Clark Benson, chairman emeritus of Heat and Control, Hayward, Calif., passed away on Easter at 95.
Clark Kertell Benson, engineer, entrepreneur, family man and former chairman of Heat and Control, Inc., Hayward, Calif., died peacefully on Easter morning, April 24.
Recipient of the Snack Food Association's Circle of Honor award and holder of 24 patents, Benson became interested in mechanical engineering at a young age and graduated as a mechanical engineer from Cogswell Polytechnical College in San Francisco. He began work developing combustion controls for commercial boilers and ovens. As an engineer at Natural Gas Equipment in 1939, one of his first jobs was to apply a gas burner system to a steel kettle for batch frying potato chips.
In 1950, he joined Heat and Control and began developing cooking systems for the fast-growing snack, French fry and frozen dinner industries. "Many of our inventions came from laying out a system and recognizing that new devices were needed to improve product quality, output, cleaning and safety," Benson once recalled. Continuous oil filtration, externally heated fryer systems, multi-zone fryers, fail-safe hoists for cooker hood/conveyor assemblies and super-heated steam convection ovens were just a few of the early Heat and Control developments.
He became Heat and Control's president in 1963 and chairman in 1990. Benson retired in 1996 at the age of 83.
Benson helped introduce the Ishida multihead weigher to North America, completely transforming the packaging industry.