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Weird Facts about
Morton® Salt

  • Morton Salt is named for company founders Joy and Mark Morton.
  • An advertising agency developed the famous umbrella girl trademark, depicting a little girl standing in the rain with an umbrella over her head and holding a package of salt tilted backward with the spout open and the salt running out.
  • Joy Morton's son, Sterling Morton II, president of the company, suggested the slogan "When It Rains It Pours" to convey the message that Morton salt would run even in damp weather.
  • In 1879, Joy Morton, one of four sons born to J. Sterling Morton and acting Governor of the Nebraska territory, invested $10,000 to become a partner in E. I. Wheeler & Company, a Chicago company acting as an agent for Onondaga Salt. Following Wheeler's death in 1885, Morton acquired his partner's interest and, with his brother Mark Morton, formed Joy Morton & Co. which soon became one of the largest producers of salt and the only nationwide salt company. In 1910, the partnership, which had acquired several other salt companies, became the Morton Salt Company.
  • In 1912, Joy Morton developed Morton's Table Salt, a new, free-running salt packed in a blue and white cardboard canister with an aluminum pouring spout, invented by J. R. Harbeck.
  • The first written reference to salt is found in the Biblical story of Lot's wife, who was turned into a pillar of salt when she disobeyed the angels and looked back at Sodom.
  • The expression "He is not worth his salt" originated in ancient Greece where salt was traded for slaves.
  • Roman soldiers were paid "salt money," salarium agentum, the origin of the English word salary.
  • The superstition that spilling salt brings bad luck may have its origins in Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper which depicts an overturned salt cellar in front of Judas Iscariot. The French believed that throwing a pinch of salt over the shoulder would hit the devil in the eye, preventing any further foul play.
  • The timeless Morton Umbrella Girl has been updated with new dresses and hairstyles five times since she first appeared in 1914. She was updated in 1921, 1933, 1941, 1956, and 1968.
  • Salt has an estimated 14,000 specific industrial applications, including general food seasoning, curing of animal hides, the preparation of saline solutions, the manufacture of chlorine gas (to make plastics, insecticides, synthetic fibers and dyes), and the manufacture of sodium hydroxide (to make rayon, explosives, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals).
  • Salt inhibits the growth of bacteria, yeast, and molds, working as a natural preservative in butter, margarine, salad dressings, sausages, cured meats, and various pickled products. Salt also plays a key role in the leavening of bread, the development of the texture and rind of natural cheeses, the bleached color of sauerkraut, and the tenderness of vegetables.
  • Morton International is the number-one salt company in North America and the only nationally distributed salt in the United States.


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