In the latest episode of The Napoleonicise, Dr Kit Chapman, Marcus Cribb, Rachel Stark and Beatrice de Graaf join me to champion the causes of the steam engine, shrapnel, vaccination, and state police as the greatest invention of the Napoleonic era.
Listen at: https://anchor.fm/the-napoleonicist/episodes/The-Greatest-Invention-of-the-Napoleonic-Age-evadtu
You can support the podcast at patreon.com/thenapoleonicist
Eli Whitney's cotton gin (short for 'engine') was invented and patented in the 1790s. It separated the seeds from the cotton, thus eliminating a labor-intensive process.
Power loom (Edmund Cartwright, 1784/85) and Jacquard machine ( 1804/05), bike / "draisine" (Bt. v. Drais, ca. 1814, demonstrated his bike at the congress of Vienna), bivouac sacks (mentioned by the Markgraf Wilhelm v. Baden, according to him delivered to the Baden troops for the Russian campaign of 1812, I don't know who invented these sacks).
for re - enactment use I had straight shoes - they were most comfortable to wear.
1. Smallpox vaccine
2. Left and right shoes
Nicholas Appert's invention of a process for preserving food:
In 1795, the French government decided to do something about it. That year, the country was fighting battles in Italy, the Netherlands, Germany and the Caribbean, highlighting the need for a stable source of food for far-flung soldiers and seamen. France's leaders decided to offer a 12,000-franc prize through the Society for the Encouragement of Industry for a breakthrough in the preservation of food.
Nicolas Appert, a young chef from the region of Champagne, was determined to win. Appert, who had worked as a chef for the French nobility, dove into the study of food preservation. He eventually came up with a radical innovation: food packed in champagne bottles, sealed airtight with an oddly effective mixture of cheese and lime. Appert’s discovery built on earlier imperfect techniques, which either removed air or preserved food by heat but hadn’t managed to do both.
Running a bustling lab and factory, Appert soon progressed from champagne bottles to wide-necked glass containers. In 1803 his preserved foods (which came to include vegetables, fruit, meat, dairy and fish) were sent out for sea trials with the French navy. By 1804, his factory had begun to experiment with meat packed in tin cans, which he soldered shut and then observed for months for signs of swelling. Those that didn’t swell were deemed safe for sale and long-term storage.
In 1806 the legendary gastronomist Grimod de la Reynière wrote glowingly of Appert, noting that his canned fresh peas were “green, tender and more flavorful than those eaten at the height of the season.” Three years later, Appert was officially awarded the government's prize, with the stipulation that he publish his method. He did in 1810 as The Art of Preserving, for Several Years, all Animal and Vegetable Substances.
Oddly enough the can opener wasn't invented until 1858. I guess that's what the bayonet is for.
While not an invention, but a development from Indian rockets, Congreve's rockets, both land and naval, were a significant contribution to artillery, the naval rockets being much better and reliable, and much more accurate. Further, they didn't boomerang on their crews as the land rockets had a tendency to do.
Thomas Cochrane and his multiple inventions deserves a mention for this thread
Producing big quantity of sugar from the sweet turnip, with lasting effect till now.
Thank you again for your effort and to bring such interesting personalities into discussion - even more so that such dinosaurs like me who don't even know what twitter is - can listen to such high class discussion.
I would vote vor vaccination, though Beatrice de Graafs choice of police state is running closely behind. In fact I would even be more radical and giving Nabulieone the compliment to forge a system which could well serve any dictator as blue print of how running it.
About shrapnel, okay I can live with that - but otherwise in arms technology don't look at the Brits (Baker rifle nothing other than a rifled carbine) - it doesn't harm to look at other nations, breech loading carbine system Crespi, Giradoni air rifle, Grenzer Scharfschützen Doppelstutzen, self priming pan of Prussian, Austrian and Saxon muskets, Saxon Schnellladegeschütz - it would seem to be almost as the usual one dimensional Napoleon centered view of history ignoring other nations.
The semaphore telegraph was invented and put into a working tool for both naval and land based communication beginning in the 1790s during the French Revolution.
I'd vote for Samuel Bentham's 1797 invention of plywood. Ubiquitous even today and more useful than shrapnel.