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Let’s Talk Toilet Paper

     I now know why most of us entering the supermarket head directly to the toilet paper and paper towel aisle only to find empty shelves that leave us devastated. It is the most important item on our list today. Toilet paper is important and history proves it. For instance China's Ming Dynasty used perfumed toilet paper for the members of the Chinese Emperor’s family in 1391. These scented sheets measured two feet by three feet; - I could make a comment but I won't.
     Not too long ago after centuries of using water, rags, newspapers, leaves, corn cobs (ouch), animal furs not to mention sponges used by ancient Romans which makes me think what did Cleopatra (born October 1, 69 BC) and Marc Antony (born January 14, 83 BC) use?
     Relief was on its way in 1857 by Joseph Gayetty, a businessman and inventor living in New York City.
     Gayetty's toilet paper was made of pure manila hemp paper and each sheet was watermarked as “J. C. Gayetty New York”. Imagine having your company name on toilet paper. A smart marketing move, don't you think? He marketed his toilet paper for medical purposes as it contained aloe and was advertised as an anti-hemorrhoid product. However, the advertising aside, it was unsuccessful.
     It was reported that people in Victorian times were embarrassed to be seen purchasing toilet paper, an unmentionable, due to its purpose. The country was upgrading by 1880s as many homes, hotels and restaurants were installing full-service, indoor plumbing for sinks, showers and toilette.
     In Boston, the Tremont House boasted of being the first hotel to offer guests convenient indoor flush toilets. The timing could not have been better for brothers Edward and Clarence Scott. When the Scotts were living in Philadelphia with a startup paper company business, they saw the need for toilet paper and began production.
     They produced large five-hundred sheet packages that came in small rolls. A huge success, each roll bore the slogan “soft as old linen.”
     I think we will all agree there is nothing like a Charmin or Angel Soft and will never take for granted toilet paper again. As of this writing we are saying,“Where is the beef”? Yes we are all in this together.
Nancy LeMay, Groton
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