Salamandra, Mountain Leather and Rock Floss – The Folklore of Asbestos

Asbestos has actually been regarded as a valuable utility for its hearth resistant properties for more than three,000 a long time. This value was not before long diminished, Despite The truth that the adverse results were apparent Nearly promptly immediately after its discovery. It absolutely was only as recently because the dawn of 20th century that there’s been any sort of consensus on just what the fibrous stone product basically is. Though We all know asbestos nowadays to become the lifeblood of a slew of specialised attorneys, it used to be An important place of speculation among mystics, naturalists, slaves and kings alike. It could ultimately take many hundreds of a long time to know what asbestos seriously was, but in interim we had been established to understand it. This can be what folklore is for.


Salamanders really are a seemingly unlikely place to start out, but they’re actually integral to the folklore of asbestos. Some swift study reveals the phrase “Salamander” is derived from persian this means “fire in”. This might not appear to have A lot relevance right until you understand that salamanders have been regarded as “hearth elementals,” this means which they require only fire for sustenance. It will not halt there though, salamanders basically may happen to be one among antiquity’s most wildly misunderstood creatures. They have been considered miraculous, unsafe creatures who ended up born from blistering bonfires and who could lay whole armies to squander with their poison. When it had been identified that 1 could weave a fabric from asbestos that couldn’t be destroyed by a hot hearth, the fibers had been regarded as the fur of the salamander. Not surprisingly, even when salamanders did have fur, it would be Secure to wager that nobody understood what it appeared like. This myth remained exceptionally well-known till Marco Polo place an close to it right after owning frequented a chinese asbestos mine and deducing that it was truly a stone that was dug out in the earth.

Grifters and Pranksters

Several myths encompassing asbestos are not a lot about asbestos itself, but rather the way in which individuals utilised it. There was plenty of wiggle area back in historic periods when it came to utilizing a cloth that would not burn up in a hearth. One particular well known group of pranksters, aptly called “The Human Salamanders”, was especially famous for using hearth-evidence asbestos based outfits to try and do nuts issues such as roast handheld steaks although standing inside an open up flame. Other folks experienced a lot more nefarious intentions, advertising fireproof robes allegedly obtaining belonged to christ was Particularly frequent at the hours of darkness ages. Asbestos, It is origins, mythology and probable takes advantage of at some point came to get acknowledged in so numerous ways, throughout lots of cultures that it absolutely was soon interpreted as a number of diverse substances entirely with names like Salamandra, Mountain Leather-based and Rock Floss.

The Disease of Slaves

This last little bit of folklore, regretably, turned out to generally be absolutely precise in hindsight. It was considered a fantasy, but word in historic greece was that the slaves that had labored while in the asbestos mines weren’t truly worth obtaining due to their short everyday living expectancy and their inclination to build pulmonary centered ailments. Initially, in advance of it was recognized for it’s exceptional properties, asbestos was worn Just about completely by slaves. Nonetheless, it absolutely was before long utilized specifically for royalty. Asbestos came for being weaved into napkins, tablecloths and accustomed to make wicks for candles. The effect on the slaves and staff who had no alternative but weave The material was greatly noticed. What was in all chance Mesothelioma was then termed “the disease of slaves”. It may be said that a priority was established for asbestos exposure becoming deemed a inadequate gentleman’s dilemma as early as historical Rome.

Seems there was not Substantially still left for being clarified about asbestos after the salamander fur fantasy was debunked. In the long run It can be defining attributes stood out appropriate from the beginning. It cannot be burnt in a fire and it’ll kill you. Hindsight is 20-20 and still, asbestos even now appears otherworldly hellish. But This really is and normally has actually been the principal role of folklore, to rework and diminish the things which terrify us. Perhaps someday being a Modern society we are able to inevitably keep away from this stuff completely and leave the salamander fur in the ground the place it belongs.

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