September 15, 2004

More Ways To Dispense Paper Towels Than To Skin A Cat?

As I have increased the frequency of my handwashing (best way to prevent colds!), one thing I noticed is that there is an astonishing variety of mechanisms for dispensing paper towels. You'd think it's a pretty, well, solved problem. You'd think that, by now, the optimal solution would have been hit upon, and just used.

But no. So, I've gone into bathrooms and photographed some of the variety I've seen...

There's everything from the spring-loaded... the pull-and-tear... the one that got me started, the wave-your-hand...

...and much more.

As a design-minded person, I find all these different approaches to the same problem fascinating, because they each betray different concerns. I would think that, for the user, the most optimal is the upside-down-kleenex box -- easy dispening, and no need to touch anything.

But for the provider of the paper towels, they probably like the big rolls, because I'm guessing they're cheaper than the sheets, and last longer before refilling.

I don't know why bathrooms still have dispensers that require manipulation -- touching them defeats the hygienic purpose.

And do we really need motion sensors in them? (And I find that those motion sensors tend to work poorly).

Anyway, I'd love to start a collective album of paper towel dispensers over on Flickr. I've developed a tag, papertoweldispenser, that can serve this singular purpose. People of earth: go into your public bathrooms, photograph your dispensers, upload them to Flickr, and tag them so they appear here! Let's see just how many varieties there are.

Posted by peterme at 10:16 PM | Comments (31)


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