Bum Fodder: An Absorbing History of Toilet Paper


Bum Fodder: An Absorbing History of Toilet Paper

Author Richard Smyth
Publication Date 2012
ISBN 9780285641143
Hard Cover
Publisher Souvenir Press Ltd


This recounts the obscured history of an everyday invention rarely discussed openly. In medieval China, it represented cutting-edge technology. For 19th-century Americans, it served as a novel alternative to dried corncobs and the Sears & Roebuck catalogue. Wits in Georgian London favored poorly written poetry. Ancient Athenian scholars were satisfied with using the xylospongion. This is the story of toilet paper, the biography of bumfodder. Originating from Emperor Hongwu's Imperial court in ancient China to its rebranding as a quack remedy for haemorrhoids in 1870s New York City; from the Dutch utilizing mussel shells to Henry VIII and his Groom of the Stool; from Madame de Prie's innovative bidet to the space-age Washlet; from leaf-using chimpanzees to Mr. Thirsty Fiber and the world's initial three-adjective loo-roll—it's a tale encompassing necessity and innovation, opulence and squalor, experimentation and tradition.

What does a submarine crew do when they run out of toilet paper? Who pilfered the Pope's toilet paper? Does printer's ink cause piles? How does one fold a sheet of toilet paper more than seven times? What were bumphleteers tasked with, and why? Richard Smyth delves into these unexplored questions about the indispensable product we cannot do without.

ISBN: 9780285641143

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