SALT. Common salt is produced from rock salt, or from natural brine from wells or springs, or by the evaporation of sea water. It is put up for the market in various ways, the most convenient for handling being bags of three pound size.
A writer in the New England Grocer says : "Soon after the foundation of Rome the salt works of Ostia were established at the mouth of the Tiber ; the price demanded for salt was so extor tionately high that nearly a century later the right of vending was transferred to the Roman government, and private individuals were forbidden to engage in its preparation. The revenue de rived from this source was very great and contributed materially to the support of Rome. Venice, in more recent times, was noted for her salt works, to which was ascribed much of her maritime power. In the Bible, salt is frequently spoken of, and the ex pression, "Ye are the salt of the earth," is familiar to all readers.
Modern scientists give as one argument that salt is not a prime necessity as a condiment or an antiseptic, that it was little, if at all, used by the North American Indians previous to their ac quaintance with the Europeans and their method of living. It is said that they used in its place the ashes of hickory. The native Peruvians obtained their salt from salt springs near the ancient city of Cuzco, and the Florida natives from the Arkansas River. De Soto's historians allude to salt mounds in their accounts of his famous expedition, and the New York Indians procured salt at Onondaga long before the settlers commenced its manufacture.
The exclusive right to manufacture salt in Massachusetts was given to Samuel Winslow in 1641. Despite this grant, salt works wcro set up all along our coast, the great demand for the article being to supply the fisheries then beginning to assume considerable magnitude. The Plymouth Colony, as an auxiliary to the fish eries, commenced the first manufacture of salt in the northern colonies, but shortly after the same business was inaugurated at the site of the present city of Portsmouth, N. H. The Virginians
had commenced the manufacture as early as 1620. Thus it would seem that this was one of the very first industries of the colonial settlers. In 1633, Massachusetts colony was compelled to import salt from Virginia.
Common salt is simply chloride of sodium, being a compound of one atom of chlorine and one atom of sodium. It is very seldom found in a pure state, the principal impurities being sulphate of lime, clay, and oxide of iron. It is found native in the earth, or it is produced by evaporation and crystallization from water im pregnated with saline properties. In sea salt the impurities are salts of magnesia and sulphate of lime. The purest rock salt is considered the best of all, the sea salt next, and then that obtained from saline springs. The water of the ocean is said to contain 33.8 parts of salt in 1,000, or about 4 ounces per gallon. A bushel, therefore, could be obtained from 325 gallons. The Medi terranean sea contains more salt than the ocean, while the Dead sea is famous for its large proportion of salt, the water being so dense as to render it impossible for a person to sink in its depths.
Our climate is favorable to the manufacture of salt by evapora tion, and since 1629, when the Cape Cod fishermen obtained their supply in this way, it has been a great source of our supply. At one time, upon Long Island, salt was made by exposing sea water, in shallow vats, to the action of sun and wind ; this was known as the solar method. We use salt obtained from sea or spring water for culinary purposes, but in Holland they consider that it must be re purified and re-crystallized before it is fit for use. It is now the almost universal practice in this country and Great Britain to evaporate the brine by boiling, The old windmills on Cape Cod still stand, and remind us of the days when they pumped water from the ocean into wooden vats where salt was made.