Nowadays, almost everybody relies on frozen foods. And thanks to Clarence Birdseye we now have selections that are not just fast and easy, but delicious ones too!
Birdseye may not be the one who actually invented the concept and process of frozen foods, but he’s the one who transformed it into something beautiful and beneficial.
With the mind of a business leader, Birdseye founded his own company, Birdseye Seafoods Inc ., which would later become General Seafood Corporation.
Now you know it as General Foods Corporation.
Clarence Birdseye – A Quick Flash of Chilly Inspiration
Great ideas usually start with somebody noticing something. It all began in 1916 while Birdseye was doing his research in Canada. He noticed that the freshly caught fish became instantly frozen because of the ice-cold wind.
Later, when the fish was thawed and cooked, Birdseye couldn’t help but feel awed because the fish still tasted so good. This made him think about the quick-freezing process.
Clarence Birdseye later concluded that conventional freezing leads to the formation of large ice crystals. This is bad because the cellular structure of the food is damaged when this happens. Birdseye thought that flash-freezing is the answer to this problem.
He began to develop this concept commercially in 1922 and started Birdseye Seafoods, Inc., which started processing chilled fish fillets. In 1924, Birdseye got a copyright for a system he instigated. The system called for fresh fish to be pressure-frozen between 2 metal plates at -50, and he used this process to begin General Seafood Corporation in Gloucester, Massachusetts.
Unfortunately, not everybody was taken to the idea of flash-frozen foods. In fact, Birdseye was approaching bankruptcy in 1926 when he suddenly met Ed Hutton, a board member of Postum Co. Postum believed in Birdseye’s system and Birdseye needed the distribution power of Postum.
Postum then bought out General Seafood Corporation for $22 million and became General Foods Corporation. This is the largest sum ever paid for a patent during this time. Birdseye remained head of Research and Development.
The Clarence Birdseye Quick Bio
Full Name: Clarence Birdseye
Birthdate: December 9, 1886
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York
Company: General Seafood Corporation
Key Success Traits: intelligent, an undeniable risk-taker, a man of curiosity, a man ahead of his time
Birdseye is really an inventor at heart. He kept himself busy by developing an infrared heat lamp, the food-dehydration process, and a whaling harpoon. In 1956, he died with 300 patents to his name.