Meeting of 5/25/17: Toilet Paper’s Albany Connection

screen-shot-2016-10-16-at-7-10-54-pmDinner Meeting at Quigley’s Restaurant
593 Columbia Turnpike
East Greenbush, NY
May 25, 2017

Members Attending (16): Debbie Rodriguez, Roberto Martinez, Murray Forth, Pat Bailey, Jim Leyhane, Bill Dowd, Dick Drumm, Maggie Forth, Dean Calamaras, Doris Calamaras, Ray Hannan, Debbie Brown, Peter Brown, Julius Frankel, Phil Kellerman, Stewart Wagner.

Guests (8): Mary Drumm, Efrosini Frankel, Jeremy Forth, Robert Parzak, Troop 41 representatives Dennis Cicchino, Frankie Conrad, Mike Manning, and Alex Manning.

PROGRAM: “Toilet Paper and Its Connection To Albany”

Stewart Wagner describes some of the paper industry pioneers.
Screen Shot 2017-05-25 at 9.13.13 PM
Toilet paper holders/cutters from Stewart Wagner’s collection.

Club member Stewart Wagner, an eclectic collector and researcher in various fields, provided an unusual and interesting look at Albany’s role in the creation, production and popularization of something our society takes for granted — modern toilet paper.

Stewart showed slides of the first “official” toilet paper, made in ancient China. but noted that there was not widespread acceptance of the paper globally until the 19th Century. In 1857, a company founded by Joseph C. Gayetty made the first commercial product, originally sold in packs of 500 sheets. The company did not survive.

Sam Wheeler, who was born in Chatham, founded the APW Paper Company and in 1871 secured the first patent for a roll of “wrapping paper,” which it usually was called because the word “toilet” wasn’t used in polite society.

The toilet paper we know of today was an Albany invention. It came in a box and in 1891 Seth Wheeler received a patent for the roll of toilet paper.

Some of Stewart’s remarks were in a lighthearted manner, such as asking the audience whether they put their toilet paper in holders over or under. As noted in the patent drawings, he said, it should be over. That way there is less wasted paper, the roll can be controlled better, and the paper does not slide against the wall as it is being unfurled — something that was especially important in the days of outhouses.

Stewart also passed around a collection of antique paper holders, some of which were simple devices, others with cutting or perforating components. Many bore the names of Albany companies. APW not only made its own paper, it marketed and distributed papers produced by other companies such as the Fort Orange Paper Company in Castleton. He also displayed slides showing a collection of advertising posters and displays.

In addition to the slides, Stewart described how toilet paper is made, that it is important to use one-ply paper in homes and other buildings that have septic systems rather than sewer connections (the thinner paper breaks down more quickly and efficiently). And, he noted the environmental impact caused in one year by the paper manufacturing process — 1.5 million trees crushed, 253 gallons of chlorine used, 475 trillion gallons of water needed, and so forth.


Scout Check
Troop 41 Scoutmaster Dennis Cicchino displays a $450 check from SRC.

SCOUT TROOP GRANT — President Debbie Rodriguez presented a check for $450 to Boy Scout Troop 41 Scoutmaster Dennis Cicchino as an annual SRC grant to help support the troop’s activities. Dennis introduced Assistant Scoutmasters Frankie Conrad and Mike Manning, and 1st Class Scout Alex Manning, and outlined the activities the Scouts have been involved in during the past year and what they have coming up. He also confirmed that the Viking Gym project currently under construction by Eagle Scout candidate Lorenzo Gonzales at Schodack Town Park with support from SRC, Top Form, and the town will continue to be expanded by Troop 41 Eagle candidates in future years until the project is completed.

screen-shot-2016-12-05-at-10-40-01-pmELECTION WRAPUP — Dick Drumm offered a motion, seconded by Debbie Brown, regarding formalizing the club’s Board for 2017-18:  “Move that Pat Bailey be approved as Secretary, Murray Forth as Treasurer, and Bill Dowd, Jim Leyhane, Andy Leyhane and Terry Brewer as At-Large Directors for the 2017-18 Rotary Year, in addition to the officers approved on May 18.” The motion was approved without dissent. Apropos the affirmative May 18 vote, as of July 1 Roberto Martinez will become President, Ron Annis and Jim Butterworth co-Presidents-elect, and Ray Hannan Vice President. Debbie Rodriguez automatically will become Immediate Past President and remain a Board member.

CHANGEOVER EVENTS — Peter and Debbie Brown again will host the club’s Presidential Changeover Dinner, scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday, June 29 (details to come). And, the District 7190 Changeover Luncheon will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, June 25, at River Stone Manor, 1437 Amsterdam Road, Scotia. The District will put online registration information on its website. (Click here to visit it.)

Screen shot 2017-03-10 at 12.08.33 PMRONALD McDONALD HOUSE — We have a sizeable contingent lined up to cook dinner for 40 to 50 guests next Wednesday, May 31, at the Ronald McDonald House complex in Albany. Volunteers include Roberto Martinez, Debbie and Peter Brown, Carole Spencer, Debbie Rodriguez, Phil Kellerman, and Julius and Efie Frankel (with Jim Leyhane helping in the purchasing process and Bill Dowd in the menu creation).

NEXT MEETING — 6:15 p.m. Thursday, June 1, at Quigley’s. Alyssa Evans, Student Assistance Counselor at Columbia High School and Goff Middle School, will speak on “Combating Heroin.”

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