What happened to colored toilet paper?

Photo of various colored toilet paper
From the 50s to the mid 70s, colored toilet paper and tissue were hot items
Magazine ad for Scot Tissue brand toilet paper
“Mad about Color!” from ScotTissue magazine ad, 1950s

Toilet paper and facial tissue weren’t always just white. Back in the 50s, 60s and 70s, toilet paper came in designer colors to match the vivid colors of bathrooms and fixtures of the era. So, where did the rainbow of luxurious softness for your sweet derriere and cute little button nose go?

Actually, there are a few reasons that colored tissue products are hard to find. First, like all things, styles come and go. By the late 70s through the mid 80s, bath designs changed to more traditional colors and furnishings. Wallpaper was huge and the demand for colored toilets, tubs and sinks got flushed.

Health concerns also pushed the demise of rainbows for your buttocks. Dyes used in the creation of colored tissue products were found to be harmful to health.

The process of dying the paper also increased prices and people decided that the extra cost was like flushing money down the toilet.

A brief history of toilet paper as we know it today

Magazine ad for Scotties facial tissue, 1960s
Magazine ad for New Scotties “Magic Ovals” facial tissue, 1960s
  • 1857 – Joseph C. Gayetty invented the first packaged toilet paper in the United States. “Gayetty’s Medicated Paper” was sold as flat, aloe infused sheets.
  • 1871 – Seth Wheeler and his “Albany Perforated Wrapping Paper Company” invented, patented and sold the first rolled and perforated wrapping paper and created toilet perforated toilet paper on a roll.
  • 1925 – Scott Company became the leading toilet paper company in the world.

Toilet paper was a pain in the butt until 1935!

  • 1935 – Northern Tissue invented splinter free toilet paper. Simple paper making procedures often failed to remove small splinters from the finished product but Northern Paper engineers solved the problem (method called linenizing). Softer, splinter-free toilet paper then became a reality for consumers and provided an advertising slogan for Northern Tissue.
  • 1942 – St. Andrew’s Paper Mill (England, Walthamstow, London), produced the first soft, two ply toilet tissue.
  • 1954 – was produced the first colored toilet tissue by Northern.
  • 1964 – was produced perfumed one-ply toilet tissue by Charmin.

The Great Johnny Carson Toilet Paper Shortage of 1973

America experienced its first toilet paper shortage in 1973 when Johnny Carson announced that in addition to the gas shortage, there was also a toilet paper shortage.

Johnny Carson’s toilet paper scare

The remarkable history of toilet paper



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