wilbur scoville

History Haiku – January 22 – Birth of Wilbur Scoville

Polaroid of abstract peppers overlaid with the words of the poem in white letters

snow covered
the ground
like milk the
sun was a red
crescent a
chili pepper
spicing the
air with a
baby’s cry

Wilbur Scoville was born on January 22, 1865 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. A pharmacist by training, he wrote a celebrated pharmacy textbook and won many awards for his research – but he is best remembered for devising the Scoville Scale, which is still in use today for measuring the spiciness or heat of chili peppers. One could argue he made possible such things as chili pepper eating contests and our cultural awareness of different kinds of peppers and their spice levels. It is interesting to think of the effect that the attempt to quantify something has on our perception of it!