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Clarence Birdseye

Clarence Birdseye Clarence Birdseye (1886–1956) was an American inventor and businessman. He invented the "flash-freezing" method by which foodstuffs were frozen quickly, ensuring they remained fresh to eat after they had thawed out. Birdseye began his career as a naturalist. Working in Labrador, Canada in 1912–15, he learnt from the native Inuits that, in temperatures of –40°C, any fish that they caught froze almost instantly—and, when later thawed, they tasted fresh. This gave him the idea for his invention.


Fast freezing

The patent for Birdseye's double belt freezer Food freezing in the early 20th century was usually done at higher temperatures, so the freezing occurred more slowly and the food did not taste fresh on thawing. Fast freezing, it was later discovered, produces smaller ice crystals which cause less damage to living tissue. In 1925, Birdseye's company, the General Seafood Corporation, started using Birdseye's invention, the double belt freezer, in which packaged fish was frozen quickly using brine (salty water) while compressed between two refrigerated surfaces. The process was quickly extended beyond fish to the rapid freezing of meat, poultry, fruit and vegetables.

Birdseye's first company, Birdseye Seafoods Inc., went bankrupt in 1924 because of lack of public interest in his frozen fish.

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