Rene Antoine Ferchault de Reaumur in the 18th century. Cleverly, Reaumur coated eggs with simple varnish and found that they were good for up to two years.
Admiral Smyth discusses the process in The Sailor's Word Book, and it would be folly for me to try to paraphrase:
Reaumur varnished them all over, and thus preserved eggs fresh for two years; then carefully removing the varnish, he found that such eggs were still capable of producing chickens. Some employ, with the same intention, lard or other fatty substances for closing the pores [on the shell], and others simply immerse the egg for an instant in boiling water, by which its albumen is in part coagulated, and the power of exhalation thereby checked. Eggs packed in lime-water suffered to drain, have after three years' absence in the West Indies been found good; this does not destroy vitality.
An egg "found good" after sitting around in the heat and humidity of the Caribbean islands is almost a magical thing. It is interesting to note that Reaumur was born in the thriving port town of La Rochelle on the Bay of Biscay. One wonders if his experiments with the preservation of eggs did not stem, at least in part, from concerns or requests by seafaring relatives. Whatever the case, sailors made Reaumur's methods their own and, particularly on smaller vessels that could not accommodate live animals, that meant a morning egg at least now and again.
Header: Egg by Edward B. Lintott via Old Paint