July 3 , 1924 – Clarence Birdseye founds General Seafood Company
Ok so over the last 2 and a half years, while working in the market at Target, I have restocked plenty of bags of Birds-eye frozen vegetables. But never until I read this at on this day.com did I really know the origin of the name….
1924 – Clarence Birdseye founded the General Seafood Corp.
After I read the above event I immediately went to Wikipedia to discover more about Clarence Birdsye. What I discovered was that Clarence Frank Birdseye II was an American inventor, entrepreneur, and naturalist. Additionally, Birdseye is considered to be the founder of the modern frozen food industry.
About Clarence Birdseye
Clarence Frank Birdseye II was born on December 9, 1886 in Brooklyn. His parents were ) Clarence Frank Birdseye I
and Ada Jane Underwood. Hè died on October 7, 1956 at the age of 69.
It appears that Mr. Birdseye was one of those people with multiple talents. From Wikipedia….
Birdseye began his career as a taxidermist.He also worked in New Mexico and Arizona as an “assistant naturalist”, a job that involved killing off coyotes. He also worked with entomologist Willard Van Orsdel King (1888-1970) in Montana, where, in 1910 and 1911, Birdseye captured several hundred small mammals, and King removed several thousand ticks for research, isolating them as the cause of Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
Clarence Birdseye Explores Freezing Food
While on assignment from 1912 to 1915 in Labrador in the Dominion of Newfoundland (now part of Canada), he became interested in food preservation by freezing, especially fast freezing. From Wikipedia
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. His journals from this period, which record these observations, are held in the Archives and Special Collections at Amherst College…..
….In 1922, Birdseye conducted fish-freezin experiments at the Clothel Refrigerating Company, and then established his own company, Birdseye Seafoods Inc., to freeze fish fillets with chilled air at -43 °C (-45 °F).
Failure Leads to a New Process and Founding of the General Seafood Company
In 1924, his company went bankrupt for lack of consumer interest in the product. But like many inventors failure did not deter him. But led him to develop….
an entirely new process for commercially viable quick-freezing: fish in cartons, then freezing the contents between two refrigerated surfaces under pressure.
Which then lead to the creation of a new company General Seafood Corporation on July 3rd in 1924!
Finally, in 1929…..
….Birdseye sold his company and patents for $22 million to Goldman Sachs and the Postum Company, which eventually became General Foods Corporation, and which founded the Birds Eye Frozen Food Company. Birdseye continued to work with the company, further developing frozen food technology.
And like they say ” the rest is history”!
You van read more about Clarence Birdseye here at Wikipedia. Like the lady says in the Ancestry commercial “I had no Idea” Did you?