The great toilet paper debate: over vs under

1 April 2015

The great toilet paper debate has been a popular discussion topic for over a century now.

Should the roll be hung over or under the toilet roll holder?

The first patent for perforated toilet paper was US Patent No. 465588, filed and registered by Seth Wheeler in 1891. His invention, consisting of a roll of connected sheets of paper for toilet use, was a new and useful improvement in toilet paper rolls.

The roll of connected sheets was illustrated in the submitted drawings, where Figure 1 shows Wheeler’s intended use for his invention, with the paper going over the roll. He stated that ‘the curved mode of dividing the sheets permits the end of a sheet to be found more readily.’

Original image source: Google Patents  

So does this settle the debate?

Well US Patent No.511983, for wrapping or toilet paper, was also registered by Seth Wheeler. This application took longer to be granted but was filed earlier in 1889, just not registered until 1894. In the submitted drawings Wheeler demonstrated the intended use, with the paper going under the roll. So it could be argued that this invention came first.

Original image source: Google Patents


The answer? Well we’re not sure we’ve solved the debate, and put simply, perhaps it’s just a matter of personal preference!