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Lamb Weston Foods founder honored for fries water gun.

F. Gilbert "Gib" Lamb, co-founder of Lamb Weston Inc., who developed the Lamb Water Gun Knife still used by the potato processing industry to slice french fries, has been posthumously inducted into the Frozen Food Industry Hall of Fame in the USA.

The National Frozen and Refrigerated Foods Association honored Lamb in a ceremony at Orlando, Florida, attended by his son Frank G. Lamb, who shed some light on his father's accomplishments, particularly developing the water gun knife.

Gib Lamb entered the frozen vegetable business in 1933, after his own father had gone bankrupt and then been killed in a car accident. It was rough going at frost, but by 1950, when Gib and his brother Reese Lamb founded Lamb Weston, they were prospering--but were looking for something to freeze besides peas.

In the late 1950s, Gib Lamb recognized that most of the nation's pea processors had converted from canning to freezing. He saw the need to expand into another product and identified frozen french fries as having the most growth potential. In 1960, the company built the first Lamb Weston potato processing plant in eastern Idaho.

"My father was one of those rare individuals who could think outside of the box," Frank Lamb said. "Since the highest-value french fries were the longest strips, he was dismayed that the standard cutting equipment cut potatoes sideways or at an angle, and only rarely lengthwise."

Again, it was rough going at first, as Gib and his team tried out various kinds of knives. During one experiment, someone suggested using a nearby fire hose. Inside the plant, the peas were conveyed with water. Why not potatoes? Frank said his father and others removed the nozzle from the hose and stuffed a bunch of potatoes into the hose. Then they took aim at the knife box and turned on the water. After a few tries, they were able to shoot a few potatoes through the knife with a stream of water, successfully slicing them.

"That proved the concept, and the water gun knife was born," Frank said.
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Publication:Quick Frozen Foods International
Date:Jan 1, 2007
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