National Toilet Paper Day
annually on August 26th
When asked what they would most want on a deserted island, almost half of all people choose toilet paper. Maybe that gives us a clue as to why there is a National Toilet Paper Day. It is one of those things we sometimes take for granted, until we can't find any. It wasn't always around though. Rich people used to wipe or clean themselves with wool, lace, or hemp, but common folk used things such as leaves, grass, seashells, corncobs, sponges on a stick, water, stones, hay, and yes, the smooth edges of broken pottery jugs. The first mention of paper being used for cleaning oneself is in China in the 6th century A.D. It was also in China, in the 14th century, that a form of toilet paper began being produced on a large scale. Commercial toilet paper as we think of it today was invented by Joseph Gayetty, and hit the market in 1857. This toilet paper was sold in flat sheet packages, and was available until the 1920's. Meanwhile, Seth Wheeler patented rolled toilet paper in 1883, and an improved version of it in 1891. Nowadays, close to 30,000 trees are used every day to make toilet paper, with an average tree producing 100 pounds. Americans love their toilet paper, using almost double the amount of other Western countries per person. This partly can be attributed to the use of bidets in some Western countries. Americans now like their toilet paper plain though. Starting in the 1960's, toilet paper was sometimes colored to match the hue of bathrooms. Pink and green rolls were very common. By the early 2000's colored toilet paper stopped being made in the United States, but it is still made in other parts of the world.
How to Observe
Celebrate the day by going to the bathroom and using toilet paper! If you are feeling creative try your hand at some toilegami. If you are feeling a little mischievous, you could go TP-ing. There is a constant debate on how to hang toilet paper on a roll. Should the part that is torn off hang under or over the roll? In past polls, "over" has a slight advantage, but the debate rolls on. You could take your own poll with coworkers and friends. You could also pay attention to how the roll is oriented in the bathrooms you visit today. Visit a store and check out all the types of toilet paper they have. There probably is everything from cheap one to two ply sheet paper, to four or more ply sheeted premium toilet paper. This is an excellent day to treat yourself to a package of the best toilet paper you can find. If you want to read up more on toilet paper you can check out the Toilet Paper Encyclopedia.