Recently rediscovered, the 1891 patent tells the tale. In the patent drawing, sketched by toilet paper roll inventor Seth Wheeler, it is illustrated that the answer is definitely “over”. No explanation is given for this particular orientation, so one can only speculate as to the reasoning behind it, but it certainly adds a certain weight to the arguments of those who fall on the “over” side of the issue!
As you might imagine, this knowledge does nothing to silence the debate about which orientation is better, but it does solve the mystery surrounding which way is technically correct! Now “over” enthusiasts have one additional argument for their side that is hard to refute: “That’s how it’s mean to be!”
Want to learn about bathroom science? Check out Stuff Happens with Bill Nye: Bathroom on Discovery Education Streaming!