War times are innovation times. Napoleonic wars are a good example: the tin can, without which we can’t live nowadays, was thought of and developed at that time.
In the late 18th century the procedure was certainly rudimentary and it has developed enormously since then on, but the fundamentals were presented then by Nicolas Appert. He was a French manufacturer who had invented a method of preserving food in answer to a challenge made in 1795 by Napoleon, who was offering a 12 thousand francs prize to whoever helped him solve the problem of his soldiers’ starvation when they were away from home in combat.
Appert believed that the air rotted food and so he decided to insert it in hermetically closed glass bottles after having parboiled it in bain Marie. A year later food was still edible. The problem was glass… It broke easily and was too heavy.
It’s when the English come in the story… Namely Peter Durand, a merchant who patented a round steel container with a welded lid. It was easy to handle and to store.
The sole inconvenience was to open the tins… Nothing that a bayonet wouldn’t solve in war times. The can opener wasn’t discovered until around 1850 on the initiative of a North-American citizen, Ezra J. Warner.