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Ammonium Chloride, one of the most common goods on the Silk Road

Author:   Date:2015-5-20 14:42:20   Visits:
For many the “Silk Road” conjures images of tea, porcelain, and silk of ancient China. However, do anybody have any idea with the connection with ammonium chloride and the Silk Road?
In one media interview, James Blake Wiener of the Ancient History Encyclopedia speaks with Professor Valerie Hansen, author of The Silk Road: A New History and Professor of History at Yale University. One of their dialogue revealed you the merchandising of ammonium chloride as early as in the Silk Road. 
JW: Professor Hansen, I was surprised to learn that one of the most common goods on the Silk Road was ammonium chloride. I am no chemist, but i thought that ammonium chloride was used only in fireworks and cough medicine! How was it used on the Silk Road and from where was it exported?
VH: Ammonium chloride, sometimes called “sal ammoniac,” had multiple uses: as a leather-softener; as a flux to lower the temperature of metals; and for dying textiles. Much of it came from modern-day Uzbekistan.  
Now, every time people refer to me about the Silk Road, i’ll think of Ammonium Chloride, what a magic!


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