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From: "Jack C. Thompson" <tcl@TELEPORT.COM>

Baking soda is a refined form of natron.  Natron is a naturally occuring
form of alkali which was used to treat linen cloth which was used to wrap
mummies in Egypt, thousands of years ago.

The linen lasted long enough to be snapped off the mummies and be shipped to
Europe to be made into paper during the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
The mummies, embalmed with a lot of gums and resins, were stuffed into train
engines to fire the boilers.  Some mummies were ground up and sold as a
water color pigment, but I digress.

(digressing further--)

Where were these trains? and why did they use mummies for fuel?  Where can I
read about this? (or find references to pass on to a friend's teenage son?)

Thanks in advance for any info,
Suzanne Denker
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