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124-year-old patent shows proper way to use toilet paper

The "over or under" debate is over.

Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee debate over toilet paper on TODAY.


In case you’re still having the never-ending conversation about how toilet paper is supposed to be used, then this diagram should solve the debate.

An 1891 patent submitted by New York businessman Seth Wheeler shows the toilet paper resting on the outside of the roll, or what people consider the “over” position.

Tech writer Owen Williams discovered this patent and posted Wheeler’s patent to Twitter on Monday. The diagram clearly shows the toilet paper resting on the top part of the roll – the way Mr. Wheeler envisioned it to be. The date of the patent reads: December 22, 1891.

Wheeler is also the reason why toilet paper is perforated. According to a patent dating back to 1871, his company,Albany Perforated Wrapping Paper Companycreated a similar roll with perforations and it was called “wrapping paper” - an early name for toilet paper.

Wheeler’s 1871 patent reads:

"My invention ... consists in a roll of wrapping paper with perforations on the line of the division between one sheet and the next, so as to be easily torn apart, such roll of wrapping paper forming a new article of manufacture."

It seems like Mr. Wheeler’s intentions were to have the paper come off the roll on top and not from underneath, so if you ever get into this highly important debate, be sure to whip out his patent and let everyone know how it was meant to be.

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