Monday, July 17, 2017

Scott Brothers of Massachusetts

We don't think about it but we should be grateful everyday to the Scott Brothers of Watertown, Massachusetts, who invented the toilet paper in the 19th century!

Since people were embarrassed to buy it, the Scott Brothers thought they had a dud invention on their hands until they had the brilliant idea to give it freely to hotels. Hotels agreed because they were fed up with their small pipes being clogged all the time. Until then, people used corn husks and newspapers which clogged the small sewer pipes. Customers loved the toilet paper for that very reason too and began buying it. And the rest is history.
A more modern outhouse in Romania
Photo: Ziarul Prejmereanul
In Romania's outhouses, we used corn husks and communist party propaganda newspapers because we did not have Sears and Roebucks catalogs or any catalogs for that matter. Once in a while a German tourist would leave behind one of their catalogs and we enjoyed looking at the abundance of everything we did not have, so we never used those for toilet paper. We especially enjoyed wiping with pages which had the dictator Ceausescu's face on them.

Communist Romania toilet paper I brought back from my 1985 visit
Later on, when toilet paper was finally made, it was coarse light brown paper with wood chips still embedded in the paper, or, if white, it had faintly visible words on it from the books which were recycled into toilet paper, including American Bibles donated during disaster reliefs. I still have a strip of more modern pink toilet paper, less coarse but wood chips are still visible in the paper. This strip dates from four years ago. Progress after communism is very slow.

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