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Evolution of Toilet Paper- Who Invented Toilet Paper? & What Came Before?

Toilet paper is something that people usually used to take for granted. However, the Covid19 pandemic made them realise the importance of toilet rolls. Time was such that people even regretted their decisions of investing in gold rather than a sustainably sourced toilet paper roll! 

According to The Business Research Company, the toilet paper market all around the world is expected to reach $27.08 billion in 2025 at a CAGR of 6%! Well, that's a fact about how much people are using toilet paper in the present times. But, What did they use for toilet paper before it was invented? or How has toilet paper changed over time? or Who invented toilet paper roll? Uncountable question about toilet paper but less time!

If you are all about searching for the answers to the above-mentioned questions, this blog is for you! This blog will cover the evolution of toilet paper and how much it has impacted everyone's life.

Let's get things started!

Who Invented Toilet Paper Roll?

  • Toilet paper was first originated in China in the 2nd century B.C. However, only to be used for cleaning purposes from the 6th century in medieval China. 
  • The information was mentioned and discovered by a Chinese scholar named Yen Chih-Thui.
  • The uses of toilet paper grew so fast that by the early 14th century, the manufacturing companies were producing toilet paper at the rate of 10 million packages of 1,000 to 10,000 sheets annually! 
  • Furthermore, a new addition of new perfumed sheets was also manufactured, only for the Hongwu Emperor’s imperial family. By the time the 15th century rolled in, toilet papers were available everywhere. 
  • That's all about the Asian world, but what about the western parts of the world? In the western world, toilet papers didn't originate until 1857. All thanks to Joseph Gayetty. A New York-based entrepreneur named Joseph Gayetty marketed a "Medicated Paper" and sold them in packages of 500 sheets for 50 cents. 
  • And before anyone knew it, toilet paper became a huge hit in American markets! Each of the toilet sheets was infused with aloe which is used for various medical treatment.

After more than two decades, toilet paper was available in perforated rolls. That's the evolution of toilet paper!

What Did People Use Before The Invention of Toilet Paper?

Regardless of whether it's the 13th century or the 21st century, people have to clean themselves and maintain appropriate hygiene. Here are some of the different ways people used to clean themselves before the invention of toilet paper.

Ancient Rome

  • Citizens of ancient Rome became used to public bathrooms, all thanks to the similar resemblance of modern toilets and outhouses. 
  • Opposed to the 21st century, citizens of ancient Rome didn't use to clean themselves with toilet paper. Instead, they used to utilise a tersorium. Tersorium is a sponge skewered on the end of a stick. 
  • Just like how toilet paper rolls located next to the toilet, tersoria was also placed in the same position. Once completing their business, people use to wipe themselves with it. However, the only problem was individual hygiene. 
  • Tersorium was used by multiple people at the same time, which is one the least hygienic way to clean down there.

The Middle Age

The year 1440 was when the printing press was invented. The invention of the printing press allowed mass production and distribution of books, pamphlets, and anything related to the printing material. Since printed papers were available in abundance, people used to rip one of the pages and clean themselves with it.

In Farms

Since farms are located miles away from any town, early farmers used to become quite creative with using an alternative to toilet paper. One of the most popular ways early farmers used to clean themselves was using a corncob. Yes, you heard it right! They used to strip off all the kernels from the corncob and wipe themselves after using the bathroom. In some regions, people still do use corn cobs to clean themselves!

How Has Toilet Paper Changed Over Time?

Over the centuries, there has been an exponential growth of toilet paper. To this date, toilet paper is still evolving and coming out with different varieties in the market. There are some visible drastic changes in terms of the toilet paper manufacturing process. The 21st-century toilet paper is soft and fluffy rolls of goodness. From rice-based imperial toilet tissue to perfumed sheets, from aloe-infused hemp toilet paper to toilet rolls, from 3 ply toilet paper to bamboo toilet paper, the evolution of bulk toilet paper is unmatched!

Bog Rolls is the live example of such change. We are one of the best toilet paper manufacturers in Australia who provide 100% sustainably sourced toilet papers. We manufacture premium quality toilet paper in Sydney, that is eco-friendly and durable. Buy your Bog Roll today!