‘Inventor’ of toilet paper weighs in on ‘over vs. under’ debate via 1891 patent

early toilet paper patent seen as evidence in over vs under debate tp
A couple years ago, the creator of the GIF, Steve Wilhite, declared his creation is pronounced with a soft “G,” as in jif. It will still be a cold day in hell before many of us let go of the hard “G,” but we suppose it’s only right to take an inventor’s intentions into consideration.

At least, that seems to be the thinking in regard to a picture that recently surfaced on Twitter, thanks to Next Web writer Owen Williams. The so-called “inventor” of toilet paper (though it actually dates back to the fifth or sixth century China) seems to come down hard on the debate over which is the correct way to hang TP over the roll. The drawing comes from a century-old patent titled “Wrapping or toilet paper roll,” filed by inventor Seth Wheeler in 1891.

“Be it known that I, SETH WHEELER, of the city and county of Albany, and State of New York, have invented certain new and useful Improvements in Wrapping or Toilet Paper Rolls; and I do hereby declare that the following is a full, clear, and exact description thereof, reference being had to the accompanying drawings, forming a part of this specification,” he writes in the patent.

Those accompanying drawings do clearly illustrate six different figures, all with the paper hanging over the roll. Since Wheeler was awarded the first patent for TP, the argument seems to be that he should have the final say over how to hang toilet paper.

Toilet Paper Patent 1894However, like many people who have never considered the question of over versus under, Wheeler may not have actually had a definitive stance on the subject. His 1894 patent for a roll of toilet paper “composed of a plurality of individual rolls united so as to revolve simultaneously” clearly shows three rolls all in the “under” configuration.

“It is arrogant to pretend that from our vantage we can gauge accurately the intent of the framers on application of principle to specific, contemporary questions,” former Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan Jr. once said. Yes, he was talking about the Constitution, but perhaps there’s a lesson here for modern-day arguments about toilet paper, too.

Home Theater

Leave the charger behind: Wireless headphones will get epic battery life in 2019

From wireless in-ears to noise-canceling over-ears, virtually every headphone manufacturer has seriously improved wireless headphone battery capacity, making fears about charging up for long listening sessions a thing of the past.
Gaming

‘Mortal Kombat 11’ is even gorier and crazier than we expected

NetherRealm Studios unveiled Mortal Kombat 11 on January 17 and the game looks to be just as gory and over the top as fans have come to expect. Former MMA fighter Ronda Rousey will appear as Sonya Blade.
Emerging Tech

Forget fireworks. Japan will soon have artificial meteor showers on tap

Tokyo-based startup Astro Live Experiences is preparing to launch its first artificial meteor shower over Japan, serving as a showcase of its prowess in the space entertainment sector.
Emerging Tech

Drones: New rules could soon allow flights over people and at night

With commercial operators in mind, the U.S. government is looking to loosen restrictions on drone flights with a set of proposals that would allow the machines greater freedom to fly over populated areas and also at night.
Smart Home

Ring security camera catches man licking the doorbell for hours

A family in Salinas, California had their Ring camera capture something pretty unexpected: a man licking the doorbell outside of their home for more than three hours. The incident took place around 5:00 a.m.
Smart Home

GHSP makes a (back)splash with its touchscreen concept kitchen

One of the coolest concept kitchens from CES 2019 came from GHSP. It created a backsplash entirely made of touchscreens. That means the control panel for your kitchen is accessible no matter where you are.
Health & Fitness

In search of the fountain of youth, beauty companies turn to tech

Beauty tech is a fairly new concept, but at CES 2019, companies such as Olay, L’Oreal, and Neutrogena were fully embracing it with all kinds of gadgets that promise to give you glowing skin.
Product Review

Kwikset Kevo Contemporary review

Tired of carrying around keys? Make keyless entry so easy that all you have to do is have your phone nearby to open the door. It’s a little pricey, but sleek lines and simple features make the Kwikset Kevo Contemporary a great choice for…
Smart Home

Airbnb says sorry to guest for how it dealt with undisclosed security camera

An Airbnb guest recently found a surveillance camera in his rental apartment that hadn't been properly disclosed in the listing. The firm admits its initial response to the guest's complaint was poor, but has since made amends.
Smart Home

Thinking of buying an Instant Pot? Here's what you need to know

The Instant Pot is a powerful kitchen appliance that does everything from pressure cook to to slow cook to steam. Heck, you can even make yogurt in it. Here's all you need to know about the magic device.
Smart Home

Want a smarter home? Ditch the keys with these great smart locks

A good smart lock should offer a combination of security and convenience. Fortunately, these devices keep your home protected, your family safe, and your belongings secure from possible intruders.
Smart Home

The best sous vide machines cook your food perfectly, every single time

Want to make four-star meals from the comforts of your own kitchen? Here are the best sous vide machines available right now, whether you prefer simple immersion circulators or something more complex.
Smart Home

Busted: Facebook Portal gets 5-star reviews from company employees

It's fair to say that Facebook's Portal smart display received a tepid response at launch, so it was something of a surprise to see lots of glowing reviews of the device on Amazon. Turns out some were written by Facebook workers.
Smart Home

Idaho mother says her child’s light-up sippy cup exploded

After a mother filled a Nuby insulated light-up cup with milk, the cup allegedly exploded. The incident caused burns to the mother's hand and face and a stinging sensation in her lungs that required a trip to the hospital.