This change had huge conse- quences. The manual extraction method known as “a spugna” (with a sponge), consisted of cutting the fruit in half, scraping out the pulp, and then press- ing the peel against a natural sponge, using a turning action to squeeze the essence out of the pores. The Bergamot oil, together with the liquid from the peel, was then squeezed into a receptacle known as a “concoli- na” (little bowl), and the essential oil was separated out and allowed to settle. This was the situation until 1844, when Nicola Barillà, a native of Reggio, introduced a radical new change to the industry by inventing the “macchina calabrese” (Calabrian ma- chine). This invention not only greatly reduced extraction times by streamlining the process, but also ensured a far better quality of essence than that obtained by the “sponge” method. Use of the Calabrian machine spread to all the Bergamot growers in the area, and production of the essence increased exponentially, leading to a growth in demand by the cosmetics industry and the major perfume houses. Thus the Bergamot entered the era of modern industrial production. In just a few years, extraction of the essence became com- pletely mechanised, thanks to the introduction of “pelatrici” (peelers). These machines rasped the surface of the fruit and then sprayed it with water. The resultant emulsion was collected in centrifuges, where the essence became separated out due to the difference in specific weight. Even though the ma- chinery is now more advanced and sophisticated, this same process is still the one generally used today.

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