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Rioter's brush with the law gave rise to the first toothbrush.

Ibrush my teeth first thing every morning and last thing every night, but I've never given a thought as to who invented the humble toothbrush.

Someone called Wisdom, perhaps, or a Mr Colgate? - D. A Mr Addis, actually. Although implements for cleaning your teeth had been around since 3,500BC when the Babylonians and the Egyptians made a brush by fraying the end of a twig, Addis can lay claim to inventing the first massproduced toothbrush in the 18th Century.

William Addis was a rag trader, an occupation which meant he collected rags that were pulped and turned into paper to be sold to bookmakers.

However, in 1770, Addis was arrested in London's Spitalfields and thrown into Newgate Prison for causing a riot.

While in jail, he had plenty of time to think, and he decided that the method used to clean teeth at the time - crushed snail shells, soot or brick dust - with a rag was ineffective and could be improved.

He saved a bone from some meat he had eaten and drilled a few holes in it. Then he arranged for a prison guard to get him some badger bristles, which he threaded through the holes and stuck in place with some glue.

When he was released from prison, Addis began manufacturing toothbrushes and was an immediate success.

The company now produces around 70 million toothbrushes a year in the UK.


The first toothbrush was invented in London in 1770 by William Addis

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Publication:The Sunday Post (Aberdeen,Scotland)
Date:Jun 9, 2019
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