Science: Chemistry in Warfare

The late fantastic T. E. Lawrence (Seven Pillars of Wisdom) once observed: "The invention of bully-beef has modified land-war more profoundly than the invention of gunpowder . . . because . . . range is more to strategy than force."

Beef preserved in glass or tins is a chemical achievement. When the U. S. entered World War I, the problem of getting food across the Atlantic was as important as shipping men and arms. Meats were smoked, beef was boned, vegetables were dehydrated, vinegar was concentrated, fruits were dried, coffee was condensed into soluble cubes. A billion tin cans...

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