Tekniska Museet
100 Innovations - Tekniska museet

An exhibition at the National Museum of Science and Technology in Stockholm, 2012 – 2018

The soap

Soap

Ingress för att beskriva innovationen

The soap

Apocalypse, a Swedish design company, has invented soaps that are made of purified vegetable oil from one of Malmö’s falafel sellers. TM45120. Photo: Anna Gerdén

The soap

Lid label from a box of soap made by the Swedish company Barnängen around 1900. Photo: Archives of National Museum of Science and Technology.

Kort fakta om innovationen

Kort fakta (2) om innovationen

Rubrik för små genier

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The soap

Washing is essential for good health. We used to clean ourselves with ash, pumice or olive oil. Soap is a mixture of vegetable oils and lye. It was invented nearly 5,000 years ago. In soap there are tensides. They reduce the surface tension of water so that it can foam. The use of soap meant that particles of dirt could swim freely in the water and be easily rinsed away.

In medieval Europe the Church considered it was sinful to wash yourself. Soap was a luxury until industrial manufacturing got going in the 1800s. The soap Lux has been promoted since the 1930s by stars like Joan Crawford and Elizabeth Taylor. During the Second World War  synthetic materials started to be used in soap. Nowadays consumers would prefer to have natural ingredients.

Rubrik för nördar

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