Birdseye Clarence Frank
Clarence Frank Birdseye (1886-1956), 6th cousin 5x removed
Clarence Frank Birdseye was an American inventor who is considered the founder of the modern method of freezing food. In 1910 and 1911, while working in Labrador in the Dominion of Newfoundland (now part of Canada), Birdseye became interested in food preservation by freezing, especially fast freezing. He was taught by the Inuit how to ice fish under very thick ice. In -40°C weather, he discovered that the fish he caught froze almost instantly, and when thawed, tasted fresh. He recognized immediately that the frozen seafood sold in New York was of lower quality than the frozen fish of Labrador, and saw that applying this knowledge would be lucrative. Conventional freezing methods of the time were commonly done at higher temperatures, and thus the freezing occurred much more slowly, giving ice crystals more time to grow. It is now known that fast freezing produces smaller ice crystals, which cause less damage to the tissue structure. When ‘slow’ frozen foods thaw, cellular fluids leak from the ice crystal-damaged tissue, giving the resulting food a mushy or dry consistency upon preparation. Birdseye solved this problem. In 1922 Birdseye conducted fish-freezing experiments at the Clothel Refrigerating Company, then established his own company, Birdseye Seafoods Inc., to freeze fish fillets with chilled air at -45°F. In 1924 his company went bankrupt for lack of consumer interest in the product. That same year he developed an entirely new process for commercially viable quick-freezing: packing fish in cartons, then freezing the contents between two refrigerated surfaces under pressure. Birdseye created a new company, General Seafood Corporation, to promote this method. In 1925 his General Seafood Corporation moved to Gloucester, Massachusetts. There it employed Birdseye’s newest invention, the double belt freezer, in which cold brine chilled a pair of stainless steel belts carrying packaged fish, freezing the fish quickly. His invention was subsequently issued as US Patent #1,773,079, marking the beginning of today’s frozen foods industry. In 1930 the company began sales experiments in 18 retail stores around Springfield, Massachusetts, to test consumer acceptance of quick-frozen foods. Consumers liked the new products and today this is considered the birth of retail frozen foods. The “Birds Eye” name remains a leading frozen-food brand.
On my mother’s side: Clarence Frank Birdseye (1886 – 1956), 6th cousin 5x removed – Clarence Frank Birdseye (1854 – 1927) – Lucien Birdseye (1821 – 1896) – Victory Birdseye (1782 – 1853) – Ebenezer Birdseye (1757 – 1829) – Nathan Birdseye (1714 – 1818) – Joseph Birdseye (1681 – 1757) – Phebe Wilcoxson (1650 – 1743) – William Wilcoxson (1601 – 1652) – Timothy Wilcoxson (1638 – 1713) – Elizabeth Wilcoxson (1673 – 1762) – Elizabeth Hawley (1700 – 1779) – Elizabeth Newell (1721 – 1791) – Elizabeth Clark (1758 – 1840) – Betsy Andrews (1786 – 1856) – David Handley (1809 – 1895) – Elizabeth Handley (1837 – 1917) – Florence Henderson (1869 – 1956) – Florence Eugenie Watkins (1903 – 1985) – Penelope Jane Walholm (1939 – ) – Tor Martin (Majerus) Hylbom
On my mother’s side, he is also my:
- 7th cousin 5x removed through Thomas Welles (1590-1660) & Alice Tomes (1593-1646)
- 7th cousin 6x removed through John Birdseye (1571-1649)