Following one’s curiosity is much more fun than taking things easy
Clarence Frank "Bob" Birdseye II was a scientist, inventor, and entrepreneur. His career began in New Jersey, but after college, he travelled widely working for the US Agricultural Department. As a naturalist, he helped isolate the dangerous infection known as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever from ticks.
But Clarence Birdseye is most famous for devising a method of fast-freezing fish. He learned this concept from the local Inuit people he met on assignment in Labrador. He noted how quickly the fish froze and how its texture was not ruined by large ice crystals. This was a great improvement on conventional commercial methods of the day.
With this knowledge, he formed the General Seafood Corporation and revolutionised food production. He later sold the company for $22 million, but it was branded Birds Eye in his honour.
Fast-freezing food had an effect far beyond our enjoyment of the fish finger. Thanks to his pioneering work, the world could enjoy a better diet. In his lifetime he patented over 300 inventions, most aimed at improving food production.
Clarence Birdseye died in 1956 of a heart attack but his legacy of convenient and nutritious foods lives on in our supermarket shelves.