Soap Making History

Soap Making History

The first evidence of soap making dates from the ancient world, around 2800 B. C. Archaeologists found clay cylinders left by the Mesopotamian civilization that had been coated with a soap-like substance inside. Once the archeologists deciphered the inscriptions on the cylinders, they were surprised to find a description of fats being boiled with ashes--the basic method of making soap. Intriguingly, these early cylinders didn't describe what this soap-like substance was used for, and so archeologists are left to guess.
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Before soap became popularly used, the ancient Greeks were said to have used a combination of lye and ashes as a cleanser for pots and to clean the statues of their gods.

The first soap manufacturing plant was Marseilles. Its soil was perfect for the cultivation of olive trees and the factory produced vegetable sodas. However, in time the industry grew so large that it was necessary to import oil and vegetable sodas from Spain and Italy. By the eighth century, it is documented that there were soap factories in Italy and Spain. It was not until the twelfth or thirteenth century that this industry was embraced by France. France then passed on the tradition to England. The French made their soaps almost exclusively from olive oil, while the English delved into many different kinds of soap. Eventually the French added palm and cocoa oils and expanded their product base.

Nicholas Le Blanc revolutionized the soap industry by developing an inexpensive method of extracting soda from salt.
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Later soaps started to be introduced in places like Kufa in Iraq, Nablus in Palestine and even Basra in iraq. Soaps which are famous today are progenies of the soaps which were used by the Arabs long years back. In the early period Arabs made scented soaps in which some of them were hard whereas others were in the liquid form. The Arabs even used special soaps for the purpose of shaving and they were sold widely in Arabia. Some of the recently discovered manuscripts has the importance of soaps and the procedure involved in making soaps in detail.
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