The Original Patent to Toilet Paper Reveals What Is the Correct Way to Hang It

August 5, 2019 Updated: August 11, 2019

In one of the finest first-world-problem debates of all time, people have long argued over the correct way to hang toilet paper rolls. And it really gets people fired up! Whoever knew toilet paper could be so divisive.

But ask your friends; ask your family. People tend to pick a side. Are you an “over” or an “under” kind of person?

Illustration – Shutterstock | Ihar Krents

Well, you may be surprised (or even relieved) to learn that there is a correct way to do it. Some of you may already know that the subject already has its own page on Wikipedia, because the debate is just that universal.

Wikipedia bolsters the argument for “over” by citing the risk of germ transference, that it’s easier, and it’s better-looking. “Under,” on the other hand, is tidier, and harder for a pet to unravel.

Illustration – Shutterstock | olmarmar

Remain unconvinced? That’s okay, because we can do better than that! Thanks to an official patent for perforated toilet paper dating all the way back to 1891, we finally have our definitive answer. Half of you are about to be extremely gratified, and half of you are about to be sorely disappointed.

The inventor of tearable toilet paper, Seth Wheeler, illustrated his life-changing creation showing the paper going up and over the roll. Take a look at Wheeler’s original toilet paper patent, and see for yourself.

©Seth Wheeler

So there you have it! Those images spring directly from the knowledgeable pen of Seth Wheeler himself. Rightly and properly, it’s over. Not under. Over! Sit down, if you’re feeling queasy; it’s a lot to take in.

“Since the advent of rolls of paper,” Wheeler explained in his patent, as quoted by Business Insider, “many devices designed to prevent waste have been patented, but all effort in this direction has been apart from the roll of paper.”

©Seth Wheeler

“Namely,” the eloquent inventor continued, “in the construction of holders for the rolls provided, with means to prevent free unwinding of the roll, and cause the sheets to separate singly at their connecting points. My improved roll,” he stated, “may be used on the simplest holders.”

Illustration – Shutterstock | Khosro

Over the decades (yes, this heated debate really has been going on that long!), some pretty famous names have become embroiled in the “over-versus-under” conflict. One of them was everybody’s favorite talk show veteran, Oprah Winfrey. On her TV talk show in the 1980s, Oprah sated her audience by delivering her definitive verdict: “Let me say that I, Oprah Winfrey, am an over girl myself,” she revealed.

“I prefer it over,” she continued, to wild applause, “because it tears so readily!” Team Under, incidentally, represented only 32 percent of the audience.

Of course, you can do whatever you like with your toilet paper at home. But do it in the knowledge that there is a right way. You may exercise your freedom, but be cautious; you might just find yourself in a minor bathroom brawl from time to time if you choose the wrong side!

If you’re Team Over, however, then you’re winning; the inventor of toilet paper himself is always and forever fighting your corner.