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A paper towel (or kitchen paper) is an absorbent towel made from tissue paper instead of cloth. Unlike cloth towels, paper towels are disposable and intended to be used only once. Paper towels soak up water because they are loosely woven which enables water to travel between them, even against gravity (capillary effect). Paper towels can be individually packed (as stacks of folded towels or held coiled) or come in rolls. Paper towels have similar purposes to conventional towels, such as drying hands, wiping windows and other surfaces, dusting, and cleaning up spills.
In 1907, the Scott Paper Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, introduced paper tissues to help prevent the spread of colds from cloth towels in restrooms. Popular belief is that this was partly accidental and was the solution to a railroad car full of long paper rolls meant for toilet paper that were unsuitable to cut into rolls of toilet paper. In 1919, William E. Corbin, Henry Chase, and Harold Titus began experimenting with paper towels in the Research and Development building of the Brown Company in Berlin, New Hampshire. By 1922, Corbin perfected their product and began mass-producing it at the Cascade Mill on the Berlin/Gorham line. This product was called Nibroc Paper Towels (Corbin spelled backwards). In 1931, the Scott Paper Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, introduced their paper towel rolls for kitchens; they are now the leading manufacturer of paper towels.
Paper is made from either virgin or recycled paper pulp which is extracted from wood or fiber crops. They are sometimes bleached during the production process to lighten the paper's coloration. It is not uncommon for rolls of paper towels to include intricate colored images on each square (such as flowers or teddy bears). Resin size is used to improve the wet strength. Paper towels are packed individually and sold as stacks, or are held on a continuous roll, and come in two distinct classes: domestic and institutional. Many companies produce paper towels some of which include, but are not limited to: Charmin, Bounty, Seventh Generation, Scott, and Viva among many others.
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