Clarence Birdseye: The Curious And Instinctive Man Who Invented Frozen Food

Have you ever wondered what mechanism lies behind making frozen food so delicious and nutritious? How did Clarence Birdseye, the initiator of frozen food, come across an idea so impressive?

Birdseye was born in Brooklyn, New York on 9th December, 1886. He attended Amherst College, with the intention of becoming a biologist. But he did not graduate.

Instead, he went to work for the U.S. Biologist Survey as a field naturalist. As a young engineer in Labrador, Birdseye often froze his fishes after a long day of fishing to keep it fresh.

During his years as a naturalist, he was sent to the Arctic by his supervisor. His task was to do research on the ways of the Native Americans who lived there. Not only that, Birdseye also had to trade furs.

Here Is How Clarance Birdseye, The Man Who Invented Frozen Food, Found Inspiration For His Invention…

There, he found that the combination of ice, wind, and low temperature in the Arctic froze anything left exposed, almost instantly. Slow freezing attempts had resulted in the formation of large crystals, which transformed the food. And so, it could never be eaten.

Birdseye worked in various federal departments from 1917-1925, while working on his freezing methods. He knew frozen food would be in demand if he could figure out exactly how to accomplish the freezing.

In September 1922, Birdseye returned to New York City and formed his own company, Birdseye Seafoods, Inc. His journey to a successful invention was not an easy one. Birdseye used to do petty jobs to pay for his tuition and even traded fur for a long time. Though he had the courage to take risks and bring a change, he knew the drawbacks. All because his idea was not something new to the people.

He was aware of the fact that efforts to freeze meat and veggies commercially in the US had failed because food did not keep their flavour and texture. When he organised his own company, his early efforts were going to face a failure. He was unable to convince the shoppers, grocers and housewives that his quick-frozen fish was different than the dry, tasteless food created by traditional, slow-freezing technique. The company soon went broke. Birdseye continued to work hard on perfecting the quick-freeze machinery.

The Man Who Invented Frozen Food Never Gave Up. And That Is The Secret To His Success!

In 1924, he developed a process of packaging dressed fish or other food in cartons, then quick- freezing the contents between two flat, refrigerated surfaces under pressure. Realizing that he had discovered the basis for an entirely new type of freezing operation, Birdseye decided to form a new company to capitalize on his invention.

Birdseye had discovered the secret to safely freeze food. After two years of experimentation, he tried wax-packing dressed fish and other foods in cartons. The ‘double-plated’ freezer was the solution! The faster the ice crystals form, the smaller they are, and the less damage inflicted on the product.

Clarence Birdseye, who invented frozen food, left a mark on the way the entire world consumes and transports food, without forgetting the health factor. By the World War-2, canned goods were sent overseas and American soldiers were encouraged to purchase frozen food.

I do not consider myself a remarkable person. I am just a guy with very large bump of curiosity and a gambling instinct.” –Clarence Birdseye

image source