The New Era - All about Sweet Home since 1929

Museum harbors truths about lye and washerwoman blues


January 27, 2021

EAST LINN MUSEUM'S kitchen display provides a setting in which lye-based soap would have been a common article.

We hear the phrase "The more things change, the more they stay the same," and often we nod and echo, "Yes, yes."

Should we? Likely not.

Things do not hold steady and unchanged, as we can easily tell when we visit the East Linn Museum. While we wander through, if we pause to wonder, it's readily apparent much has changed regarding what we see around us. Take a little brochure entitled "The Truth About a Lye." Considering the spelling, l-y-e, we can realize it will be a caustic truth.

The lye in question was Lewis Lye, a product of the Pennsylvania Salt Manufacturing Company of Philadelphia....

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