The eternal debate over bathroom conventions seems to have actually been answered more than a century ago.
According to an 1891 patent by New York businessman Seth Wheeler, the end of a toilet paper roll should be on the outside, or in the “over” position. (Advocates of the “under” position, take note: better flip that roll over when you get home.)
Writer Owen Williams shared the discovery Monday on Twitter, posting a picture of Wheeler's patent for the toilet paper roll:
Wheeler, the man behind the Albany Perforated Wrapping Paper Company, is also the reason we’re able to tear off perfect squares in the first place: Albany Perforated originally patented the idea for perforated "wrapping" paper (a more modest name for toilet paper) in 1871.
"My invention ... consists in a roll of wrapping paper with perforations on the line of the division between one sheet and the next, so as to be easily torn apart, such roll of wrapping paper forming a new article of manufacture," Wheeler's 1871 patent read.
Now that this has been resolved, everyone can move on to other pressing concerns: single-ply or double-ply?