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24 October 1817
|Died||31 May 1880
He was born as Hippolyte Mège, the son of a primary school teacher, but later added his mother's surname to his own. In 1838, Mège obtained a job in the central pharmacy of the Hôtel-Dieu hospital in Paris and started to publish original contributions in applied chemistry.
Mège focussed on fat processing in the 1860s, which culminated in 1869 in a patent for margarine. His invention involved mixing processed beef tallow with skimmed milk, and resulted in a cheap but qualitatively good substitute for butter 'for the working class and incidentally the Navy'. Mège received a prize from the French government, formally led by Emperor Louis Napoleon III. In 1871, Mège sold his invention to the Dutch firm Jurgens, one of the pillars of Unilever.
He was buried near his wife and son, in the Père Lachaise Cemetery in France.
- H. McGee (1984), On food and cooking: The science and lore of the kitchen, Charles Scribner, New York.