MAYSVILLE, OKLA. — Charles E. Burford, founder of baking equipment maker Burford Corp., died May 16. He was 81 years old.
Mr. Burford, along with his father Earl, founded Burford Corp. in 1961 with the invention of the Burford twist tie machine that helped revolutionize how bread and other baked foods are packaged. In the years since, the company’s equipment has broadened considerably with a wide range of specialty devices that help bakers operate more efficiently. The company holds many patents for its innovations.
A native of Lindsay, Okla., Mr. Burford grew up on a farm and went straight to work for his father after graduating from high school. His father invented an automatic wire tying hay baler.
It was this invention that ultimately led to the creation of the twist tie machine. The twist tie offered consumers the advantage of being able to reseal bread packages. For bakers, the advantage was efficiency.
Mr. Burford’s inventiveness extended beyond the baking industry. During the 1970s he developed a downstroke baler for the supermarket and dime store industry. The size of a side-by-side refrigerator-freezer, the device compacts cardboard boxes into a bale, wires them and loads the bale onto a dolly.
He also conceived a new packaging approach for growers of citrus fruits.
Mr. Burford was named to the 2010 class of the Baking Hall of Fame.
Services will be held Tuesday, May 21 at 2 p.m. at Ellis Chapel at Park Cities Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas. There will also be a memorial service Wednesday, May 22 at 1 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Maysville, Oklahoma.