Toilet paper was invented to assist in personal cleanliness. Prior to the invention of toilet paper on rolls, various materials were used to clean up after using the toilet.
The use of some type of material for wiping after using the toilet is recorded as far back as 1393 in China. Members of the imperial family used squares of cloth, usually perfumed. Other materials used included pages from books and catalogs, salt water soaked sponges, newspaper, leaves and lace. Perforated toilet paper on a roll began selling in 1877. It was patented by Seth Wheeler and sold through his company, Albany Perforated Wrapping Paper Company.