Even the simplest of items has a back story, and one of the household items that people really take for granted every day is the toothbrush. But who came up with this reasonably simple invention?
Tooth-cleaning methods have been around since the dawn of civilisation, but it is doubtful that the methods employed in ancient communities in India , Arabia, and China, which included the use of plant stalks, twigs from trees, feathers and quills, or chalk, would be seen as suitable in the present-day. These baffling approaches were said to do a reasonable job, but it was clear that oral hygiene was in its infancy compared to today.
But who was the person that spared the world from the now-unorthodox ways of dental care? The answer is an Englishman named William Addis, who developed the first prototype whilst doing time in jail in the 1770’s (for causing a public riot). Whilst in his cell, Addis had plenty of time to realise that the current method employed for cleaning one’s teeth (a rag with soot and salt) could probably be improved on. After drilling holes in one end of an animal bone, he passed through and tied a bunch of bristles that a guard had given him, using glue to seal the tied end of the bristles to the bone. The modern toothbrush was born, and many years after his release, Addis would die a very wealthy man for his efforts, with his brainchild being developed with new ideas and technologies, and the basic toothbrush being mass-produced, and used the world over. Who says that prisoners cannot do something constructive?