Today is the birthday of Walter Lincoln Scoville (AKA Wilbur Scoville), the creator of the original Scoville Organoleptic Test, which gave it’s and his name to the unit of measure we use today to rate the heat of Chillies.
100 Years ago in 1912 while working for Parke Davis, Wilbur developed the Scoville Organoleptic Test for measuring the strength or amount of capsaicin in a variety of Chilli Pepper.
“Scoville proposes the following practical method. Macerate 0.1 gm. of ground capsicum overnight in 100 mils of alcohol; shake well and filter. Add this tincture to sweetened water (10% sugar) in such proportion that a distinct but weak pungency is perceptible to the tongue or throat.” – Quote from excellent article by Dave DeWitt
For the rest of the non chilli-head world he is probably best know in for this book “The Art of Compounding” which was a standard work for Pharmaceutical Students and Pharmacists, first published in 1895, it went through 8 editions and was still in common use into the 1960’s
Born at the end of the American Civil War in Bridgeport, Connecticut on January 22 1865, he passed away in 1942 at the age of 77, he achieved many things in his life, but for us he is the man who gave his name to the Scoville Heat Scale. Happy Birthday Wilbur.
If you would like to know more about the life and times of Wilbur Scoville, I recommend you read Dave DeWitt’s excellent article on the Fiery Foods & Barbecure Supersite.