Who invented the non-stick pan?
"At the root of this culinary miracle is Tetrafluoroethylene, Teflon™ to those in the know."
If fried eggs have been sliding happily into your pan without the addition of oil since 1956, it’s thanks to Marc Grégoire. A flashback is necessary. Indeed, at the origin of this culinary miracle, there is Tetrafluoroethylene, Teflon™ for the intimate ones, discovered by chance by engineers of the Dupont de Nemours group.
"Gas with incredible properties that it even ends up being used for atomic bomb seals."
It is an odorless gas with incredible properties: when cooled, it resists everything. So much so that it was even used for the joints of the atomic bomb. Mr. Grégoire, an engineer at ONERA (1) has more peaceful aims when he decides to exploit the properties of this material. This fishing enthusiast is quite proud of his find: he coats his rod rings with Teflon™ so his line glides better.
"Colette, the wife of the inventor, would like her husband to take an interest in more crucial problems."
But Colette, his wife, would like her husband to take an interest in more crucial problems: his pans that stick. Milk boils in a saucepan, when he gets the idea to use that famous Teflon™. He called the Parisian office of Dupont De Nemours to obtain this miraculous material in liquid form and to coat the bottom of pans and pots. We willingly give him a stock, laughing a little at him, because the product does not fit anything. Mr. Gregoire has the ingenious idea of dropping drops of hydrochloric acid on the bottom of the pans so that the Teflon will adhere. No manufacturer believes in his invention, no matter, he produces it, sells it himself on the street under the name of Téfal (contraction between Téflon™ and aluminum). The result: since 1956, more than one billion pans have been sold worldwide. Here is a patent that has made life easier for the couple Gregoire.
(1) National Office of Aerospace Studies and Research.