Gelatine – Yesterday, today and tomorrow

The production of gelatine-like substances can be traced back to the age of the Ancient Egyptians. Sources also show that in centuries past, delicacies such as trout or fruit in gelatine were considered a special treat at feasts. Today, the all-rounder is used in various economic sectors and for a wide range of products. It is of especial importance to the food, pharmaceutical and photo industries. In the future, gelatine will continue to be the starting material for innovations in a diverse range of sectors to sustainably protect health, nature and the environment.

Infographic about the history of gelatine
  • 8000 - 4000 years ago

    Gelatine-like mixtures and collagen produced from  animal tissue were used as a natural glue beginning with the cave dwellers up until the ancient Egyptians. However, the first patent for a gelatine-based adhesive was only granted in England in 1754.

  • 500 years ago

    Pickled dishes with "glittering calves'-foot jelly" were commonly served at the banquets of King Henry VIII of England.

  • 1682

    The French mathematician Denis Papin invented a pressure cooking pot called a “digester” and described a cooking process in which he tried to obtain a jelly-like mixture from bones.

  • 1803 - 1815

    During the Napoleonic Wars, gelatine experienced its first major boom when it was used as a source of protein during the sea blockade by the British navy.

  • 1833

    Gelatine began to be used in the medical sector to cover the unpleasant taste of medicinal substances and to enable swallowing after the young pharmacy student F. A. B. Mothes invented an instrument to make gelatine capsules. The one-piece gelatin capsule has since become a well-established pharmaceutical item. 

  • 1875

    This year is considered to be a milestone in modern gelatine manufacture. Thanks to the emergence of small factories, it was now possible to manufacture large quantities of gelatine industrially. 

  • 1880

    Ready-to-use dry photographic plates coated with gelatine emulsion became available – taking the complexity out of photography through the introduction of negatives.  

  • 1914-1945

    During World War I, the use of gelatine-based substances as blood replacement agents or plasma expanders was intensively researched. In World War II, this method was used on a large scale. As of 1940, gelatine sponges became indispensable as hemostatic agents against surgical bleeding. 

  • 1970-1990

    As a "liquid protein", gelatine experienced a surge in demand in the growing beauty & healthcare sector.

  • Today

    Gelatine is an indispensable all-rounder used in countless products and applications. Gelatine or gelatine-based products play a major role in the production process across all industries.

  • Future

    Gelatine has many successful and well-known uses in a wide range of fields – from cosmetics and food preparation to pharmaceutical and medical applications. And as a versatile natural product, gelatine continues to inspire researchers and scientists all over the world to discover new and often unexpected uses.