1795 Sterilization process for preserving food introduced

‘An army travels on it’s stomach’, so Napoleon said and seeing so many of his troops suffering from diseases that had more to do with hunger and scurvy than with battle wounds, he determined to do something about it.

    • The French government offered a prize of 12,000F to the person who could invent a method for preserving food so that it could be taken into battle with the troops.
    • Nicolas Francois Appert, a Parisian and maker of various brews and confections, experimented with the idea that if wine was spoiled by air, why shouldn’t food be?
    • He put partially cooked food into bottles, sealed them and then placed them in boiling water for twelve hours to expel the air.
    • He won the prize and his food was dispatched with the French navy, who all thought it jolly good.

The health of the troops improved, so did their moral and it quite possibly gave Napoleon a distinct advantage on the battle field.

To find out more about inventions and innovations that changed the course of events visit the Science and Innovation theme

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