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Fascinating facts about the invention
of the Paper Towels by Arthur Scott in
Scott Paper Company was founded by brothers E. Irvin and Clarence Scott in Philadelphia in 1879. SCOTT® Brand Tissue with 1,000 sheets was introduced at a cost of 10 cents per roll. It was considered a medical item; print ads were used to increase awareness and address embarrassment.
Arthur Scott, head of the paper products company, had big trouble. An entire railroad car full of paper, unloaded at his plant, wasn't good for anything because the paper had been rolled too thick for toilet tissue, its intended purpose.  Was he going to send the whole load back? 
Meanwhile, Scott heard about a certain teacher in the city school system who had developed a novel idea to help fight colds in school.  She gave every runny nosed student a small piece of soft paper to use.  That way the roller towel in the toilets would not become contaminated with germs.  Scott decided he would try to sell the carload of paper. He perforated the thick paper into small towel-size sheets and sold them as disposable paper towels. Later he renamed the product Sani-Towel and sold them to hotels , restaurants, and railroad stations for use in public washrooms.

In 1931, Scott introduced the first paper towel for the kitchen and created a whole new grocery category. He made perforated rolls of "towels" thirteen inches wide and eighteen inches long.  That is how paper towels were born.  It was to take many years, however, before they gained acceptance and replaced cloth towels for kitchen use


The Kid Who Invented the Popsicle: And Other Surprising Stories About Inventions
by Don L. Wulffson / Paperback - 128 pages (1999) / Puffin

Brief factual stories about how various familiar things were invented, many by accident, from animal crackers to the zipper.

Panati’s Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things
by Charles Panati / Paperback - 480 pages Reissue edition (September 1989) / HarperCollins
Discover the fascinating stories behind the origins of over 500 everyday items, expressions and customs
Why Didn't I Think of That?: Bizarre Origins of Ingenious Inventions We Couldn't Live Without
by Allyn Freeman, Bob Golden (Contributor) / Paperback - 224 pages (1997) / John Wiley & Sons

Inventions chronicles the odd origins of famous products, explores how these inventions changed our lives, and reveals the business side of their production and distribution.
Paper Towel Testing (Great Explorations in Math & Science)
by Cary I. Sneider, Jacqueline Barber / Paperback - 30 pages / Great Explorations; (June 1, 1998)
This 30-page paperback book contains many science experiments with paper towels.
Why Didn't I Think of That (This title is out of print.)
by Webb Garrison / Hardcover - 120 pages
(1977) / Prentice Hall, ISBN: 0139586032

SCOTT® Brand
Home of SCOTT Tissue, SCOTT Towels, and SCOTT Napkins, one of the largest tissue and napkin manufacturers in the world. In 1931, SCOTT® introduced the first paper towel for the kitchen and created a whole new grocery category.

In 1907, Scott Paper introduces the Sani-Towels paper towel, the first paper towel in America. Scott Paper invented disposable paper towels for use in Philadelphia classrooms to help prevent the spread of the common cold from child to child.
Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Paper Towels!
Fun experiments with paper towels, history and statistics. From the Paper University
Paper Towel Testing
Children need experience in learning the basic steps of investigation in order to begin to understand how science works. From the Electronic Journal Of Science Education.
Paper Towels
They were originally called "Sani-Towels", but were later renamed "ScotTissue Towels". History of many paper products.


  • In 1930, Scott was the first to introduce paper napkins.
  • In 1995, Kimberly-Clark acquired SCOTT Paper Company.
Scott Brand is the property of Kimberly-Clark Corporation or its affiliates.
Reference Sources in BOLD Type This page revised January, 2005.

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