Sunday, April 22, 2012

1890 - A Good Year That!

Objects we use every day—and I assure you that we all do use this object, every day, 366 days in a leap year like 2012—just don’t get the respect that they deserve. In fact you’d have to be at least 127 years of age to remember what it was like in the good old days before toilet paper came in rolls. By chance and circumstance I discovered today how it used to be. Scott Paper introduced the toilet paper roll in 1890. Bless them—and bless the year!

Before that time? Well, toilet paper came in boxes. They were square and coarse sheets of rather dark paper. The Chinese were the first to use paper, and records going back to 589 attest to the fact. The less civilized or economically more backward reaches of the globe had recourse to leaves and grass and ferns and such. Am I glad that I got to live in modern times? Oh, yes. I didn’t know this in 1990—or I’d have celebrated the centennial. And if I should live to see 2090, I’d certain observe the bi-centennial of the roll—but while life expectancy is increasing, I don’t think it will carry me to my 154th birthday. And who knows. By that time—energy shortages and so forth—we may be back to reaching into precious and fiercely guarded black garbage bags to get a handful of leaves saved from last fall. 

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