And whatever you might think of this exceptional topic,
it would be hard to dismiss the great utility of this compelling item.
There is of course, absolutely no doubt that it has been used to cleanse
the bodies of countless people across each of the four corners of the globe.
In fact, some people have said that it has graced the backs of Kings
and scrubbed the royal heinies of important Queens. One anonymous
British historian reported that Queen Edith of West Anglia was so enamored
with the object that it seemed to interfere with her ordinary marital duties.
And King Edmund the Elder was purportedly so enthralled with his collection
of royal sponges that he never ceased to keep them far from his bedside
whenever he slept alone at night.
But the illustrious sponge was hardly a commodity reserved for the upper crust.
Aficionados of natural history will point to the fact that it became widely used
by commoners several centuries ago. On the Greek Island of Crete, for example,
natural sponges have purportedly been widely available since antiquity. More recently,
in America the natural sponge industry has long been associated with Tarpon Springs, Florida.
This sleepy little town situated on the Gulf of Mexico has been noted for its effectiveness
in fishing for this unique little creature. Fisherman extracted the aquatic animal by two primary means.
They included both hooking and diving for sponge.
At the present time however, synthetic sponges have come to dominate the international market.
Popular forms of synthetic sponge are made from cellulose wood fibres or foamed plastic polymers.
Other categories of sponge include low density polyether, pva (very dense material with no pores)
and polyester. But in recent years, the sponge has taken a bad rap as individuals concerned
with the spread of bacteria and germs have noted that cellulose sponges are likely to provide a
comfortable environment for the growth of microbial toxins unless the sponge is treated between uses.
One form of sponge that has become immensely popular in recent decades is the "bug sponge".
This sponge was invented by Harold Brown in the 3 M Laboratories situated in St. Paul, Minnesota.
The main feature of this synthetic sponge is a special hard compound that allows drivers
to remove squashed insects from the respective windshields of their very own automobiles.
(Please note: Historical references to Queen Edith of West Anglia and King Edmund the Elder are of questionable veracity. The content was included for mild amusement rather than absolute historical truth.)