A Packaging Father

Frank W. Cyr.
Willis Carrier.
Jim Fixx.
All three of these men have something in common: they are all fathers.
And while it’s possible they all had children (as is common practice among humans), they are known as fathers of different fields.
Frank is the Father of the Yellow School Bus, Willis is the Father of Air Conditioning (thank you, Willis), and Jim is the Father of. . .Jogging.
Everything has an origin, and that certainly applies to the packaging industry.
By the late 1700s, Napoleon Bonaparte was well-versed in battle and in leading throngs of men. Napoleon, an ambitious and skilled military leader, wanted a more effective way to feed his troops while on their campaigns.
In his time, smoking, drying, and pickling were common ways to preserve food. Those methods, however, were not practical for feeding a vast number of men.
So, to better equip his forces, Napoleon issued a challenge––12,000 francs to anyone who could concoct a better way to preserve food for travel.
A few years prior to Napoleon’s request, a French chef and confectioner had begun to experiment with ways to preserve different foods.
His name was Nicolas Appert, and he already had some success in preserving soups, vegetables, juices and such. Appert would place the consumables in glass jars, seal them with cork and wax, and then place them in boiling water.
Continuing to experiment over the next several years with other products (meat, fruit, veggies, and milk), he formally submitted his innovative process to the French government.
After agreeing to make his techniques public, Nicolas was awarded the 12,000 francs in 1810.
While the delicious and portable food did not help Napoleon achieve victory in Russia, Nicolas Appert achieved his title as the Father of Canning.
So next time you swallow a scrumptious gulp of grandma’s canned peaches, you should say, “Thank you, Nicolas!”
Just don’t say it out loud.
Your grandma might think you’ve lost it.

Know of any other packaging fathers?
Tell us about them!

Nicolas Appert, the Father of Canning

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