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The Magical Egg Oven of Ancient Egypt

It is no surprise that there are many amazing things the Egyptians have to offer us: their mathematical knowledge, invention of the papyrus, and their beautiful art. But there is one thing that "Egypt ought to be prouder of them than her pyramids," said French entomologist René Antoine Ferchault de Réaumur in 1750, and that is the Egyptian egg incubators, invented some 2,000 years ago.

Many have been amazed by this ingenious method of the Egyptians, such as Aristotle. Some have even called it supernatural!

From the outside, many incubators looked like smaller, more rounded versions of the pyramids. They sat upon rectangular brick foundations, and had conic-shaped chimneys with a circular opening at the top. That thousands of eggs could be hatched in a single oven was an impressive feat, considering that a broody hen can only hatch up to 15 eggs at a time. Incubator hatching also meant that hens could spend more time laying eggs.
Exactly how workers operated the ovens is much less clear. According to some scholars, Egyptians were very secretive with egg ovens.

See the egg-cellent method of egg-hatching of the Egyptians over at Atlas Obscura.

(Image: Lenny Hogerwerf/Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations)


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