Monday, December 9, 2013
December 9 - Clarence Birdseye
Naturalist, inventor and businessman Clarence Birdseye II was born on December 9, 1886, in Brooklyn, NY, the sixth of nine children. He initially practiced taxidermy and worked at various wildlife jobs, including isolating ticks as the cause of Rocky Mountain spotted fever. In 1912, he went to Labrador in northeastern Canadian to buy and sell fox furs. There he experienced his first insight about flash-freezing foods. Fishing with the Inuit in extremely cold weather, he discovered that the fish he caught froze almost immediately and, when thawed, tasted fresh. Only small ice crystals formed on the fish, and their cell walls remained intact. In 1925 he founded General Seafood Corporation, focusing on Birdseye's process using chilled stainless steel belts to quickly freeze fish. Later he extended the process to include meat, poultry, fruit and vegetables. In 1929 he sold the company to what became General Foods Corporation, which established Birds Eye Frozen Foods. Birdseye also held patents on a light bulb, a whale-fishing harpoon and an infrared heating process.