Toilet roll holder

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A classic horizontal-axle, wall-mounted toilet roll holder

A toilet-roll holder, also known as a toilet paper dispenser, is an item that holds a roll of toilet paper. Common models include a hinged length of wire mounted horizontally on a wall, a thicker axle either recessed into a wall or mounted on a frame, or a freestanding vertical pole on a base. In recent years, automatic toilet paper dispensers which automatically fold and cut the toilet paper are being installed in public toilets.

Wire on hinge[edit]

In the first case, the idea is that the toilet roll maintains contact with the door or wall as the roll's radius decreases. This provides enough friction to allow the user to tear off a piece of tissue. More sophisticated designs include a curved horizontal plate that covers the roll, thus removing the necessity of touching the roll. These roll holders can be used in both orientations, but may be difficult to use in the "under" orientation.

Horizontal axle in wall[edit]

The horizontal axle design is found in most homes, and also in many schools. It is easy to use due to its low friction and ease of refilling. This is the type of holder most commonly assumed about when toilet paper orientation is mentioned.

Horizontal freestanding axle[edit]

Vertical pole toilet roll holder

This type of holder is not common, probably because it can get in the way of traffic getting on and off the toilet more than the horizontal axle in the wall.[clarification needed]

Vertical pole[edit]

Originally intended to hold a stock of replacement rolls, the vertical pole has become the only paper holder in some households. It is particularly useful in homes where the family has mixed handedness. Its drawbacks include that there is a lot more friction than in other types of toilet roll holders, and thus not as easy to use.

Public toilets[edit]

The holders in many public toilets are designed to make it difficult for patrons to steal the toilet rolls. Various contraptions have been devised to lock the spare rolls away, and release them only when the active roll is used up.

An increasing number of public toilets are furnished with holders that hold very large rolls of toilet paper. Others hold two large rolls with an access door that allows the user to switch between roll one and roll two when one roll is empty. These are designed to save money by reducing the frequency of janitorial services to restock the paper.

In many toilets, especially in elementary schools, a dispenser releases only a small square of toilet paper to prevent a user from intentionally clogging the toilet with large amounts of paper.

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