Toilet paper holders are often an afterthought in bathroom design and remodelling projects. We know we need one but it seems so insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Today, however, the toilet paper holder gains some long deserved respect from the Shop 4 Classics Old House Blog.
To gain some appreciation for the toilet paper holder we should consider life prior to toilet paper. Ancient civilizations substituted organic materials such as grass, straw, or leaves in place of toilet paper. One could argue that these folks were simply early adapters of today's "green" movement. Ancient Romans preferred a salt water soaked sponge attached to the end of a stick to tidy up after conducting their business. In Mideastern cultures, a little water and the left hand served the purpose (perhaps inspiring the "fist bump" greeting popularized by Howie Mandel). Early Americans used corn cobs or pages from Sears Roebuck or Montgomery Ward catalogs. Today, unfortunately, you could use stock certificates from either of those two companies but I digress.
Paper specifically designed for use as toilet paper dates back to 14th Century China but it was not until 1857 that toilet paper was first packaged and sold in the US. Introduced by Joseph Gayette, this early toilet paper was made from hemp. Toilet paper is no longer made of hemp so ne'er-do-wells should not try smoking it. Like the toilet paper from 14th Century China, Mr. Gayette's hemp-infused toilet paper was sold in sheets. It was stored in a box near the toilet which means that the first toilet paper holder was a box. By the 1880's, toilet paper had advanced to the rolled and perforated paper that we are familiar with today. Simultaneously, toilet paper holders were designed to accommodate the new rolled tissue.
Toilet paper holders are usually installed about 26" above the finished floor. They should be placed within reach of a person seated on the toilet, approximately 6" in front of the toilet bowl. Freestanding pedestal toilet paper holders can be used in bathrooms where a wall mounted toilet paper holder might be inconvenient. One final installation note, surveys indicate that nearly 70% of Americans agree that toilet paper should be installed on the paper holder with paper coming over the top of the roll, not from underneath.
Today, the average American uses nearly 21,000 sheets of toilet paper each year. That statistic alone suggests that the toilet paper holder is a rather indispensable dispenser of toilet paper.
Shop 4 Classics offers a complete collection of bath accessories including toilet paper holders. Our bath accessory series allow you to match towel bars, robe hooks, soap dishes and toothbrush holders, toilet paper holders, and other bath accessories for a coordinated look. Pedestal toilet paper holders are also available in a variety of popular finishes. Appreciate the toilet paper holder and the next time you reach for toilet paper, thank the Chinese it isn't a corn cob!