Clarence Birdseye

Clarence Birdseye was an American inventor, naturalist, and entrepreneur.

He made one of the biggest innovations and contributions to the food industry when he found a way to flash-freeze food.

He did this all on his own and he is the man responsible for the flash-freezing method that is still used up to this day.

Clarence Birdseye was born on December 9, 1886 in Brooklyn, NY.

His parents were Ada Jane Underwood and Clarence Frank Birdseye I. he was the 6th of 9 other kids.

He was a student at Amherst College but only for a brief amount of time as he dropped out around the year 1908 although the exact date is unclear.

It wasn’t because he was mentally slow by any means but he and his family really did not have the funds for college. He got a job in Arizona and New Mexico and his title was “assistant naturalist”.

This job required him to kill coyotes.

He also worked with entomologist Willard Von Orsdel King in 1910 and 1911.

On the job, Birdseye would catch about several hundred small mammals and King would remove ticks from them for research purposes.

In the year 1922, he began a series of fish-freezing studies at the Clothel Refrigerating Company.

He established his own company soon after and called it Birdseye Seafoods Inc. what they did was they froze fish fillets using chilled air that was as cold as -43C.

Two years later, in 1924, his company filed bankruptcy as there was a lack of consumer interest in their product but that did not stop him.

In that same year, he came up with a brand new process that made for commercially viable quick-freezing which involved packing fish inside cartons then putting them between two refrigerated surfaces under pressure to free the food.

With this new invention, he also started a new company which he called General Seafood Corporation.

General Seafood was the beginning of a food industry that has since become massive.

A look in the refrigerated section of any local grocery store will reveal a stunning variety of delicious frozen foods.

There will be many types of fish, the food item that started it all, and dozens of meat and poultry foods as well as French fried potatoes, milkshakes, and complete breakfasts and dinners.

There are even pizza combinations and other specialty frozen foods waiting for consumers.

Recently, chain hamburger and hot dog companies began supplying their products in frozen form to supermarkets.

This huge industry began with the discoveries of Clarence Birdseye.

Birdseye was a hard worker who was always thinking of new ideas.

Even as he was perfecting his freezing techniques, he was also working on other food items.

In the late 1930s, he perfected and patented a new food dehydrating process.

However, he was so busy with his frozen food ideas that he didn’t begin marketing the dehydrating idea until 1946.

Before his death in Springfield, Massachusetts, on October 8, 1956, at the age of 70, Birdseye realized that his discovery on the cold tundra of the Arctic had grown into a highly successful business.