Friday, April 15, 2016

First commercial manufacturer of artificially carbonated water

Thomas Henry (26 October 1734 – 18 June 1816), a Manchester apothecary, is generally credited to have been the first commercial manufacturer of artificially carbonated water in the late 1770s.

In 1781, Thomas published a paper titled ‘An Account of a Method of Preserving Water at sea, to which is added a Mode of Impregnating Water in large Quantities with Fixed Air. For the Use of the Sick on Board of Ships and in Hospitals’.

His recipe, slightly modified, is a s follow: to every gallon spring water add 1 scruple of magnesia, 30 grains of Epsom salt, 10 grains of common salt and a few pieces of iron wore or filings. The operation was then to proceed impregnating the water with fixed air.

He improved and developed Nooth’s design to make an apparatus capable of carbonating batches of up to 12 gal. The product was sold in tightly corked glass bottles. (John Mervin Nooth is known for developing the technique for duplicating mineral water in 1775)

Henry recommended consumption of lemon juice and soda water for the stomach but did not state whether the two were combined.

Henry regarded mineral water as a medicine and he gave his customers strict instruction on its use. Take four ounces at a time, he would tell them, and make sure the bottle is kept tightly sealed so that the gas does not escape.

By the late 1770os he was also selling artificially manufactured Pyrmont and Seltzer waters that is, imitations of the naturally occurring spa waters.

Thomas Henry’s method worked, but it required the use of cumbersome equipment,

In the 1780s a professor of chemistry named Torbern Bergman proposed a simpler method for producing carbonated water by combining lime juice and sodium bicarbonate.
First commercial manufacturer of artificially carbonated water

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