The paper towel holder, a device used for conveniently dispensing paper towels, has a relatively recent history:
- Early Paper Towels: The concept of disposable paper towels emerged in the late 19th century. In 1879, Thomas Edison’s assistant, Thomas Scott, created a paper towel made of hemp fibers for hygienic purposes. These early paper towels were not perforated and were typically sold in large rolls.
- First Paper Towel Dispenser: The need for a practical method to dispense paper towels led to the invention of the first paper towel dispenser. In 1903, an inventor named Arthur Scott (no relation to Thomas Scott) founded the Scott Paper Company. To promote their new disposable paper towels, the company introduced the first paper towel dispenser, known as the “Sani-Towel.” It consisted of a metal box with a serrated edge from which the paper towels could be pulled out.
- Roll and Sheet Dispensers: As the popularity of paper towels grew, various designs of dispensers were introduced. In the 1930s, roll towel dispensers became more common. These devices held a large roll of paper towels and allowed users to tear off individual sheets. The sheets were often perforated, making it easier to tear them off cleanly.
- Wall-Mounted Dispensers: In the mid-20th century, wall-mounted paper towel dispensers became prevalent. These dispensers were designed to be attached to walls or countertops, providing a convenient and hygienic way to access paper towels. They often featured a spring-loaded mechanism that allowed for controlled tearing of the sheets.
- Automatic Dispensers: With advancements in technology, automatic paper towel dispensers were introduced. These dispensers utilized sensors to detect hand movements and dispensed a pre-determined length of paper towel without requiring physical contact. Automatic dispensers gained popularity in public restrooms and commercial settings due to their touch-free operation and improved hygiene.
- Modern Designs and Features: Over time, paper towel holders and dispensers have undergone numerous design improvements. Manufacturers now offer a wide range of styles, materials, and features to suit different preferences and environments. Some holders have adjustable tension settings to control the paper towel roll’s rotation, while others feature decorative designs for home use.
Today, paper towel holders continue to be an essential accessory in kitchens, bathrooms, and public spaces. They offer convenience, cleanliness, and ease of access when it comes to using disposable paper towels for various purposes.