Paper Towels - History of Paper Towels

Paper Towels

Used in kitchens, bathrooms, and houses throughout the world, paper towels have become a necessity for sanitizing and cleaning almost anything. Despite the universal use of today, paper towels were originally designed for one purpose: to prevent the spread of colds and other diseases.

In 1907, the Scott Paper Company produced the world's first paper tissues in hopes that they would be a cleaner and more sanitary option over the use of cloth towels. As the cloth towels available in restrooms would easily spread germs and diseases, a one-time use towel was desired to stop the spread of these illnesses.

Although its design was quite useful, it took nearly twenty years of research and development by William E. Corbin, Henry Chase, and Harold Titus, before paper towels could be manufactured and marked throughout the country. The finished product, which was available in 1922, was called the Nibroc Paper Towels. By 1931, the Scott Paper Company had come back with their own design; a paper towel roll that could be easily used in kitchens in addition to bathrooms.

Generally, paper towels are composed of recycled paper pulp that is extracted from wood. To achieve the familiar white color, this pulp is typically bleached. Images and figures can be added to the towel as a small decoration. Created as rolls or stacks paper towels are sold for both domestic and international use.

Currently, two-thirds of paper towel consumption can be attributed to household consumer use. However, this demand for paper products puts pressure on forestry to produce the wood necessary for the creation of the towels. The United States uses the most paper towels, therefore having the biggest environmental effect.

Today, paper towels are a common household item that many could not do without. Although the environmental effects of paper towel creation and production are beginning to be understood, the role of the paper towel in society will likely retain its strong presence within the modern household.

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