Skip to Content

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the average number of toilet tissue sheets a person uses in one day?
On average, consumers use 8.6 sheets per trip – a total of 57 sheets per day. That’s an annual total of 20,805 sheets.

Prior to toilet paper, what did  civilizations/classes commonly use: 

– Wealthy Romans -Wool, rosewater
– Public Restrooms in Ancient Rome- A sponge soaked in salt water, on the end of a stick
– Wealthy French – lace, wool and hemp; bidet
– Middle Ages – hayballs, a scraper/gompf stick kept in a container in the privy
– Early Americans – rags, newsprint, paper from catalogs, corncobs, and leaves
– Viking Age/England- discarded sheep and lambs wool
– Hawaiians – coconut shells
– Eskimos – snow and Tundra moss
– India – your left hand and water
– Commoners – Defecating in the river is very common
– Sailors from Spain/Portugal – frayed end of an old anchor line
– Medieval Europe- Straw, hay, grass, gompf stick
– United States – Corn cobs, Sears Roebuck catalog, mussel shell, newspaper, l eaves, sand
– British Lords – pages from a book
– Elite citizens – Hemp & wool

Who invented the flushing toilet?
The flushing toilet was invented in 1596. Most people believe it was invented by Thomas Crapper, however, its actual inventor was Sir John Harington. Harington, a British nobleman and godson of Queen Elizabeth I, invented a valve that when pulled would release water from a water closet. Sir John recommended flushing the toilet once or twice a day, although with our modern technology, we know that is probably not sufficient.

thomas crapperDid Thomas Crapper invent the modern toilet?

No. Although from 1861 to 1904 Crapper did have a successful career in the plumbing industry, holding nine patents for plumbing-related products in England, he did not invent the toilet. Albert Giblin holds the 1819 British Patent for the Silent Valveless Water Waste Preventer, a system that allowed a toilet to flush effectively. Giblin worked for Crapper as an employee and the most likely scenario is that Crapper bought the patent rights from Giblin and marketed the device himself.

Why is a bathroom often called the “toilet”?

According to bathroom historian Frank Muir, the toilet and/or the outhouse have at one time or another been called:
• “House of Honor”; the ancient Israelite
• The “House of the Morning”; the ancient Egyptians
• The “garderobe” (literally, “cloakroom”)
• The the necessarium, the necessary house,
• The reredorter (literally, “the room at the back of the dormitory”)
• The privy (that is, the private place
• The jakes, the john, the loo, the W.C. (for water closet),
• Room 100 (in Europe),
• The lavatory
• The closet of ease
• The Throne
• Countless other nouns

In addition to euphemisms, needless to say, there is also an abundance of vulgar expressions. Curiously, however, there is no “real” word for the place where one deposits one’s bodily wastes. ‘Toilet,’ which is now thought of as the “official” term, is itself a euphemism. Originally, toilet was the process of dressing, as in, “the lady has just completed her toilet.” Before toilet assumed its present meaning in the early twentieth century, the accepted technical term for the “john” was the vaguely disgusting, but still euphemistic “bog-house.”

What does the word “toilet” mean?

Deriving in 1828, the original meaning of toilet, or toilette, is of French origin meaning the “act of washing, dressing, and preparing oneself”. As the years went by, the word evolved into actually being the room or facility in which one arranges their toilet. In modern days, toilet refers to the plumbing fixture that one might use in the “bathroom”, with “bathroom” now describing the facility one would go to for the purpose of using the toilet or lavatory.

St. Andrews Paper Mill

Who was the first “soft” two ply toilet paper producer?

St. Andrew’s Paper Mill in Walthamstow, London, is responsible for giving the world the comfort of soft toilet paper in 1942. Before then, many brands were single-ply and not at all pliable.


Who built the first papermaking machine?
In 1798, a Frenchman named Nicholas Louis Robert invented a machine to make paper in continuous rolls rather than sheets. The Fourdrinier brothers, who were English merchants, financed improvements in this machine in 1803. The first American Fourdrinier machine was built in 1827.

How was the first newsprint manufactured?
The first newsprint was created from linen and rags. The rags were bought in bulk and treated for hours before being used in the newsprint production..

What is Kraft paper?
In 1883, a German inventor named Carl Dahl discovered that adding sodium sulfate to the soda process produced a very strong pulp. This discovery produced the Kraft process. Kraft means strength in German. During the early 1900’s, the Kraft process became the most important pulping process.

When did “wood” paper production begin?
Paper production from wood did not actually begin until the late 1800s.