CATEGORIES

We offer free shipping to residents of North Carolina!




Instagram
del.icio.us:
	naturalhandcraftedsoapDel..icio.us Handcrafted Soap



Follow Me on Pinterest

Goat's Milk
Amazon Oils
Wedding Favors
Making Soap
Why Organic Soap
Eczema Soaps



Official PayPal Seal

Site Map


Bookmark and Share

A Short History of Artisan Soap - Lye Handcrafted Old Fashioned Soap



Soap is a wonderful thing. Most folks are so used to simply choosing a brand from the supermarket shelf; they never think about whats in it or how its made or whether its even good for them. Nevertheless, because we use it every day on our bodies, its worth knowing a little bit about how soap is made and where it comes from. When you think about it, the common act of washing our hands has revolutionized history. Our world would not exist, if mankind had not at some point begun to bathe. When asked, most folks cannot define the word soap. It's something we take for granted. But what is it? Soap is made from vegetable or animal fats and oils, mixed with a caustic alkali such as sodium hydroxide (lye) or potassium hydroxide (potash), which initiates a chemical reaction called saponification. The traditional method of producing potash was to steep wood ashes in water.

Soap does not occur naturally, but the process of creating it is so simple that its discovery probably occurred long before the first villages and towns came into being. There is a legend, repeated endlessly in soap making books and websites, which tells of a certain hill in Rome called Mount Sapo. There was supposedly a temple on the top of this hill where animals were sacrificed in the fire, and the fats and ashes ran downhill into a river. Women doing their laundry discovered that their clothes became cleaner when they washed them at the foot of Mt. Sapo. It's an attractive story, but it probably never happened. No one knows anything about a hill called Mt. Sapo, by a river or anywhere else. Something like this may have occurred at some distant place and time, but even so it certainly does not mark the first discovery of soap.


Soap was probably first discovered when fire pits, used season after season by bands of hunters, were rained on. The animal fats from many kills would have dripped down into the ashes, and the rains would have soaked the ashes to create a crude form of lye. Yes, the cave men probably knew how to make and use soap! Soap has been found in excavations at ancient Babylon, dating from 2800 BC. An ancient medical papyrus from Egypt describes the healing properties of vegetable oils mixed with alkali salts.

Interestingly, the idea of using soap for personal hygiene and cleansing seems to have come along fairly late. It was used mainly for washing wool and cleaning laundry long before anyone thought of using it to clean themselves. Ashes and animal fat were (and still are) smeared on the body by primitive peoples to create a startling or distinctive appearance. Stripes or patches of different colors would also have been useful in the hunt, functioning exactly like a tiger's stripes or the camouflage worn by hunters today. Once colored pigments were added, both war paint and cosmetics came into being. However, a simple mix of fat and ashes is not soap, but a precursor.

For oils to saponify , ashes must be converted to lye. It was this process that must have been most elusive to our earliest ancestors. Even so, there is abundant evidence that the properties of caustic alkali salts were appreciated at a very early time. Strictly speaking, ashes steeped in water do not create lye, but potash. Lye is a caustic sodium salt which is made from brine. The process for creating this chemical on an industrial scale was invented in the 19th century, and had a huge impact on the soap industry. Prior to that time, most soap was made with potash or a refined form call pearlash. Potash is a caustic salt of potassium rather than sodium. It is still used today in the production of liquid soaps. The addition of table salt or sodium chloride to harden soap was known at least as early as the Roman era, and in various locations natural deposits of caustic alkali were known to exist. Nevertheless, the use of sodium salts in the form of lye to create hard soaps was a late development.

Many other ancient peoples also discovered the usefulness of soap. The ancient Romans, Celts, Hebrews, Phoenicians and Egyptians all knew how to saponify various fats and oils. There is supposedly a preserved soap factory at Pompeii, complete with finished, modern-looking bars, although more recent study of the site has thrown doubt on what this space may actually have been used for.

Following the collapse of the Roman Empire, much of Europe forgot how to make soap. Bathing remained popular, but it was often considered risque or even a little sacrilegious. St. Jerome is supposed to have said that having been washed clean in Christ, it was not necessary to bathe again. It was a time when the Church held the great masses of people in an iron grip of ignorance and poverty. The filth and unsanitary conditions of medieval Europe contributed to plagues and all kinds of illness. Still, there were soap-making centers in Italy and France as early as the 9th century.

Personal cleanliness did not gain mass popularity in Europe until the 17th century. Eventually, though, soapmaking industries did emerge in Italy and France. Vegetable oils and purified animal fats (lard and tallow) were blended with costly scents and colorants, as well as various kinds of botanical essences. In the 14th century the French emerged as the makers of the finest soaps, using imported oils instead of tallow. In England, where soapmaking had long been a byproduct of the chandler's trade, soapmaking had yet to come into its own. Soapmakers who tried to specialize found themselves so heavily taxed that it was difficult to stay in business.

The Muslims- who occupied Spain and North Africa during the height of the Islamic empire maintained a high level of cleanliness. Their cities were clean, beautiful and well-lit, and their universities attracted scholars from around the world. In science, art, medicine, philosophy, and many of the basic aspects of civilization, the Muslims provided the foundation which eventually lifted Europe up from the Dark Ages to the Renaissance. Throughout the Muslim world, soap was made from olive, palm, laurel and other oils. In Spain, the region called Castilla is remembered for a mild soap made from pure olive oil. True castile soap, made from olive oil or olive pomace oil (the oil drained and pressed from the leftover material from the olive press), is a soft white bar that is extremely mild. It doesn't lather very well, though, and soapmakers experimented with adding other oils. Advances in shipping and exploration brought new materials to the marketplace, and soapmakers learned that coconut oil produces a luxurious lather; while palm oil stabilizes the mixture and produces a hard, long-lasting bar. Castor oil attracts moisture to the skin and adds lather as well. Many other oils are used for their healing and conditioning properties.

Soap was heavily taxed as a luxury item well into the 19th century, especially by the British. Once the taxes were lifted, soap became available to ordinary people, and sanitary conditions improved. Commercial soapmaking in America dates from 1608, when soapmakers arrived from England aboard the first ship to follow the Mayflower.



Next Page-Smell of Lavender and Taste of Olive Oil.





  OUR SOAPS

African Grapefruit {Handmade Soap}
Florida Citrus tangerine-lemon- Lime Soap
Gift Basket Natural {Handmade Soap}
Lemongrass Soap With Cocoa Butter Handmade
Beer Artisan Soap Stout and Oatmeal
Brazilian Oil Soap with Acai Butter
Egyptian Geranium Crushed Flowers Handmade Soap
Four Bar Variety Organic Soaps
French Jasmine Soap & Rose Oil
French Lavender Handmade Soap - Shea Butter
Gift Basket Natural {Handmade Soap}
Jasmine & Coconut Milk Soap
Jasmine Lilac Bar Soap
Lavender with Dead Sea Mud
Lemongrass Soap With Cocoa Butter Handmade
Peppermint with Sea Clay Soap
Provence Lavender Geranium Soap Bar
Provence Lavender Jasmine Soap
Almond Hazel Nut Face and Body Soap
Australian Tea Tree Soap for Acne and Oily Skin
Brazilian Oil Soap with Acai Butter
Castile Olive- Palm
Castile Olive Soap with Organic Coconut
Copaiba - Coconut Milk for Eczema, Psoriasis or Acne
Four Bar Variety Organic Soaps
French Cafe au Lait Soap
Greek Olive Oil Mediterranean Sea Salt
Greek Olive Oil Soap
Oatmeal Soap with Organic Shea Butter
Palm Coconut with Cocoa Butter
Rainforest Copaiba Soap
Sea Kelp with Cocoa Butter Soap
Volcanic Ash With Patchouli Soap Bar
Beer Artisan Soap Stout and Oatmeal
Mother and Baby Bar Soap Gift -- 12 Bar
Oatmeal Soap with Organic Shea Butter
Organic Oatmeal Soap with Mango Butter
Buttermilk and Goat Milk Soap
Buttermilk with Honey and Mango Butter Handmade Soap
Copaiba - Coconut Milk for Eczema, Psoriasis or Acne
Four Bar Variety Organic Soaps
Gift Basket Natural {Handmade Soap}
Goat / Coconut Milk Soap Natural
Goats Milk Soap
Goats Milk with Golden Honey
Jasmine & Coconut Milk Soap
Mother and Baby Bar Soap Gift -- 12 Bar
Brazilian Coffee Soap
Coffee Soap (Luxury-Soap)
Espresso Scrub Soap with Coffee Butter
Four Bar Variety Organic Soaps
French Cafe au Lait Soap
Hawaiian Kona Coffee Soap...
-Twelve Piece Gentleman's Gift Set
Dead Sea Mud Handmade Soap - Anise
Dead Sea Mud Soap with Dead Sea Salt
Greek Olive Oil Mediterranean Sea Salt
Sea Kelp / with Chamomile Herb
Sea Kelp with Cocoa Butter Soap
Volcanic Ash With Patchouli Soap Bar
African Grapefruit {Handmade Soap}
Dead Sea Mud Handmade Soap - Anise
Dead Sea Mud Soap with Dead Sea Salt
Egyptian Geranium Crushed Flowers Handmade Soap
Four Bar Variety Organic Soaps
Jasmine & Coconut Milk Soap
Lavender with Dead Sea Mud
Peppermint with Sea Clay Soap
Provence Lavender Geranium Soap Bar
Provence Lavender Jasmine Soap
Volcanic Ash With Patchouli Soap Bar
Brazilian Oil Soap with Acai Butter
French Jasmine Soap & Rose Oil
Sea Kelp / with Chamomile Herb
Soap on a Rope
Artisan Soap Gift Set
Gift Basket Natural {Handmade Soap}
Artisan Soap Gift Set
Mother and Baby Bar Soap Gift -- 12 Bar
Soap on a Rope
-Twelve Piece Gentleman's Gift Set
Twelve Piece Skin Care Soap-Gift Set
Brazilian Oil Soap with Acai Butter
Buttermilk and Goat Milk Soap
Goats Milk Soap
Goats Milk with Golden Honey
Greek Olive Oil Soap
Sea Kelp / with Chamomile Herb
Artisan Soap Gift Set
Australian Tea Tree Soap for Acne and Oily Skin
Copaiba - Coconut Milk for Eczema, Psoriasis or Acne
Dead Sea Mud Handmade Soap - Anise
Dead Sea Mud Soap with Dead Sea Salt
Espresso Scrub Soap with Coffee Butter
Florida Citrus tangerine-lemon- Lime Soap
Greek Olive Oil Mediterranean Sea Salt
Organic Oatmeal Soap with Mango Butter
Rainforest Copaiba Soap
Volcanic Ash With Patchouli Soap Bar
--Aged (Large Set) Sea kelp & Milk Soap...
Aged Large Castile Olive Palm Soap
Aged Large Greek Olive Oil Soap 12oz.
Artisan Soap Gift Set
Brazilian Espresso Coffee Scrub Soap Large Aged
Dead Sea Mud Soap Extra Large Limited Edition Aged
French Lavender Egyptian Geranium Aged Soap -
Geranium Large Soap Bar Artisan Aged
Handmade Soap Almond Hazelnut Aged Extra Large Bar
Jasmine & Lilac Soap Artisan Aged
Large Bar -Thai Lemongrass Soap ..
Large French Organic Coffee Soap
Large Goat and Organic Coconut Milk
Large Peppermint- Soap
Lavender Jasmine Aged Skincare Soap Bar -
Limited Edition Large Soap Goats Milk with Golden Blossom
Limited Edition Large Tea Tree Soap Bar
Limited Edition Organic Oatmeal Aged with Shea Butter Soap Bar
Limited Edition Soap . - Volcanic Ash with Patchouli
Provence Lavender Handmade Large Aged Limited Edition Soap
Rainforest Copaiba Soap Aged
Special Limited Edition Guinness Extra Stout and Oatmeal Soap
X-Large Aged Castile Olive Coconut Soap
--Aged (Large Set) Sea kelp & Milk Soap...
Aged Large Castile Olive Palm Soap
Aged Large Greek Olive Oil Soap 12oz.
Brazilian Espresso Coffee Scrub Soap Large Aged
Dead Sea Mud Soap Extra Large Limited Edition Aged
French Lavender Egyptian Geranium Aged Soap -
Geranium Large Soap Bar Artisan Aged
Handmade Soap Almond Hazelnut Aged Extra Large Bar
Large Bar -Thai Lemongrass Soap ..
Large French Organic Coffee Soap
Large Goat and Organic Coconut Milk
Large Peppermint- Soap
Lavender Jasmine Aged Skincare Soap Bar -
Limited Edition Large Soap Goats Milk with Golden Blossom
Limited Edition Large Tea Tree Soap Bar
Limited Edition Organic Oatmeal Aged with Shea Butter Soap Bar
Limited Edition Soap . - Volcanic Ash with Patchouli
Provence Lavender Handmade Large Aged Limited Edition Soap
Rainforest Copaiba Soap Aged
Special Limited Edition Guinness Extra Stout and Oatmeal Soap
X-Large Aged Castile Olive Coconut Soap
Artisan Soap Gift Set
Gift Basket Natural {Handmade Soap}
Jasmine & Lilac Soap Artisan Aged
Twelve Piece Skin Care Soap-Gift Set
Artisan Soap Gift Set
Gift Basket Natural {Handmade Soap}
Greek Olive Oil Mediterranean Sea Salt
Mother and Baby Bar Soap Gift -- 12 Bar
Twelve Piece Skin Care Soap-Gift Set
Beer Artisan Soap Stout and Oatmeal
Coffee Soap (Luxury-Soap)
Dead Sea Mud Soap with Dead Sea Salt
Espresso Scrub Soap with Coffee Butter
Greek Olive Oil Mediterranean Sea Salt
Soap on a Rope
-Twelve Piece Gentleman's Gift Set


www.naturalhandcraftedsoap.com