Mouriés, Hippolyte Mège

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b. 24 October 1817 Draguignan, France
d. 1880 France
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French inventor of margarine.
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The son of a schoolmaster. Mouriés became a chemist's assistant in his home town at the age of 16. He then spent a period of training in Aix-enProvence, and in 1838 he moved to Paris, where he became Assistant to the Resident Pharmacist at the Hotel Dieu Hospital. He stayed there until 1846 but never sat his final exams. His main success during this period was with the drug Copahin, which was used against syphilis; he invented an oral formulation of the drug by treating it with nitric acid. In the 1840s he took out various patents relating to tanning and to sugar extraction, and in the 1850s he turned his attention to food research. He developed a health chocolate with his calcium phosphate protein, and also developed a method that made it possible to gain 14 per cent more white bread from a given quantity of wheat. He lectured on this process in Berlin and Brussels and was awarded two gold medals. After 1862 he concentrated his research on fats. His margarine process was based on the cold saponification of milk in fat emulsions and was patented in both France and Britain in 1869. These experiments were carried out at the Ferme Impériale de La Faisanderie in Vincennes, the personal property of the Emperor, and it is therefore likely that they were State-funded. He sold his knowledge to the Dutch firm Jurgens in 1871, and between 1873 and 1874 he also sold his British, American and Prussian rights. His final patent, in 1875, was for canned meat.
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Principal Honours and Distinctions
Napoleon III awarded him the Légion d'honneur for his work on wheat and bread.
Further Reading
J.H.van Stuyvenberg (ed.), Margarine: An Economic, Social and Scientific History, 1869–1969 (provides a brief outline of the life of Mouriés in a comprehensive history of his discovery).
AP

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

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