After pitting loved ones and enemies alike against each other for what feels like all of human existence, it seems we may finally have a definitive winner in the “over vs. under” toilet paper draping debate.
Though there are still likely to be those who remain loyal to the “under” side of the line, as writer Owen Williams points out on Twitter, Seth Wheeler’s original patent for his perforated toilet paper invention in 1891 shows the paper in an “over” position, indicating that that is how it’s meant to be used.
Indeed, another drawing from the Google patents database shows the paper on the outside of the roll as well:
Wheeler’s Albany Perforated Wrapping Paper Company was the first in the world to make perforated toilet paper, originally patenting that idea in 1871 (PDF) before the 1891 patent added the roll aspect.
And it seems even back then, Wheeler knew people would be prone to using too much paper in the john.
“In carrying out my invention the sheets of paper are only partially separated, having their points of attachment arranged in a novel manner, whereby each sheet will easily separate from the series as it is drawn from the roll, there being no litter occasioned, and any waste of paper is thereby prevented,” he wrote in the patent.