Baking soda has a long history that stretches all the way back to Ancient Egypt. Ancient Egyptians used a product called natron, which contained baking soda. Natron was used for assorted purposes, including for preserving mummies and for cleaning teeth. The first synthetic baking soda was not made until the late in the 18th century when a French chemist named Nicolas Leblanc invented a process for making it with sodium chloride (table salt). In the 19th century, two bakers from New York would utilize Leblanc’s method and use to make baking soda that they sold under the brand name Arm & Hammer.
Today, Arm & Hammer is the best known brand of baking soda in existence. At around the same time, Alfred Bird would create the first baking powder formulation. This formulation would include baking soda along with an acidic ingredient since baking soda has to react with an acid to provide leavening. In Bird’s product, the two ingredients had to be kept separate until they were to be used. In 1856, Eben Norton Horsford would come up with his own baking powder formulation in which the acidic ingredient and baking soda were kept together.