The Stockyards

Meatpacking Technology

Soon after the creation of the Union Stock Yards, various meatpacking companies established operations around the yards. One of the earliest to move into the area was the Armour plant in 1867. Armour, along with several other large meatpacking firms, including Swift, Morris, and Hammond, came to dominate the industry. At the turn of the century, Chicago's meatpacking industry employed more than 25,000 people and produced 82 percent of the meat consumed in the United States. In addition to processing meat, the packinghouses made creative and lucrative use of slaughterhouse by-products. They built factories to manufacture items such as leather, soap, fertilizer, glue, imitation ivory, gelatin, shoe polish, buttons, perfume, and violin strings.

Postcard advertisement for
Armour & Co., one of Chicago's
first meatpacking companies, 1891.
(CHS ICHi-21349)

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