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Hippolyte Mège-Mouriés

Hippolyte Mège-Mouriés (Draguignan 24 October 1817 - Paris 31 May 1880) was a French chemist who invented margarine.

He was born as Hippolyte Mège, the son of a primary school teacher, but later added his mother's surname to his own. In 1838, Mège obtained a job in the central pharmacy of the Hôtel-Dieu hospital in Paris and started to publish original contributions in applied chemistry.

Mège focussed on fat processing in the 1860's, which culminated in 1869 in a patent for margarine. His invention involved mixing processed beef tallow with skimmed milk, and resulted in a cheap but qualitatively good substitute for butter 'for the working class and incidentally the Navy'. Mège received a prize from the French government, formally led by Emperor Louis Napoleon III. In 1871, Mège sold his invention to the Dutch firm Jurgens, one of the pillars of Unilever.

Sources

  • H. McGee (1984), On food and cooking: The science and lore of the kitchen, Charles Scribner, New York.

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