Nicolas Appert Nicolas Appert (1749–1841) was a French confectioner and chef. In 1795, he began experimenting with ways to preserve foodstuffs such as soups, juices, vegetables, jams and jellies using glass jars sealed with cork and wax. The jars were then placed in boiling water—effectively sterilizing the food inside, decades before French scientist (1822–95) Louis Pasteur demonstrated how heat killed bacteria. In 1795 the French military offered a cash prize of 12,000 francs for a new method to preserve food. Appert eventually won the prize in January 1810. He then patented his invention and established a business.
A canning factory, 1898In 1810, English merchant Peter Durand patented his own preservation method, but used tin-plated cans instead. His method, obtained from French inventor Philippe de Girard (1775–1845), was to place food in the containers, seal them, boil them in water, then open and seal them once more. Durand sold his patent to Bryan Donkin and John Hall in 1812, who set up a canning factory the following year. In 1822, Appert himself changed from using glass jars to tin-plated cans instead.
Nicolas Appert successfully showed it was possible to preserve an entire sheep by his method.
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