C. Olin Ball

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Charles Olin Ball
Born 1893
Died 1970 (aged 76–77)
Citizenship American
Fields Food science
Alma mater George Washington University (Ph.D., 1922)
Known for Study of thermal death time
Notable awards Nicholas Appert Award (1947)

Charles Olin Ball (1893–1970) was an American food scientist and inventor who was involved in the thermal death time studies in the food canning industry during the early 1920s. This research would be used as standard by the United States Food and Drug Administration for calculating thermal processes in canning. He was also a charter member of the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) in 1939 and inducted among the first class of IFT fellows in 1970 for his work in academia and industry.


A native of Abilene, Kansas, Ball earned his BS in mathematics before going to graduate school at George Washington University during 1919–22. While at George Washington University, he would work for the National Canners Association by researching the sterlization of canned foods. Ball's formula method of thermal death time would become the standard of the United States Food and Drug Administration for calculating thermal processes.

After earning his PhD from George Washington University in 1922, Ball would work with the American Can Company in Illinois and New York where he earned 29 patents. He would work at Owens-Illinois Glass Company during 1944–1946 before going to Rutgers University as a professor and later chair of the food science department during 1949–1963.

Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) involvement

A charter member of IFT when it was founded in 1939, Ball would serve as its president in 1963–64. He would also win the Nicholas Appert Award in 1947 and would be among the first class of 27 fellows inducted in 1970. Ball also as the first editor-in-chief of Food Technology in 1947 and would continue in this position until 1950.

Death and legacy

Ball died in 1970. Rutgers' food science department would establish an undergraduate scholarship in his honor for those students majoring in food science who excel in food engineering courses.

Selected work

  • Ball, C.O. and F.C.W. Olson (1957). Sterilization in Food Technology. 1st Edition. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company.


  • "C. Olin Ball." Food Engineering. September 2003. p. 66.
  • Downing, D.L. (1996). A Complete Course In Canning – Book II: Microbiology, Packaging, HACCP & Ingredients, 13th Edition. Timonium, MD: CTI Publications, Inc. pp. 62–3, 71–5, 93–6.
  • Merlmelstein, N.H. and F.R. Katz. "Advancing Food Science and Technoloogy for Fifty Years." Food Technology. January 1997. pp. 8–11.
  • Powers, J.J. (2000). "The Food Industry Contribution: Preeminence in Science and in Application." A Century of Food Science. Institute of Food Technologists: Chicago. pp. 17–18.
  • Stier, R.F. (2004). "C. Olin Ball." Pioneers in Food Science, Volume 2. J.J. Powers, Ed. Trumball, CT: Food & Nutrition Press. pp. 79–112.

External links