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Raclet Benoît

The French bailiff Benoît Raclet (1780-1844) got married in a family of winegrowers. He is regarded as the inventor of an effective measure to control the caterpillars of the dreaded Rebstockschädlings grape, which in the first half of the 19th century the vineyards of the Mâconnais badly damaged. The invention is due to good observation. The Raclets and the neighbors were attacked by the caterpillars (hayworm, Sauerwurm), only one Rebstock was intact. This was in front of the kitchen window, from which his wife always poured the hot water after rinsing. The floor regularly got a cast off. Raclet correctly concluded that the pests were scalded.

After some experiments, he built himself a portable boiler in which the water was heated with charcoal. With this he sprayed his vines in the winter with boiling water and killed in this way the under the bark overwintered moth worm larvae. The superstitious, uneducated and arch-conservative rural population deeply distrusted Raclet's activities. When he proudly announced the solution to the caterpillar problem in 1828, he was not taken seriously at first. It was only in 1842 that the "Méthode Raclet" finally gained official recognition and device manufacturers began to develop manageable, portable boilers. The government posthumously awarded Raclet the Order of the Legion of Honor. In 1864 his portrait bust was inaugurated in the village square of Romanèche-Thorins. Every year the "Fête Raclet" is celebrated.

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