Post Eagle Newspaper


Dec 8, 2023

45°F, few clouds
New Jersey

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The word for today is AMMONIA. This is a very pungent cleaning product of which we are all aware. Anyone can purchase a bottle of ammonia in most stores without realizing the etymological significance that dates back to ancient Roman times when woolen togas had to be cleaned. The Romans controlled most of the Mediterranean area before the birth of Christ and were aware of the various products that each country had to offer. In Egypt at the temple of ZEUS (JUPITER) AMUN, camel dung was collected and processed into what was known as the SALT OF AMMON. It was used by the Roman cleaners to wash and clean garments. This SALT OF AMMON had the power that AMMONIA has today. In Greek the word AMMOS means SAND. The temple was in the desert and the camel was always the main means of transportation, therefore, there was a supply of camel dung each day and the ingenious ancients made good use of it. The Romans also made use of urine and there was a big business in collecting urine from each household. This was sold to the shops that cleaned togas. The Emperor Vespasian even placed a special tax on urine. His son Titus, who later succeeded him, complained that the tax stunk. Vespasian held a coin up to his son’s nose and said, “non olet”. Translated it means – “this does not stink”.