It is amazing what we take for granted now days. Electricity and indoor plumbing are rather obvious advances in civilization. I never gave much thought to toilet paper. I do remember people talking about using corn cobs to "clean themselves." And I had a teacher in middle school that went to South America to teach one year. One of the few things he said about that trip was that the TP was noticeably rougher. That was one of the products that he had sent to him from America.
Northern Issue, in 1935, began to advertise toilet paper that was ‘splinter free’. Up until this point, it was common to have splinters in toilet roll, due to the production techniques used. St. Andrew’s Paper Mill, in the UK, launched 2-ply paper in 1942. [VintageNews]
When I first went to work at Bell Labs in 1973, we did not have rolls of toilet paper. We had skinny versions of folded paper towel dispensers. Fortunately, the paper was not as rough as paper towels, but it was not as soft as the paper on rolls. It was a common complaint concerning the building's facilities. After a few years, they did replace the folded sheets of toilet paper with rolls of toilet paper. Now I see some fast food restaurants have dispensers that hold rolls that are about a foot in diameter. That reduces the number of "almost empty" rolls that the janitorial staff has to deal with.
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