Invention of preserving

Physics, inventors and Napoleon I.

Preserving food was ever since a human basic need. Provisions gave people a certainty in times of starvation.

Precursors of preserving from ancient to modern times

Before WECK invented its preserving method that was considered the most efficient one man used other techniques to conserve food. In ancient times food was conserved drying it in the shadow, jerking it in the sun, salting it, putting it into a brain, vinegar water or sugar water.

Varro, a Roman writer and poet who lived from 116 to 27 BC, described something that reminds a kind of preserving, but in the end it's just a kind of thickening and salting. According to Varro's descriptions Romans used to place fruit into unfermented and thickened grape juice or into brains that were stocked in closed clay jugs. Partially the stalks of the fruit were dipped into boiling tar and stocked in dark places.

On the way towards the invention of preserving

The technical base for the invention of preserving was just found in the modern era. Nevertheless more than 200 years had to pass before preserving, as we know it today, was finally invented.

Otto von Guericke

Otto von Guericke who was born in 1602 and died in 1686 is one of the pioneers on the way to the invention of preserving. The German scientist disovered the possiblity of a vacuum and started several experiments. The most famous one took place in 1654 in Magdeburg.

Denis Papin

Denis Papin who was born in 1647 and died in 1712. The French scientist who came to Germany to teach at Marburg university was the first one who created a vacuum using water steam. Thanks to this innovation we know it's possible to boil water at temperatures that are higher than 100°C if the pot is completely sealed.

François Nicolas Appert

Nicolas Appert is the man whose idea was an important step towards the invention of preserving. He won the prize for "the art of preserving any vegetable or animal substance at its original freshness", as stated in the act of concession. Appert was asked to transcribe his knowledge in a cookbook which appeared already in 1822 in the Mörschner and Jasper editions, Vienna, in the German version under the title of "The art of the preservation of all vegetable or animal substances from meat, poultry, game, fish to vegetable toppings and cakes through medicinal plants, fruit, meat jellies and fruit juices, besides beer, coffee, tea, etc. without losing one gram of freshness and flavour”. In full honours Nicolas Appert died in Paris in 1841 at the age of 91.

Louis Pasteur

Anyway Appert had in practice favoured the discovery of Louis Pasteur, French chemist and bacteriologist who was born in 1822 and died in 1895. Pasteur often referred in his scientific works to Appert's experiments. The difference between the two scientists is the fact that Pasteur discovered yeast bacteria in the air and tried to make them harmless by leaving them for a few moments at a temperature of 70°C while Appert noticed by practice and experience that food had to be sterilised, i.e. to be boiled at 100°C to achieve a sustainable preservation.

With Guericke's and Papin's discoveries, Appert's experiments and Pasteur's scientific reports all necessary conditions were gathered to finally discover the WECK sterilisation process. The German company patented its WECK preserving method, the invention of preserving as we know it nowadays.