French Eco-Innovation Through The Ages

In recent years France has taken the reins in leading the march for sustainability. More sustainable legislation has been passed under President Macron than ever before. In 2018, French brand Vinci built the world’s first fully recycled road between Pons and Saint-Aubin and in 2016 France became the first country to ban supermarkets from throwing away or destroying unsold good quality good.

But this is not just a recent trend for the country; sustainability and innovation are as French as La Marseillaise. Join us as we explore French inventors and their sustainable creations throughout the ages.

Augustin Mouchot and the first solar-powered engine

Mouchot was born in Semur-en-Auxois, France, in 1825. He was a mathematician and physicist who obtained his qualifications in 1852/3. As Europe surged forward into the Industrial Revolution, Mouchot became increasingly concerned with the use of coal. He was convinced that the fossil fuel would run out (!!) and began to explore alternative energy sources.

In 1860 he started to explore solar cooking, collection the steam which he used to provide power for a small steam engine.

By August 1866, Mouchot had created the first parabolic trough solar collector, which he presented to Napoleon III in Paris. He continued to work on his solar experiments, increasing the scale and publishing his first book on solar energy. The largest solar-powered steam engine he ever built was displayed in Paris until the city fell under siege in the Franco-Prussian War in 1871.

Nicolas François Appert and his canning technique

In terms of the sustainable food revolution, there is one name we’re sure you will have heard of; Louis Pasteur. Pasteur invented pasteurization in 1865 to ‘cure the diseases of wine’ - so French.

But he is not the only name worth knowing in food preservation. Nicolas François Appert was a confectioner who responded to Napoleon’s request for food preservation techniques at the time of the Napoleonic wars in 1800. Napoleon was desperate for a technique to feed his army "when an invaded country was not able or inclined to sell or provide food.”

Appert had devised a method of heating, boiling and sealing food in airtight glass jars - which is much the same as the method we use today for canned food - whilst he did not win the prize in 1800, in 1810 the Bureau of Arts and Manufactures of the Ministry of the Interior gave Appert an ex gratia payment of 12,000 francs on condition that he make his process public.

Appert went on to set up La Maison Appert, in the town of Massy, near Paris, making them the very first french sustainable food brand in the world.

Fast forward to today and there are plenty of sustainable french brands out there. From sustainable french fashion to sustainable french accessories.

Here at AWAKE, we’re proud to be a small part in a rich history of sustainable french brands and innovation.

We make sustainable french watches, which all use solar-power just like our forebear Mouchot.

Our sustainable watches are the perfect accessory. They are aesthetically beautiful, without damaging the environment in any way. The materials which make up our French sustainable watches are all fully recycled and you can buy all of our watches online.