How toilet paper became a thing.

Toilet paper Screen Shot 2020-04-04 at 11.18.17 AM

Since many of us are staying home, we’re doing a lot of online reading. Some of it is absolute junk, but there also are many sources for not just medical information in this trying time, but what’s going on in our nation, with disorganization, dithering, and greed that can ruin us.

History is sometimes more engrossing, and today I read the most recent post I received from National Geographic. The magazine online is covering a lot of the information about COVID-19 and its impact.  But when I opened up this post, there was an image of a  roll of toilet paper.

It’s something we use, unless you have a bidet, which is a great invention.  Usually we do not talk about toilet habits because it is a private thing. But privacy be damned: Stories began to spread about people hoarding toilet paper.  Fear and anxiety can do really strange things to people.

For those of us who gravitate to wanting to know the history of many things, this seemed intriguing. The headline was “What did people do before toilet paper?” Because people are ingenious, they found ways to clean things up, though some ideas seem somewhat painful. (And because people are ingenious, they are posting all sorts of ways to make a face masks that we are being asked to wear at this time.)

The story covers a lot of years and a lot of countries, but the key sentence is this: “By 1393, rice-based toilet paper was mass-produced for the Chinese imperial family. In contrast, it took until 1857 for the Western world to get its first mass-produced toilet paper.” Good to remember, when I’m looking for some in a grocery store.

The link is below.

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