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Patent Sketch Appears To Resolves Toilet Roll Tensions

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

There's another debate that's roiled the English-speaking world since the time of Shakespeare - or at least the time of William Jennings Bryan - over or under? This week, a man named Owen Williams posted a photo on Twitter for no particular news reason we could discover, though a lot of us are covering this story anyway, of the original 1891 patent for perforated toilet tissue. It was issued to a Seth Wheeler of Albany, N.Y. And his sketch clearly shows the tissue draped over the toilet roll. Over-the-roll purists, including Good Housekeeping, say over is preferred because it allows the user to see the number of tissues to be torn and is more appealing in appearance. I imagine that the rolls in Buckingham Palace are overs. But there are roll revisionists who believe the under position makes it easier for humans to tear off the perforated sheets and harder for dogs and cats to playfully unroll the tissues. Please do not feel compelled to email or tweet your preference to us. And by the way, B.J. Leiderman writes our theme music.

(SOUNDBITE OF PIANO MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.