7. Toilet Paper

In 1857, Joseph Gayetty developed his revolutionary idea for toilet paper in New York. His “toilet paper,” however, was initially proposed as a medical accessory, advertised as an aid for people struggling with hemorrhoids. He sold packages of 500 papers made of hemp and infused with aloe, scented and printed with his name on every sheet. The product lasted in licensed use until the 1920s, but was ultimately a marketing failure.

However, many other inventors took Gayetty’s idea and expanded on it. In 1867, Thomas, Edward, and Clarence Scott created a new form of toilet paper, packaged as a roll with a hold in the corner that would allow it to be easily hung on the nail of an outhouse. They first sold the product mainly to hotels and drugstores, popularizing the rolls until they became readily available to the general public.