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Clarence Birdseye

Frozen Foods

U.S. Patent No. 1,773,079
Inducted in 2005
Born Dec. 9, 1886 - Died Oct. 7, 1956

Clarence Birdseye improved the nation's diet and created a new industry based on his innovative food preservation processes.

During an expedition to Labrador, a young Birdseye observed native fishermen freezing their catch by throwing it on surface ice. The fish were frozen quickly in the frigid air, and Birdseye recognized that the speed of freezing prevented frost damage. He later observed that slowly frozen food created large ice crystals, whereas rapid freezing retained close to the original flavor and texture.

In 1924 Birdseye launched General Seafoods to sell frozen fish. Two years later he introduced a quick freeze double-plate machine and in 1930, the first retail frozen products were introduced to consumers in Springfield, Massachusetts. To help sales efforts, Birdseye created and leased special display cases which showcased the products. He is known for developing many other pioneering processes. Today, Birds Eye Foods continues Birdseye's legacy of innovation in frozen food.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Birdseye studied at Amherst College before working at numerous biological departments within the U.S. government. He is credited with increasing the quality of the American diet by providing high quality foods for long-term preservation without drying, pickling or canning.

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