Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About

Also known as “artificial butter,” “red butter,” “moonshine butter,” “city butter,” “margarine butter,” “oleomargarine,” “oilymargarine,” and “butterine,” this shortening compound was introduced by Hippolyte Mège-Mouriès, a French chemist, in response to Napoleon III’s call for a butter substitute suitable for field soldiers. Mège’s 1867 process was patented in England in 1869 and in the United States in 1973. At about the same time, a similar process was patented by Henry E. Bradley of Binghamton, New York (U.S. Patent #110-626, 3 January 1871).