Australian baking industry pioneer Francis (Frank) Seton OAM died on Sunday, February 27 at the age of 85.
Frank’s son, Chris, announced the news of his passing on Facebook, saying his father died from COVID-19.
Many people in the baking community would know, or at least know of, Frank, for his inventions to aid bakery production.
A long-time country baker in the New South Wales towns of Narromine and Dubbo, Frank started Seton Bakery Equipment in Dubbo in 1970, developing a range of products that revolutionised pie making for pastry cooks.
Beginning with the invention of the (now commonplace) palletised self-cutting pie tin system, he continued to develop products including a cooker/depositor for accurately depositing cooked meat into pies, which in conjunction with the palletised tins, offered a time saving in the average bakery of 75 per cent on the old labour-intensive methods of pie production. This is at the heart of what is now known as the “Seton System”.
Tony’s Pies owner and baker Tony Gavaghan sold Frank’s equipment in Melbourne, inviting people into his shop to see it in action. He said Frank’s move from baking into baking machinery was organic—having made some machines for himself, other bakers soon started asking Frank to make one for them too, and he kept going.
“He went into the baking machinery business with his own machines that he designed and manufactured, but then he also started importing some of the best pastry sheeters from around the world, bringing them in from Germany,” Tony said.
In 1990, Frank’s work was recognised officially when was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for his service to the baking industry.
Frank’s graveside funeral service will be held in Dubbo on Thursday, March 10, 2022.