Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Boraxo Soap: A Short History

The history of Boraxo soap is fascinating. It all began with one Francis Marion Smith who established the first successful borax mining operation in 1872 at Teel's Marsh, Nevada. Francis left Wisconsin for the West to prospect for minerals at the age of 21. He staked his claim with his brother Julius to a borax mine at the edge of a marsh. The borax works seperated impurities from the borax crystals. The brothers shipped their product by mule train, the origin of the now famous 20 mule team that is the symbol of Boraxo and other Borax-based products to this day. One of the routes led them across the formidable Mojave Desert through what known as Death Valley. The 20 mule team became famous in their own right and went on tour in the late 1800s.

Francis worked several other borax operations, hauling the mineral by mule train until it was possible to transport by train.

Today, the Borax company and Boraxo powdered hand soap are owned by Dial. Who would have thought that such a wonderful product would have such humble beginnings?

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