There are many things that make life so much better, things we give no thought to, that we take for granted. But, oh, how we would miss them if they were suddenly gone from our life.
One of these necessities is toilet paper. We in the United States could not imagine getting along without our daily quota. Of course there are places in the world that do no share our use. For one thing, you need a lot of trees to service a population. And you need a sanitation system capable of taking care of disposal of same.
There is mention of toilet paper use in China as far back as the 6th century, and in the 13th century the royal family would use paper bought in sizes of 2' x 3' sheets. Where does Joseph Gayetty figure into the history of this product? In 1857 he was the first to commercialize the sale of packages of toilet paper. His papers were moistened with aloe and sold as "Gayetty's Medicated Papers," and advertised for use with hemorrhoids. He had his name printed on each sheet in the package.
The product did not make him a lot of money. In fact, many saw it as a failure, although it continued to sell until about 1920.
By the 1880's the paper was produced as a continuous sheet of perforated paper wrapped around a paper core. The Scott Company got into the business about that time, but they were embarrassed to put their name on the product. That would change as the product came into wider use.
In 1973 Johnny Carson mentioned toilet paper in a monologue, and I'm sure it made the manufacturers very happy. If I remember correctly, it had something to do with California falling off into the ocean and if that happened you wouldn't be able to get the product. The next day buyers went into a frenzy and bought large quantities to hoard "just in case." The price of the product went up as shortages appeared, and it never dropped back to the level it had been before. By the way, Carson did apologize for this joke.
In 1999 Japan came up with the Paperless Toilet. I remember seeing it on several television programs at the time, but have heard nothing about it since. This apparatus would wash and rinse your bottom after you completed your action, then would use a heating element to dry you off. That sounds not only sanitary, but comfortable as well. Of course, it probably would be an expensive addition to the home as well. Oh, but wouldn't it be wonderful to try? Especially if you had solar energy and didn't have to worry about the cost of operating the system.
Yes there have been some changes since Gayetty's time, but I do thank him for putting us on the path to indoor plumbing and comfort in our daily necessities. He is indeed a man to admire.