Based on the sheer number of advertisements for laxatives and bran-based products in those days, I'd say toilet paper was the least of the worries of people with "rectal trouble".
Beat using old catalogs and corn cobs. Ew.

I still think once those wash and dry toilets catch on, we will think of toilet tissue the same way we think of corn cobs for wiping butts.
My grandma used to maintain corncobs weren't all that bad. She said they used well dried cobs, and you "rubbed it soft" while you were sitting there doing your business. I say that by the time she was telling me this, she was decades past using an outhouse, and time dims all memory.

Another bit of outhouse lore: They used to keep a sack of lime in the outhouse and you would toss in a scoop of lime afterwards to keep down the smell. (Outhouses + summer temps over 100 = mega-gross.) Leading to an old saying my grandma was always using, especially about politicians, "He's so sweet on himself, you'd think he doesn't have to lime the outhouse when he goes."
I could believe that corncobs weren't that bad. I've used rocks and leaves while backpacking/camping in the backcountry, and leaves are not that awesome, but rocks work just fine. I imagine corncobs would be similar.
"He's so sweet on himself, you'd think he doesn't have to lime the outhouse when he goes."

I love that.
I've handled old corn cobs before, they *do* get soft, and so really, Grandma was right! Still seems a bit awkward, though....
Heeeeee! The cob itself, of course, is hard like a stick but the stuff that holds the corn kernels in place is fibrousy and just, over time or with a little rubbing, is just soft. It's weird, i guess, but it's like any fiber - enough manipulation makes it pliable.
I love how in old advertisements everything was SRS BSNS.

Advertisers in those days could take overcooked food and turn it into a mater of earthshaking importance.

I know cheap toilet paper has me bedridden on a regular basis.
yes, i think more people are bedridden by cheap toilet paper than we know about...not everyone is brave enough to put a face on this serious scourge of mankind as this brave woman in the ad is doing!

she's laying there in pain with pillows under her bum and her friend is saying "Mabel is there anything i can get you? Any last wish you have?" Mabel says, "Don't let the children use inferior course toilet paper, save the children of the world!"
Ahahahaha! Also, facepalm.

Although, to be honest, I certainly wouldn't want "tiny slivers" in my delicate areas. ;-)
"tiny slivers"? Dear God. Were those earlier tp manufacturers sadists or something? You'd be better off with corn cobs.
This is going to be my next "call in sick to work" excuse.
I tried to guess at the product based on the picture and the "tag" on the photo....

I did not get anywheres close AND almost choked on my tea...
One time I was on medication that made my skin very dry and fragile, and I hurt myself wiping my bum with toilet paper. It WAS humiliating!
She looks like she's on her death bed due to these toilet paper troubles.
I've encountered some pretty harsh TP in my day -hell, I had to wipe with newspaper once (don't ask)- but never have I taken to my bed with a torn-up butt as a result of inferior toilet paper. Guess I'm made of stronger stuff than some.