It is a debate that has raged for longer than it should have. It is a debate that has sometimes separated friends. It is a debate that has caused friction in many offices. It is a debate that could get you expelled from the paper isle at your favorite store. Should the toilet paper roll be placed with the paper going over the roll or under the roll? There is a correct answer and I have the proof to back it up.

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First, some history. There was an inventor who lived in the United States in the 1800's to early 1900's by the name of Seth Wheeler. He had a prominent company called Albany Perforated Wrapping Paper Company. One of his greatest inventions was adding a perforation to wrapping paper to make it easier to tear where needed. This invention moved into the making of toilet paper.

Seth Wheeler also created the fixtures needed to dispense toilet paper like we see today in our own bathrooms. As is needed with inventions, a patent needs to be acquired to make sure no one else takes the idea for their own and lose out on making money from the idea. This leads into Wheeler's patent for the toilet paper roll. See below.

As you can see, according to the Seth Wheeler's official patent from 1891, the toilet paper roll should be placed with the toilet paper over the roll, not under. There is even a psychology to people who place their toilet paper over or under.

According to, Dr. Gilda Carle surveyed 2,000 men and women between the ages of 18 and 75. Her report showed that people who placed the toilet paper over the roll had a more dominant personality. Those who placed toilet paper under the roll had a more submissive personality. There was even a small percentage who would switch the toilet paper roll if it was under to over no matter where they were.

Personally, before I even knew any of this information, I placed the toilet paper over the roll. It seemed to be the correct and, as Spock would say, the most logical position. I even created a bit of a feud amongst my co workers a couple of years ago by suggesting they get written up or pay get docked for placing the toilet paper roll like this:

The "feud" was worth it and created a spirited conversation in the hallways.

There you have it, friends, the true answer to the debate of if the toilet paper roll should be placed over or under the roll, it's over and that's the law.

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