Read the following passage and answer the questions given that follow.
An excavation of ancient Babylon revealed evidence that Babylonians were making soap around 2800 B.C. This is the first concrete evidence we have of soap-like substance. The early soap makers were Babylonians, Mesopotamians, Egyptians, as well as the ancient Greeks and Romans. All of them made soap by mixing fat, oils and salts. Soap wasn't made and used for bathing and personal hygiene but was rather produced for cleaning cooking utensils or goods or was used for medicine purposes. The early references to soap making were for the use of soap in cleaning wool and cotton used in textile manufacture and was used medicinally for at least 5000 years.
Soap is a product for cleaning made from natural ingredients that may include both plant and animal products, including items as: animal fat, such as tallow or vegetable oil, such as castor, olive, or coconut oil. Soap supposedly got its name from Mount Sapo in Rome. The word ‘sapo’, Latin for soap, first appeared in Pliny the Elder's Historia Naturalis. The first soap was made by Babylonians around 2800 B.C.
Soap making history goes back many thousands years. In the early beginnings of soap making, it was an exclusive technique used by small groups of soap makers. The demand for soap was high, but it was very expensive and there was a monopoly on soap production in many areas. Back then, plant byproducts and animal and vegetable oils were the main ingredients of soap. The price of soap was significantly reduced in 1791 when a Frenchman by the name of LeBlanc discovered a chemical process that allowed soap to be made cheaply and sold for significantly less money.
More than 20 years later, another Frenchman identified relationships between glycerin, fats and acid — what marked the beginning of modern soap making. With this discovery of another method of making soap, soap became even less expensive. Since that time, there have been no major discoveries and the same processes are used for the soap making we use and enjoy today.
Advances came as the science of chemistry developed because more was understood about the ingredients. In the mid-nineteenth century, soap for bathing became a separate commodity from laundry soap, with milder soaps being packaged, sold and made available for personal use. Liquid hand soaps were invented in the 1970s and this invention keeps soaps in the public view.
Today, there are many different kinds of soaps made for a vast array of purposes. Soap is available for personal, commercial and industrial use. There is handmade, homemade and commercially produced soap, there is soap used to wash clothes, dishes and cars, there is soap used for your pet, soap for your carpet and also soap for your child.
The main theme of the passage is:
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