A collection of decorative soaps, commonly fou...

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The history of today’s soap goes back a long ways. It’s important and maybe interesting to learn how soap first came about and what some of the first ingredients were.

Throughout history and across the world the legends of soap making’s history have varied. You might think it natural for people to want to be clean and smell fresh. However, in very early times folks didn’t use soap to bath or wash their clothes. The first evidence of soap being used was from the ancient Romans. It was communicated by Roman historian Pliny the Elder that different kinds of soft and hard-dye had soap in it called rutilandis capilis.

It was only going to be a matter of time before a cleaning agent would be invented or discovered because ancient people knew they needed something more than just water to improve the cleaning of themselves.

It was in Spain and Italy during the 8th century that a record of making soap was found. It eventually lead to making soap in the 13th century. The business began in Italy and then into France, where soap was created from tallow of goats and alkali furnished with beech ash. As the French people began using olive oil in their soaps instead of animal fats the soap making swept around Europe. It was in 1622 that special allowances were given to the soap industry by King James I

Today’s soap making boiling process was originally discovered by Carl Wilhelm Scheele, a Swedish chemist who boiled lead oxide and olive oil to make a sweet substance named, “olsuss” which is now known as today’s “glycerin”. It wasn’t until after French Chemist Nicolas Leblanc invented a method for removing sodium carbonate from regular table salt that changed soap making in 1791

In the American colonies, the main ingredients used to make soap were obtained from animal fats that were processed in homes. However, the colonies soon found a livelihood out of making soaps by exporting fats and ashes – the main ingredients of soap at that time.

The necessary elements drawn on to make soap in the American colonies were animal fats made in the homes. It wasn’t long before colonies started making a living by exporting fats and ashes, the main ingredients of soap at the time.



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