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Chocolate and the Steam Engine

Chocolate and the Steam Engine

2023-05-28 15:45:00

It’s no secret that the Industrial Revolution allowed chocolate to turn out to be obtainable to the plenty. On the daybreak of this era, primary know-how used to create chocolate had barely modified from that utilized by the Aztecs, and even factories that produced chocolate did so by a labor-intensive course of carried out by hand in small portions (Coe and Coe 226). Because of this, its worth was prohibitive and chocolate remained a drink solely consumed by rich and aristocratic Europeans throughout the 17th and 18th century. Coe and Coe notice that “1828 marks the start of the fashionable period in chocolate making and manufacturing,” crediting Coenraad Johannes Van Houten’s hydraulic press for permitting the widespread manufacture of inexpensive chocolate for the plenty to be doable (234). This hydraulic press manufactured an affordable powdered cocoa by squeezing out extra cocoa butter and treating it with alkaline salts.

Nevertheless, I’d argue that the democratizing of chocolate really started fifty years earlier than, in 1775. In that yr, James Watt, a Scottish inventor, entered right into a partnership with businessman Matthew Boulton, which sparked the profitable commercialization of Watt’s steam engine (Scherer 167). Whereas one might not instantly affiliate steam engines and chocolate with one another, I consider it was certainly the steam engine that served because the catalyst for the unfold of chocolate consumption, and its significance certainly shouldn’t be missed. The steam engine was essential in mechanizing the method of grinding cacao seeds to provide chocolate. Earlier than the steam engine, cacao seeds have been floor in mills pushed by animal, wind, or water energy, and earlier than that they have been floor by hand with stones. The facility provided by the steam engine enabled chocolate makers to streamline chocolate manufacturing in bigger portions. In 1789, Joseph Storrs Fry bought a Watt’s steam engine to grind his cacao beans, thus sparking the method during which chocolate turned broadly inexpensive (Coe and Coe 227). Thus, it will be protected to say that the steam engine offered the platform during which Van Houten’s breakthrough was capable of spark this “fashionable period” of chocolate proliferation.

A James Watt steam engine identical to this one would’ve been used to grind cacao seeds in a well timed and environment friendly method.

Moreover, it’s unattainable to speak in regards to the unfold of chocolate to the plenty with out detailing the equally huge enhance within the consumption of sugar throughout the identical interval, as nearly all of these new strong chocolate snacks have been within the type of desserts. As soon as once more, the steam engine performed an important position within the unfold of sugar similarly. The primary try at making use of steam energy to sugar manufacturing was made by John Stewart in 1768 in Jamaica, and shortly after, steam changed direct firing because the supply of sugar warmth processing (Richardson 88). By 1810, steam energy was closely current all through the British and French Caribbean colonies, and the frequently advancing steam-powered technique of sugarcane milling made regular progress towards the older strategies all through the area throughout the nineteenth century, significantly within the Nice Antilles (Richardson 92). Not solely did the steam engine take away the necessity for cattle-driven mills, nevertheless it might additionally crush canes endlessly with good reliability, no matter wind circumstances or terrain. This industrialization of sugar processing by steam energy contributed to the plummeting in costs of sugar throughout the 1800’s, which in flip additionally contributed to the cheapening of chocolate.

Sugar cane mills have been used to fabricate sugar for processes various from squeezing juice out from the cane, boiling and filtering the juice, and additional separation and purification strategies to course of the ultimate sugar crystal product.

From sugar mills to textile factories, steam engines discovered many makes use of in a wide range of fields throughout the Industrial Revolution. The introduction of steam engines improved productiveness and know-how they usually have been ultimately utilized to transportation as effectively. Steam engines discovered their method into boats, railways, and highway automobiles, driving transportation prices down and contributing to a sequence response which in flip drove sugar, and due to this fact chocolate costs down. In 1825, George Stephenson created the primary public railway for steam locomotives, which coincided with the opposite innovations occurring concerning the manufacturing strategy of chocolate and allowed this newfound mass-produced chocolate to be transported on a widespread stage as effectively (Scherer 176).

The design of George Stephenson’s patent locomotive engine, inbuilt 1829, was utilized in successive locomotive steam engines all through the 1800’s.

The introduction of the steam engine supplies an instance of how modifications introduced by industrialization led to much more modifications in different areas. The steam engine was a precursor to many different superior applied sciences, together with Henri Nestle’s manufacturing of powdered milk in 1867 and  Rudolphe Lindt’s “conching” course of in 1879 (Coe and Coe 246). Thus, the steam engine served because the catalyst to creating all of the steps of the manufacturing of chocolate, from its preliminary grinding to its last transportation, simpler and cheaper. As we speak, gross sales attain over $100 billion a yr and  chocolate is taken into account a snack for the plenty. When contemplating how chocolate achieved such an in depth attain, it is very important take into account the integral position that the steam engine performed in its enlargement.

Coe, Sophie D., Coe, Michael D., 2013. The True Historical past of Chocolate. Thames and Hudson, London.

Richardson, Bonham (1992). The Caribbean within the Wider World, 1492-1992: A Regional Geography. Cambridge College Press, New York.

See Also

Scherer, F.M., (1965). Invention and Innovation within the Watt-Boulton Steam-Engine Enterprise. Expertise and Tradition, Vol. 6, No. 2.

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