Man's physical universe

xanabras

UNIT X

SECTION 5

THE UTILIZATION OF NATURALLY OCCURRING SOLU-

BLE SALTS HAS CONTRIBUTED MUCH TO MAN'S PHYSI-

CAL WELFARE

Introduction.

Tremendous amounts of salts, such as sodium chloride, bromide,

iodide, fluoride, sulfate, carbonate, borate, phosphates, and similar

salts of potassium, magnesium, and calcium have been dissolved by

water during the ages and carried to the oceans or inland seas. In

some places these inland seas and portions of ancient oceans dried up

to leave vast deposits of these soluble salts. These salts have found a

wide variety of uses in modern civilization. Perhaps the most characteristic

ones are those which are involved in man's modern emphasis

on cleanliness.

Common Salt Has Played an Important Part in the History of the

Human Race.

The Romans found salt so necessary to the efficiency of their far flung armies

that each soldier was provided with a special ration of it, or with the means of

purchasing it. This stipend was called salarium argentum, and from it springs

our English word "salary." The expression "he is not worth his salt" also

traces back to this source.^

From time immemorial heavy taxes on salt or government monopolies

have been important sources of revenue. During the Middle Ages

in Europe thousands of people every year were subjected to the lash or

the rack or sent to the galleys for illegal preparation of salt. It was

illegal for anyone to prepare salt from sea water for his own use or

even to save the water in which salt meat or fish had been cooked. The

salt used in the leather industry was poisoned like our denatured

alcohol is today to prevent its internal use.

Salt has never been taxed by the Government of the United States

' Taken from Sail — Its Romantic History, Its Refining and Its Many Uses, an excellent

reference for a more detailed study of salt, published by the Worcester Salt Company, New

York City.

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