A Short Biography
of Carl Austin Rietz
Collector of the Rietz Collection of Food Technology
Austin Rietz was a man of many interests and accomplishments. Best known for
his engineering and business success as an early innovator in industrial food
processing technology, Rietz also worked as a court reporter, auto mechanic,
secretary, night school teacher, traffic consultant, lecturer and author. His
personal passions were as diverse and colorful as his multiple careers. An artist,
musician, and gourmet as well as a collector of ceramics, textiles, jade, medieval
literature, and music, he pursued a lifelong engagement with the arts.
Rietz's successful innovations in food processing technologies, coupled with
his interest in international cuisine and history, led him to explore the history
of how people of around the world have tackled the basic requirement of feeding
themselves. During his life-long travels, he sought out historic artifacts that
told the story of cooking and eating. His interest was broad, collecting across
multiple cultures and time periods. He was less interested in an object as an
example of craftsmanship than as an example of technology. Simply put, Rietz
was more interested in how an object was used than how it was made. His training
in technical engineering and medicine informed his selection and collection
of cultural artifacts and objects concerned with the history of food processing.
His joy in the ingenuity of human enterprise led him to explore the cultures
of the world with an infectious wonder that he shared freely. He had a personal
philosophy, oft repeated by those who knew him, that the formula for world peace
was the honest understanding of other cultures. He viewed food and cuisine as
an obvious tool for such understanding.
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