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Clarence Birdseye

Birdseye, Clarence, 1886–1956, American inventor and founder of the frozen food industry, b. Brooklyn, N.Y., studied at Amherst College. From 1910 he worked as a naturalist, and in 1912 he went to Labrador on a fur-trading expedition. After he returned to the United States in 1916, he began experimenting with freezing foods, aiming at commercial application. He developed a method for freezing fish and in 1924 he was one of the founders of the General Seafood Company, which began manufacturing various fast-frozen food products. In 1929 the company was bought by the Postum Company (later the General Foods Corp.) for $22 million. By 1949, Birdseye had perfected the anhydrous freezing process, reducing the time needed for the operation from 18 hr to 11/2 hr. A prolific inventor, he held more than 200 patents.

See biography by M. Kurlansky (2012).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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