The debate has raged for centuries.
Toilet paper: over or under?
And now finally WE HAVE AN ANSWER. Because the original patent for the toilet roll holder has been uncovered, and solved the great debate:
It’s OVER BABY. THE DEBATE IS OVER BECAUSE THE ANSWER IS OVER.
The 1891 patent by The Godfather Of Toilet Paper (unofficial title) Seth Wheeler, shows an early version of the toilet paper roll. The patent reads,
To all whom it may cancer-n.-
Be it known that I, SETH WHEELER, of the city and county of Albany, and State of New York, have invented certain new and useful Improvements in lVrapping or Toilet Paper Rolls; and I do hereby declare that the following is a full, clear, and exact description thereof, reference being had to the accompanying drawings, forming a part ot’ this specification.
My invention consists of a roll of paper for wrapping or toilet use so constructed that the points of attachment and severance between the sheets will be alternately out of parallel lines running through the whole body of the sheets, so that a pull upon the free end of the web will not be transmitted in a direct line through a series of sheets,but will be di- Verted by the spaces opposite the connecting points of the sheet pulled upon, thereby producing a transverse strain upon the next line of connecting points sufficient to break them. In carrying out my invention the sheets of paper are only partially separated, having their points of attachment arranged in a novel n’anner, whereby each sheet will easily separate’from the series as it is drawn from the roll, there being no litter occasioned, and any waste of paper is thereby prevented.
TLDR: We need a toilet paper dispenser. Here’s an idea. Chuck your roll on this.
Ok, so there’s no mention of the exact placement of paper but since pictures tell a thousand words, shall we examine some more?
This picture basically says just one word: O.V.E.R.
The confusing thing, though, is that another patent submitted by Wheeler two years before, of a multi-roll holder tells another story:
Even the inventor, the first man to put toilet paper on a roll, was confounded.
Did he realise the error of his first patent and attempt to rectify it the second time around?
Or is it a case of the first way being the right way?
As the owner of the Albany Perforated Wrapping Paper Company, the first business to sell toilet paper on a roll, perhaps Seth Wheeler was merely trying to please both the over and under parties so provided both options.
And in any case, no one uses multi-roll holders really so that drawing doesn’t count. It’s the single holder that’s in question here. And the answer?