Sugar beet factory, 19th century

Sugar beet factory, 19th century

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Credit: CCI ARCHIVES/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Sugar beet factory. 19th century artwork of machinery and workers at a sugar beet factory. Sugar beet is a crop cultivated for its high sugar content. The roots of the plant are chopped and boiled in water to extract a sugary juice that is then processed further to produce sugar. Although an ancient crop, it was not until selective breeding in the 18th century that the sugar content increased enough to justify industrial processing. The world's first sugar beet factory opened in 1801 in Silesia, in what is now Poland. Artwork taken from Grands Hommes et Grands Faits de l'Industrie (Great Men and Great Facts of Industry), France, circa 1880.

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