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January 29, 2022

Meet Joseph Strobl, an Expert Soap Taster at the Los Angeles Soap Company, California, 1934

Testing soap by taste was one of the chief duties of Joseph Strobl, chief soap maker for a Los Angeles company, in 1934. He sampled the cooking product much like an expert chef. Chemical tests took too long at critical stages and are said to be less accurate than Strobl’s tongue.

By sampling the contents of the huge caldrons in which the product is made, Joseph Strobl can tell whether the mixtures have been sufficiently “cooked” and are done.

Despite its apparent crudity, this test is said to show the amount of free alkalinity in the soap with high precision, revealing in a moment what would otherwise require three to four hours’ laboratory work. The value of this time-saving is shown by the fact that Strobl tastes 70 samples every day.


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