NaCl - SALT... made the world go round.... 




The physiological requirement by the human body is immediate and life sustaining .   Without salt any animal including the human animal would die and the importance of salt to any civilisation may not be underestimated. In comparison many other everyday uses are today taken for granted. In ancient times, before any chemical analysis was possible, experience and wisdom, was necessary to discern the purity of the salt  for use with the many every day specific applications.  To sustain a growing population,  more salt was required. The fact that salt may have been available or was relatively easy to produce was a basic condition  which allowed a population to increase and develop. . Where salt was not available..... populations stagnated and even disintegrated

Rome did not really fall ... it was moved to Byzantium -Turkey where the salt supply was relatively available from the Cappadocia region - the Tatta - TUZ GOLU salt lake and the Danube delta



Some of the industries allied to the availability of salt, gave certain populations with enough salt, and a steady reliable supply of salt, the chance to take enormous leaps into a new world of culture, health, and well being.

HISTORICAL Uses of salt 
Country                    U.S.A                Germany         France
Period                     1950                    1900               1750

  Food                     700,000 tons      450,000 tons    80,000 tons
  Meat                     1,000,000 tons 
  Livestock              800,000 tons       100,000 tons
  Miscellaneous       3,250,000 tons 
  Leather                 250,000 tons       30,000 tons 
  Soda chlorine       10,000,000 tons   400,000 tons 
Overall use             16,000,000 tons  1,200,000 tons  180,000 tons
Inhabitants              180,000,000       60,000,000 tons 25,000,000 tons
Salt used  person    88                        20                     7.2    (kg) per year 






  • Ephesus - Pharmacy shop

  • Patio process - silver mining

    Until the Spanish conquest, and before 1500, the main uses of salt in Mexico, and mesoamerica, ware physiological, ritual and as a preservative for fish. These ensured the high living standards of the Maya. The Spanish took over the numerous salt sources, and in a fell swoop, took control of this part of the continent. A process developed in Mexico, was the Patio process used to leach silver from ore, with a sodium solution. This became a major industry, and the demand for salt became greater. Although some salt had to be imported, the huge capacity of the local evaporation sources of Yucatan, did keep pace.


    The most important chemical activity was the making of alkali. When mixed with fat, alkali could be used to make soap, and mixed with lime and sand could be used to make glass.

    Tanning industry

    With the advent of an agricultural society, the provision of meat products with the necessary protein content, had to be centralised and distribution of a 'safe' to consume meat, ie: dehydrated carcass was monopolised by those who controlled the salt supplies. This gave rise to a 'tanning' industry, a direct bye-product, from the 'abattoir'. Hides were a primary commodity, for everyday products, shoes, clothes, and military protective accoutrements.

    Grandmothers's uses

    Over the ages, thousands of other uses seem to have given salt a reputation which in today's environment, and technological advance, make us smile and which we probably take "with a pinch of....." However many of these 60 'secrets' were daily practice. Altogether it's believed there are more than 14,000 uses of salt, and our grandmothers were probably familiar with most of them. Many of these uses were for simple things around the home before the advent of modern chemicals and cleaners. However, many uses are still valid today and a lot cheaper than using more sophisticated products.

    End uses and chemistry of salt

    Nutrient or Flavour
    baking, breakfast cereals, butter and cheese, canning, cattle blocks, flour mixes, heat tablets, isotonic solutions, livestock feeds, oleomargarine, pickles, potash substitute, salted nuts, table salt, spices and flavouring
    cheese making, cucumber salting, fish bait curing, fish curing, hay preserving, hide curing, meat curing, sausage casings
    Food Processing Material
    blanching seafood & vegetables, chicken de-boning, crabmeat pickling, egg preservative, fish striking agent, gravity separation, oyster shucking, wine stabilisation, yeast processing
    Chemical Manufacturing
    Calcium hypochlorite, Chlorine dioxide, Sodium chlorate, Sodium fluosilicate, Sodium hypochlorite, Sodium perchlorate
    Freezing Point Depressant
    coal antifreeze, highway de-icing, ice cream making, ice manufacture, iron ore antifreeze, refrigerating brines, refrigerating cars
    Metallurgical Processing
    chloride roasting, drawing lubricant, foam killer, heat treating baths, iron ore cementation, metallurgical flux, mill scale remover, molten metal cover, rare metal refining, sink and float baths
    Miscellaneous Processing
    artificial seawater, coal briquettes, dehydrating agent, dye processing, dyestuff carrier, electrolytic milling, emulsion breaker, etching aluminium foil, herbicides, ion exchange regeneration, leather tanning, rubber coagulant, soap salting-out agent, soil stabiliser, starch manufacture, synthetic leather manufacture, textile dyeing, tile glazing, water softening, weed killing
    , well drilling fluids.
    Soda Ash - Na2 CO3
    abrasives, adhesives, batteries, ceramics, cleansers, cosmetics, degreasers, dyes, explosives, fats and oils, fertilisers, fire extinguishers, inhibitors, insecticides, leather, metal fluxes, ore refining, paint removers, paper, petroleum, pigments, soap, textiles, water softeners
    Sodium - Na
    bactericides, case hardening, cosmetics, detergents, dye fixation, dyes, flour conditioning, fumigation, heat transfer, ore refining, organic synthesis, paints, pharmaceuticals, photography, pigments, plating salts, pulp bleaching, starch conversion, tetraethyl lead, textile bleaching, titanium metal, zirconium metal
    Sodium Sulphate - Na2 SO4
    ceramics, detergents, dyes, explosives, fertilisers, metal fluxes, paper, pharmaceuticals, photography, pigments, plating salts, rubber, soap, textiles
    Hydrogen - H2

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