General news

Ray Townsend passes away

02 Apr 2011

Ray Townsend, the founder of Townsend Engineering, has passed away, aged 97.

Ray’s initial step on the road to success came with his invention of the first pork skinner in 1946, the first in a series of machines that would secure him a place as one of the global food industry’s truly great innovators.

Committed to “finding a better way”, a philosophy which would become the motto of his company, he followed the skinner with a high-speed sausage linker and multi-needle injector. Today, these machines are still an integral part of meat production lines worldwide, and the Townsend brand is as popular as ever.

Born in 1913 in Des Moines, Iowa, Ray Townsend trained as a blacksmith in his father’s shop, before earning a Bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at Iowa State University in 1934. He then went on to found meat and food processing equipment manufacturer Townsend Engineering, in 1946.

The company eventually went on to become the world’s largest designer and manufacturer of skinning, stuffing and injection equipment for meat, poultry and seafood processors worldwide.

In the course of a long and highly successful career, Townsend obtained more than 100 U.S. patents, plus more than 300 international patents, covering a spectrum of fields including co-extrusion, skinning, trimming, linking, meat harvesting and curing and marinating.

During his lifetime, he received several awards in recognition of his services to agriculture and the global meat industry. In 1982, he received the Iowa State University’s Professional Achievement Award in Engineering, followed in 2005 by the same institution’s prestigious Henry A. Wallace Award.

Ray Townsend is survived by his son, Ted. Marel extends our deepest sympathy to his family at this time of great loss.