This afternoon I got an email from a reader, along with a link to a PuffHo article called “This 124-year-old patent reveals the right way to use toilet paper.” A screenshot of the email’s contents:
Matt was, of course, referring to reader Diana MacPherson, who is obsessed with installing “wrong way” toilet rolls, in which the paper is “under” rather than “over”. (You will know this if you’re a regular here.) If Diana visits a friend, or even a commercial establishment, and finds a roll in the “over position,” she changes it.
Now, however, there is irrefutable proof that she’s RONG, for the inventor of the roll actually specified the correct position in his patent. As PuffHo notes:
According to an 1891 patent by New York businessman Seth Wheeler, the end of a toilet paper roll should be on the outside, or in the “over” position. (Advocates of the “under” position, take note: better flip that roll over when you get home.)
Writer Owen Williams shared the discovery Monday on Twitter, posting a picture of Wheeler’s patent for the toilet paper roll:
Wheeler, the man behind the Albany Perforated Wrapping Paper Company, is also the reason we’re able to tear off perfect squares in the first place: Albany Perforated originally patented the idea for perforated “wrapping” paper (a more modest name for toilet paper) in 1871.
“My invention … consists in a roll of wrapping paper with perforations on the line of the division between one sheet and the next, so as to be easily torn apart, such roll of wrapping paper forming a new article of manufacture,” Wheeler’s 1871 patent read.
This of course only makes sense, for you can choose your portion and tear it more easily in the “over position.” Further, “over” is optimal for cats, as they can’t use an “under” roll as a toy, clawing out huge reams of paper.
I doubt that I’ve ever installed a roll in the “under” position in my entire life. Seriously, installing it any other way is like buying a car and then driving it backwards forever. There really should be no debate on this issue.
Naturally Diana will reply with her reasons, but I consider her definitively pwned by this finding.