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Antoine-Augustin Parmentier

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An agriculturist, born at Montdidier, 17 August, 1737; died in Paris, 13 Dec., 1813. Left an orphan at an early age, he was compelled before taking a college course to become a pharmacist, in which capacity he joined the army of Hanover in 1757. Taken prisoner several times in the course of this service, he profited by his captivity in Prussia to gain knowledge which he later put to valuable use. He resumed his studies, on his return to Paris in 1774, and was appointed pharmacist at the Hôtel-des-Invalides. At this time, he introduced the use of potatoes as food in France. He also promoted the improved cultivation of maize and chestnuts, and tried to reform the methods of baking. During the Revolution he had charge of the preparation of salted provisions, and manufactured a sea-biscuit. He wrote a number of books on horticultural and agricultural topics, which betray his lack of early education. André Parmentier (1780-1830), who attained distinction as a horticulturist in the United States was a collateral relative.

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