French chemist H. Mège-Mouriès invented margarine
in the late 1860s. A melted fat blend was churned with milk and
salt, chilled to solidify the mixture and kneaded to a plastic consistency.
The edible fats used in the manufacture of margarine have varied
widely; animal fats were predominant in earlier times but vegetable
fats, principally cottonseed, soybean, coconut, peanut, corn oil
and palm oil have gradually replaced them.
of the whale oil used in margarine production came from the Antarctic
rather than from the Greenland industry and peaked in importance
in the 20th century.
order to make whale oil into an edible fat for human consumption
it had first to be made solid This was achieved by hydrogenation
of the double bonds between carbon atoms in unsaturated
fatty acids. This rendered the liquid oil solid and
removed the dark colour and fishy taste and odour. The process consisted
of blowing hydrogen through the oil in the presence of nickel as
produced an edible fat with a melting point of ca 45 degrees C.
By 1930 it was possible to produce a margarine that melted at 30
degrees and which would therefore melt in the mouth. This greatly
increased the demand for whale oil and by 1960 it was making up
17% of the total fats used in margarine production. Today, whale
oil is no longer used in the manufacture of margarine, having been
replaced by vegetable oils.
Creamine Factory was a margarine and artificial cream factory, dating
from the pioneering days of margarine manufacture in Scotland. Small
margarine and bakers' cream factories were not unusual in Scotland
before improved distribution systems allowed the large English companies
to dominate this market.
View of Creamine Factory, Inverness, 1890s
Margarine "Sunbrite" manufacturer, Kilmarnock, 1954