforated Wrapping company advertised with its products in newspapers and magazines. However, the taboo about toilet paper had not been broken yet, the medical aspect of wrapping paper as it was called euphemistically was still strongly emphasized. The points of sale were mainly drugstores and pharmacies, and the medical aspect was also put forward in the advertisements.
From a marketing point of view, a masterful move was to offer free toilet holders that were only suitable for the paper of the APW Company and that had the logo of the company.
Thanks to our ancestors for their efforts