Natural Handmade Luxury a historical Timeline of Soap

A Historical Timeline of Soap E-mail
Before soap, there was soapwort. Mixed and agitated with water, saponin containing plants like soapwort, which is still available today, gave early civilization its first cleaning agents. Somewhere along history's road, it was discovered that combining fats, namely animal fats, with wood ash produced a soft soap.Originally, soap was used to clean hides and fleeces, not bodies. Even with Roman baths, some question remains about how much soap was actually used on bodies compared to the use of olive oil and perfumes. With the fall of Rome, however, so went the popularity of bathing, which by then was viewed as an immodest practice at best. Soap use in medieval Europe remained only in Spain and Italy.Soap eventually found its way to France, where it underwent significant improvement, and from there to England. In the young American colonies, the art of soapmaking was a household task. More French tinkering and discoveries finally led to a reproducible hard bar and a mass industry was born. Timeline 2500 BC: Sumerian clay tablets mention soap.2000 BC: The Bible speaks of soap. "If I wash myself with snow water and cleanse my hands with soap...." Job 9:3079 AD: Mt. Vesuvius erupts and buries the city of Pompeii in ash. Later excavations reveal a large, fully equipped soap factory.467 AD: The fall of Rome and the beginning of a millennia of dirt in greater Europe. Bathing is considered dangerous and decried as immodest, unless prescribed for medicinal purposes.1296: Marco Polo, upon return from China, introduces ice cream to Europe. 1300’s: Italy introduces goat tallow soap to France. Over the next 200 years, France develops castile soap, made with olive oil, and scented soap.1500's: France introduces England to its discoveries.16-1700's: The American colonies gain wealth through exporting soap ash and fat to England.1622: James I of England grants a soapmaker the privilege of producing 3000 tons of soap each year, all for the bargain price of $100,000 each of those years. And folks, that's 24 million 4-ounce bars of soap.1711: England taxes soapmakers 1 penny per pound of soap produced.1787: The US Constitution is written.1791: Nicolas LeBlanc discovers a process to manufacture caustic soda (lye) cheaply and in large quantities. Raw materials are no longer needed from the colonies.1806: William Colgate of New York founds his soap establishment.1816: England raises the soap tax to three pennies per pound produced.1823: M.E. Chevreul deciphers the underlying principles of saponification, noting differences between the fats and oils useful in soapmaking.1833: England's government lowers the soap tax to 1 1/2 penny per pound produced.1853: England repeals the soap tax, which was bringing in $5 million annually. Soap is now affordable to the masses and large scale production begins. Enter Lever....1867: The typewriter is invented.1903: Wilbur and Orville Wright take flight.1941-45: World War II opens the door to widespread use of synthetic detergents.1953: The production of synthetic detergents exceeds the production of soap. Today: Soap and detergents are a multi-billion dollar industry.

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