Toilet Paper. One Of Life’s Greatest Mysteries.


Guantanamo Bay toilet paper

When you have a demented brain such as mine, every so often your mind wanders off into areas of thought that most normal people do not venture into. Like, who the hell invented toilet paper and WTF did they do before toilet paper was invented?

The only reason I thought of this was because I ran out of reading material in the bathroom yesterday so I had to sit there, let nature take its course, and ponder various blog subjects while staring at the toilet paper roll.

I know, you think I’m borderline nuts. But, before you call ME a nut, consider this. Have you EVER, when lying on a cot in a hospital or doctor’s office waiting to be examined counted the number of holes in ceiling tiles?

See what I mean. So who ya callin’ a nut bozo.tp1

So anyhow, I figured I’d look into this toilet paper mystery for all of you. You can never have enough knowledge ya know. Besides, think of what a great conversation topic this would make at your next party. Especially if most of your friends think you’re a nut job anyhow.

So here’s the poop….so to speak.

First of all that most important of burning questions. What did people use before toilet paper? And did they have any social life before toilet paper was invented?



My in-depth research has found that before toilet paper was invented people used a variety of items. (vacuum cleaners were not invented back then so that was NOT one of the items)

Ancient Greeks used stones and pieces of clay. Which most likely explains why archeologists digging up ancient Greek fossils are far and few in between. NOBODY wants to touch those old stinky stones and pieces of clay Yuck!

Ancient Romans, on the other hand, used sponges on the ends of sticks which were kept in jugs of salty water. Hence the term, “Hey Claudius ya jerk, stick this up yer butt!”


No problem my Lord….toilet paper

The very first documented use, or at least mention of toilet paper, was referenced back in China in the 6th century AD. In 589 the scholar-official Yan Zhitui wrote about the use of toilet paper saying, “Ah So…I hafta go.”

Not really….what he actually said was, “Paper on which there are quotations or commentaries from the “Five Classics” or the names of sages, I dare not use for toilet purposes.”

Which I assume means that the only paper around to use for toilet purposes was paper that classic Chinese proverbs or something were written on. Damn! No wonder Confucius was confused. Which led him to bang out a lot of those “Confucius Says” sayings. Like…….


Confucius spent a lot of time in the bathroom

Official toilet paper dates back to the late 14th century when Chinese emperors ordered it in  2-foot by 3-foot sheets. Which may also explain where the term “fat ass” originated from. (something I now do not have to research)

Meanwhile, out in the old west, cowpokes poked their butts after doing their toilet thing with corn cobs as well as pages torn from newspapers and magazines. Sears Roebuck company would be proud to know that ol Tex used pages from their catalogues as well. Which prompted the old humorous spinoff, the “Rears and Sorebutt” catalogue.

Not not be outdone, “The Farmer’s Almanac” had a hole in it so it could be hung on a hook and pages torn off easily.

“Hey Festus…what’s the forecast fer tomorrow?”

“Geez Cletus, I dunno. But as fer as I can tell looks like the picture I got here shows a lot of brown grass so it may be a hot one.”


Damn! What to do?     Honeeeee….can ya hand me that Fingerhut catalog!

The very first packaged toilet paper was produced by Joseph C. Gayetty of New York in 1857.  It consisted of pre-moistened flat sheets medicated with aloe and was named, “Gayetty’s Medicated Paper.” His name was printed on every sheet.

Which raises the burning question: Would you then consider Gayetty an asswipe?

The very first “roll” of toilet paper was attributed to the “Scott Paper Company” around 1879 or 1890. However, unlike Gayetty who was proud to have his name on paper that eventually would end up on people’s butts, the Scott Company was too embarrassed to put their name on their product as they considered the concept of toilet paper a sensitive subject.


Hmmm. Maybe Microsoft or Apple will have second thoughts about putting their names on the “iRoll.” too

Scott’s logic is completely understandable. I for one would not want my name on a sheet of toilet paper that’s gonna wind up on someones butt. And, considering the number of famous people whose names are “Scott,” it WOULD be embarrassing.

Randolph Scott, George Scott, Scott Baio, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Scott Joplin and Scott Peterson.

Um….well maybe that last one, Scott Peterson, which might be rather appropriate considering he was convicted of murdering his wife.

The 16th century French satirical writer Frank…um….sorry, that should be, “Francois Rabelais” in a novel that he wrote entitled, “Gargantua and Pantagruel,” (most likely about gigantic poops) has his character “Gargantua” investigate a great number of ways of cleansing oneself after defecating. (pooping)

Gargantua dismisses the use of paper as ineffective, rhyming that: Who has the foul tail with paper wipes, Shall at his ballocks leave some chips.”

Which, I think, means that if you eat potato chips while pooping you will leave a trail and people will call you foul for leaving a trail of potato chip crumbs. My guess anyhow.

Not to mention the ant factor too.


Actually Sen. Larry Craig in disguise on Halloween

In India for instance, people figure there’s a better way of cleansing. Such as using water from a bidet, a lota, rags, sand, leaves, (including seaweed) corn cobs, (note…..when making a corn cob wreath for Halloween never buy any of them from some Indian guy) and also using animal furs, sticks or even hands.

(Second note: never shake hands with someone from India who does not have a  toilet with a toilet paper roll dispenser)

(Note to myself: Insert disgusting corn cartoon here because I found an excuse to insert it in here by mentioning corn cobs)corn

One final note on toilet paper. Twenty-six billion rolls of toilet paper, worth about $2.4 billion dollars, are sold yearly in America alone. Americans use an average of 23.6 rolls per capita a year.

Which basically means it’s ok to shake hands with any American, buy a corn cob from an American farmer, but…be veerrrry careful if some Indian guy is selling you corn cobs for your Autumn wreath at a roadside stand.

For the record, Indians in India DO wash their hands after pooping if they don’t have anything like corn cobs or toilet paper immediately available.

If that’s any comfort.

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Copyright 2013 MisfitWisdom 2013


Sources: “Wikipedia,” “”

About misfit120

Former disc jockey, (Dick Jones) 30 years, and author of, "I Could Have Been Famous But Sex, Love & Life Got In The Way" available at books, & Kindle, "The Covert Chamber" a mystery novel available at and Barnes & Noble, and "Forgotten" the story of two WWI pilots who were forgotten for over 70 years available on and Kindle
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4 Responses to Toilet Paper. One Of Life’s Greatest Mysteries.

  1. Charlie says:

    According to the National Kitchen and Bath Association’s (NKBA) bathroom planning guidelines, the optimal height for toilet paper holders is 26 inches from the floor.
    The NKBA recommends placing the toilet paper holder 8 to 12 inches from the outer edge of the toilet’s seat, slightly in front of the seat, either to the left or the right. The main purpose of this guideline is so the person seated on the toilet can reach the paper easily without turning backward or leaning forward too much.
    Although the NKBA has taken the time to come up with a professional guidelines for hanging toilet paper holders, the guidelines are by no means set in stone.
    You are right, You can never have enough knowledge …ya know.

    • misfit120 says:

      You obviously have waaaaay too much time on your hands as I do Charles

      Click here for my daily blog.


  2. in2indigo says:

    loved the shit in corn


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