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HISTORY: Thank you, Seth Wheeler, inventor of the perforated toilet-paper roll

Image credit Neptuul via wikipedia

Because we know you’ve been wondering, it was all Seth’s idea.

The concept of rolled and perforated squares of toilet paper was patented in 1883 by Seth Wheeler.

Prior to Seth’s innovation, toilet paper was sold commercially as flat sheets starting around 1857 thanks to Joseph Gayetty.

TP is a convenience many Americans take for granted—69% of Americans, according to Toilet Paper World—and much news has been made recently of the incredible shrinking rolls as companies have begun reducing the size of its squares without adjusting their prices.

The annual sales of disposable wipes have surged to a $6 billion industry in recent years, and the problems they have caused to sewer systems has grown as well. That’s because disposable wipes should be thrown away rather than flushed: Wipes do not break down in plumbing and sewer systems as toilet paper does.

Much like Seth’s invention, wastewater treatment is often taken for granted. And from an agency that treats 90 billion gallons of wastewater every year, we know that both conveniences deserve a tip of the lid every so often.