Nicholas Appert was a French inventor who lived from 1749 to 1841. At the beginning of his working career he wasn’t sure what he wanted to be and started off as a hotel-keeper. Eventually he became a brewer, and then later found his calling as a chef and a confectioner in Paris. When Napoleon Bonaparte offered 12,000 francs to anyone who could make a practical method for preserving food for the military, Appert started on the project. In 1795 he invented airtight food preservation.
Appert discovered that boiling food inside the container was a way of keeping it fresh, not yet realizing that heat killed bacteria which would later be discovered by Pastuer. He would take large, open glass bottles, fill them with uncooked food product and cork them tight with a little air left on the top. He would wrap the bottles in canvas and then boil them until he thought the particular food product inside was cooked. Though Appert did not invent the tin-canning method known more widely today, he was the first to “can” food resulting in it sometimes being referred to as “appertisation”.
Nicholas Appert: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Appert_Nicolas.jpg
One of Appert’s Glass Jars: http://i238.photobucket.com/albums/ff144/ventouse/06b_bouteille.jpg