This Is How You Should Hang Your Toilet Paper Roll According To The Original Patent


Dr. Alfredo Carpineti

Senior Staff Writer & Space Correspondent

clockApr 30 2021, 17:04 UTC
Toilet paper Image Credit: Lazy_Bear/

Are you an Under or an Over? Image Credit: Lazy_Bear/

Even the seemingly mundane can inspire polarizing discussion, and while the more serious can be unpleasant and harmful, it’s often the pettiest that prove to be hilarious. Among our favorites (featuring a topical product from the events of last year) is the enduring “Over vs. Under” toilet roll debate.

The debate is so notorious that it is actually seen as a problem for married couples, earning its own Wikipedia page which claims the argument even made it to Antarctica where researchers argued over the proper etiquette.


Both sides of this great schism among humans have valid points. In the Over camp, there’s the fact that it tends to be more hygienic to hang this way. In the Under, there’s tidiness and the practical fact that it makes it harder for toddlers and pets to unravel the roll.

We doubt that there is a way to change the hearts and minds of either camp, but at least on one side we can bask in the smugness of knowing it adheres to the products original design as detailed by the toilet paper patent. The winner? Team Over.

Perforated toiler paper patent
The perforated toilet paper patent from 1891. Image Credit: Public Domain via Google Patent

In 1857, Joseph C. Gayetty invented the first packaged toilet paper in the US but it was Seth Wheeler that filed a patent for perforated toilet paper first in 1871 and then again in 1891. As the diagram shows, the paper in the patent is clearly in a position that favors the Over configuration.

There, now you know how toilet paper was designed and intended to be used, but we doubt it will bring you much success in convincing Team Under that the war has been won.