Chevreul, Michel Eugène

SUBJECT AREA: Chemical technology
b. 31 August 1786 Angers, France
d. 9 April 1889 Paris, France
French chemist who made significant research contributions to scientific knowledge in the field of colour contrast and standardization and demonstrated the chemical nature of fats.
Between 1811 and 1823, Chevreul's work on the fundamental basis of fats led to a great improvement in both the quality of wax candles and in the fats used in the manufacture of soap, and this had considerable advantageous implications for domestic life. The publication of his researches provided the first specific account of the nature of the fats used in the manufacture of soap. His work also led to the development and manufacture of the stearine candle. Stearine was first described by Chevreul in 1814 and was produced by heating glycerine with stearic acid. As early as 1825 M.Gay Lussac obtained a patent in England for making candles from a similar substance. The stearine candle was much more satisfactory than earlier products; it was firmer and gave a brighter light without any accompanying odour. Chevreul became Director of Dyeing in 1824 at the Royal Manufactory of Gobelins, the French national tapestry firm. While there, he carried out research into 1,442 different shades of colour. From 1830 he occupied the Chair of Chemistry at the Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle in Paris.
Further Reading
G.Bouchard, 1932, Chevreul (biography).
Albert da Costa, 1962, Michel Eugène Chevreul: Pioneer of Organic Chemistry', Wisconsin: Dept of History, University of Wisconsin.

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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  • CHEVREUL, MICHEL EUGÈNE —    a French chemist, born at Angers; an expert in the department of dyeing, and an authority on colours, as well as the chemistry of fats; was director in the dyeing department in the Gobelins manufactory; he lived to witness the centenary of his …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

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  • Michel-Eugene Chevreul —     Michel Eugène Chevreul     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► Michel Eugène Chevreul     Chemist, physicist, and philosopher, b. at Angers, France, 31 August, 1786; d. at Paris, 9 April, 1889. His father was a physician, who had himself been an… …   Catholic encyclopedia

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