Lloyd Augustus Hall

June 20, 1894 – January 2, 1971

Lloyd Augustus Hall invented a number of ways to better preserve food. During his career he amassed 59 U.S. patents. Many food preservatives used today were pioneered by Dr. Hall's methods. Before his research, most preservation was done with salts and it was difficult to keep foods from spoiling without making them taste bitter. In 1932 he found a way to use a combination of salt with tiny crystals of sodium nitrate and nitrite that suppressed the nitrogen that spoiled food. This patented method of curing meats is still used today.

Hall also proved that some spices exposed food to microbes that sped up the process of food spoiling. This was contrary to beliefs at the time, which held that spices acted as food preservatives. To address this issue, Hall created a system to sterilize spices by using ethylene gas in a vacuum chamber that was later adapted by the food, drug, and cosmetic industries.

More about Hall:

  • Biographical Snapshots of Famous Women and Minority Chemists: Lloyd Augustus Hall
  • The Faces of African American Science: Lloyd Hall

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