Specimens of early tinned food, c 1899-1902.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Seven tin cans containing foodstuffs dating from the Boer War (1899-1902). Nicholas Appert, a French chef, was the first to perfect the technique of heating food to high temperatures to kill bacteria and then preserving it in airtight containers in 1810. Appert used glas jars sealed with cork, but the following year, two Englishmen, Donkin and Hall, developed tin vacuum cans and set up the first food canning factory.