#159 Over & Under

#159 Over & Under
#159 Over & Under
Click image to view full size or download poster for gallery-​quality printing & framing.
This is a high-​resolution pdf & may take a few minutes to download.Find printing tips & framing ideas here.

Do you prefer over? Or under? Over & under are both popular — but which is correct?

The cor­rect way to install toi­let paper is over, accord­ing to the patent draw­ing from 1891. (I like the lit­tle hands.)


Toilet paper patent drawing
Patent draw­ing for toi­let paper or wrap­ping paper roll, 1891. Hope they grab the right roll to wrap my gift.

The history of toilet paper

This is an excerpt from a web­site devot­ed to the his­to­ry of toi­let paper (if you can believe that). Read the entire sto­ry at their website:


The first “offi­cial” toi­let paper was intro­duced in Chi­na in 1391, but the first men­tion of toi­let paper (paper for per­son­al hygiene) dates back to the year 589 AD in Korea. Between 875 & 1317 AD, paper was pro­duced in large sheets (2‑foot x 3‑foot sheets & even per­fumed) for Chi­nese emperor’s fam­i­ly hygiene.

In the Colo­nial Amer­i­ca, the com­mon means was corncobs.

Paper was a rare com­mod­i­ty until the 17th or 18th cen­turies. The first ref­er­ence to paper as toi­let paper was record­ed in 1718. After inven­tion of paper pages from news­pa­pers & mag­a­zines were also com­mon­ly used (news­pa­pers became wide­ly avail­able at 1700s.)

Joseph C. Gayet­ty invent­ed the first pack­aged toi­let paper in the Unit­ed States in 1857. “Gayetty’s Med­icat­ed Paper” was sold in pack­ages of flat sheets, med­icat­ed with aloe & water­marked with his name. Gayety’s toi­let paper was avail­able as late as the 1920’s.

In 1871, Seth Wheel­er (to some sources Zeth Wheel­er) of Albany became the offi­cial “inven­tor” of toi­let paper (on a roll). Seth Wheel­er patents rolled & per­fo­rat­ed wrap­ping paper.

Rolled & per­fo­rat­ed toi­let paper was invent­ed around 1880. In 1879, Thomas Sey­mour, Edward Irvin & Clarence Wood Scott found­ed the Scott Paper Com­pa­ny in Philadel­phia. Scott broth­ers came up with the idea of cus­tomiz­ing rolls for every merchant-​customer they had. They began sell­ing pack­ages of small rolls & stacked sheets. Scott Paper Com­pa­ny began pro­duc­ing toi­let paper under its own brand name in 1896. By 1925 Scott Com­pa­ny became the lead­ing toi­let paper com­pa­ny in the world.

This is just part of the sto­ry. It’s from a web­site ded­i­cat­ed sole­ly to the his­to­ry of toi­let paper! Read the full his­to­ry at toi​let​pa​per​his​to​ry​.net

Still no toilet paper!

I just came back from the super­mar­ket (first time out in two weeks — I’m play­ing it safe) and was amazed to find the shelves still bare of toi­let paper & paper tow­els & hand san­i­tiz­er (& no split peas for my favorite soup using the East­er hambone).

Stores still out but I’m stocked up

While every­one else is won­der­ing if they’ll have to resort to news­pa­per & corn cobs, I have a stock­pile of toi­let paper & paper tow­els in my bath­room cab­i­net. Like a mini Cost­co. No, I did­n’t horde the shelves when the pan­dem­ic start­ed. It has to do with spec­tac­u­lar design & two shock­ing dis­cov­er­ies (one bad, one good). Read on…

I’ve been a loy­al con­sumer of Cot­tonelle for a decade or two. I hate the word Charmin & their stu­pid com­mer­cials. I like the word Cot­tonelle. It sounds French or con­ti­nen­tal or some­thing classy. & I sim­ply like the stuff. But what do I like most? This:


Toilet Paper as Fine Art
Sleek lin­ear design of my favorite toi­let paper, regard­less of whether it feels like cot­ton or a corn­cob. It’s just nice to look at (pri­or to use).

Straight & narrow

Look at that design! No embossed flow­ers, dots or wavy lines, just sleek straight lines that appeal to my lin­ear design taste. Much like Mid-​Century Mod­ern. (How­ev­er back then toi­let paper rolls even came in col­ors: pink & blue & green & yel­low. I liked those. Still pop­u­lar in Europe, but nowhere to be found in the US — except on Ama­zon, but what isn’t?

I like the feel of Cot­tonelle, but it’s the design that arous­es my sens­es. Plain, basic, lin­ear par­al­lel lines, nev­er devi­at­ing from the begin­ning of the roll to the end. Toi­let paper heav­en. The one con­stant in my life (besides get­ting these Amper­Art issues out once a month).

Toilet paper terror

One day, just last year, I pur­chased a pack of Cot­tonelle, & noticed the design had changed. No longer straight lines, they were now wavy. I don’t even have a sam­ple to show you because I will not have flow­ery toi­let paper in my bathroom.

So for sev­er­al months I resort­ed to the cheap­est toi­let paper, because it was the only type that was as plain as pos­si­ble, just flat with no design what­so­ev­er. (I imag­ine a corn cob is soft­er than that stuff.) Took near­ly a whole roll to do what a few sheets of the good stuff can do, but at least I did­n’t have to look at embossed flow­ers & squig­gles. (If there were amper­sands I might con­sid­er that.)

TP Motherload

Last Sep­tem­ber I was in a Wal­greens & noticed a spe­cial on Scott toi­let paper which was not only a good sale price, but reduced even more with my rewards card. $3.25 for a 12-​roll pack is a great price, so I went over to check it out, &

My design is back!

What I found was 12-​packs of toi­let paper that had the same exact design as my for­mer love, Cot­tonelle. But this was Scott. What gives? Who cares? I bought out the store.

Stocked up on TP
Yes, I got some stares wheel­ing all this toi­let paper out to my car.

Did I attract some stares? Yes, but only stares. Today I would be mugged & robbed, right? 

There was a sur­prise wait­ing for me when I got home, though.

Things aren’t always as they appear

I did­n’t just stock up on toi­let paper as I had thought. I had unknow­ing­ly pur­chased rolls of paper tow­els, too, that matched the toi­let paper! Same lin­ear ribs. Thus the pack­ages looked identical.

I had cleaned out that one store, so I rushed to anoth­er Wal­greens & bought out their toi­let paper (dou­ble proof­read­ing the labels first). But I did­n’t return the tow­els because, even though they don’t com­pare to my usu­al Brawny or Boun­ty in per­for­mance, they match my toi­let paper.

One brand’s trash is another brand’s treasure

I was curi­ous how the Cot­tonelle pat­tern got on a com­peti­tor’s prod­uct, but I did have an idea. Sure enough, Cot­tonelle & Scott are owned by Kimberly-​Clark. So I assume Scott just start­ed using the dies dis­card­ed by Cot­tonelle. I find Scott to be a good enough toi­let paper — after all, it’s the looks that count — so that’s who I’m loy­al to now.

Best Toilet Paper Review

Here’s an excel­lent review on the top brands of toi­let paper (added to this post in August 2020, now that toi­let paper is a nor­mal com­mod­i­ty again, no longer worth more than gold). The review was writ­ten by Bryan Vu at yourbest​digs​.com. Click here for entire review which cov­ers cost, strength, absorben­cy, lint test, and oth­er details.

Best over­all: Cot­tonelle Ultra Com­fort­Care (used to be my favorite until they changed the design, as told above)

Most lux­u­ri­ous: Quilt­ed North­ern Ultra Plus

Most Eco-​friendly: Silk’n Soft

Best Toilet Paper Review

For you Costco shoppers, this is a fun bit of trivia:

Also from Bryan Vu’s arti­cle:
Kirk­land Sig­na­ture toi­let paper is Costco’s cash crop, the best sell­ing item in the mas­sive bulk-​warehouse store. It’s report­ed­ly well-​researched & stud­ied, scientifically-​engineered & designed to sell, sell, sell! Indeed, they sell more than a bil­lion rolls per year. This brand placed fifth in the review above, as best val­ue. [I bet there are peo­ple who pur­chase a Cost­co mem­ber­ship just for a seem­ing­ly end­less sup­ply of toi­let paper. —Chaz]

The 1973 Toilet Paper Panic

The clip shows how one inno­cent remark by John­ny Car­son on the Tonight Show set off a pan­ic across the Unit­ed States. There was no actu­al short­age of toi­let paper, but that’s not what Amer­i­cans believed. The shelves were emp­ty for four months, while toi­let paper was even being sold on the black market.

Enjoy ten min­utes of absurd fact, humor, & even nos­tal­gia — if you remem­ber White Front & Gemco.

Helping hand

I will end this post with a hilar­i­ous pho­to of one of my favorite peo­ple, Robin Williams:

Concept & design notes

I’ve been hold­ing onto the title Over & Under for a few years, plan­ning on using it for a Thanks­giv­ing issue. You know, “Over & under & through the woods to Grand­moth­er’s house we go…” but always con­jured up an image of three bears and a fox. Mix­ing it up with some oth­er woodsy sto­ry, I guess.

All of a sud­den, with toi­let paper eclips­ing all oth­er news, an image of two rolls form­ing an amper­sand came to mind. Sim­ple enough, I thought. But it turned out to be an M.C. Esch­er type of con­cept: trapped in the realm of impos­si­bil­i­ty and illu­sion. The page of sketch­es proves my frustration. 

Vis­it mcesch​er​.com, the offi­cial web­site pub­lished by the M.C. Esch­er Foundation

I final­ly fig­ured some­thing out, and with a bit of per­spec­tive and depth was able to ren­der some­thing pos­si­ble. Maybe I should have kept it an opti­cal illus­tion and become famous like M.C.

The tile back­ground is rem­i­nis­cent of the tile-​walled bath­room in my child­hood (with a sep­a­rate tiled show­er), and in fact I was going to use that palette of turquoise and black. But the back­ground I found in a stock library is more appeal­ing to a wider range of peo­ple, all of whom are con­sumers of the new pre­cious ele­ment, TP.

As men­tioned ear­li­er, Over & Under was orig­i­nal­ly the title for a Thanks­giv­ing piece. There are sev­er­al oth­er phras­es that can be applied to more than one top­ic as well, such as emp­ty & full, stop & go, big & small, et al. So I’ve decid­ed to give myself per­mis­sion to repeat a phrase when­ev­er I get the whim and cre­ate a whole dif­fer­ent con­cept with it. (One of my first Amper­Art designs was #4 Lost & Found, which fea­tured a set of keys. But I’d also like to do one for lost & found pets, espe­cial­ly since a “lit­tle lion” has been com­ing around for food lately.)

Production notes for #159 Over & Under:
Original size: 20x30 inches

Programs: Adobe Illustrator (main image), Photoshop (background)
Font: Parisien

Images: deposit​pho​tos​.com (modified)

Note: &” replaces “and” in most or all text, including quotations, headlines & titles.
You may repost the image & article. Please credit Amper​Art​.com.
To download a full-​size high-​resolution 11x17-​inch poster suitable for printing & framing, click on the image.

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chaz sez
Want more?
Rants & raves mostly about design, sometimes about the universe.
An occasional bit of useful advice.
Read the blog:
Desimone Design
Desimone Design

#154 Wait & See

#154 Wait & See
#154 Wait & See
Click image to view full size or download poster for gallery-​quality printing & framing.
This is a high-​resolution pdf & may take a few minutes to download.
Find printing tips & framing ideas here.

When will this pandemic end?

We have to wait & see.

When will the vac­cine be ready? 
When will the masks & ven­ti­la­tors be deliv­ered?
How long will it take for peo­ple to real­ize this is seri­ous & stay home?
When will we be able to social­ize again? Go to work again? Play sports? See a movie? Go to a con­cert? Dance? Trav­el? Shop?
How many lives will be lost? Sad­ly, espe­cial­ly among the old, we’re los­ing gen­er­a­tions of sto­ries, recipes, & wis­dom.
How long will this be the new normal?

We’ll wait & see.

Have you seen how clear the air is around the globe? Will it teach us some­thing, or will indus­try rush back to the old way of pro­duc­tion & pollution?

It could change you know, but we’ll just have to wait & see.

 Please comment here.

chaz sez

Want more?
Rants & raves most­ly about design, some­times about the uni­verse.

An occa­sion­al bit of use­ful advice.


Production notes for #154 Wait & See:
Original size: 20x30 inches

Programs: Adobe Photoshop & Illustrator
Fonts: Baucher Gothic, Futura

Ampersand: Futura (modified)
Background image: deposit​pho​tos​.com

Note: &” replaces “and” in most or all text, including quotations, headlines & titles.
You may repost the image & article. Please credit Amper​Art​.com.
To download a full-​size high-​resolution 11x17-​inch poster suitable for printing & framing, click on the image.

An excel­lent com­pa­ny, prod­uct or ser­vice needs brand­ing & graph­ic design that is prop­er, per­fect & pro­fes­sion­al.
Please vis­it Des­i­mone Design.

Desimone? Damn good!