packing firms are independent profitable business'.
Panic of 1873, pork packing becomes a
The packers in St. Louis, Louisville and Cincinnati
are buying and killing.
By the time the bacon is
put on the market Philip Danforth Armour has
flooded the market.
"I come from a long
line of pig butchers and meat-packers: Armour.
relatives were responsible for such ingenious inventions as the refrigerated
train car and the "kill floor," and ultimately the meat-oriented status of the
modern American diet.
Armour owned a business which bought hogs from
local farmers for delivery to slaughterers and packers.
The demands of
the hungry Union armies during the
Civil War created a boom
in pork and the Armour brothers prospered - and profiteered.
In a business move that might land you in jail Philip
took advantage of artificially swollen food prices toward the end of 1864 and
sold futures to pork barrels he did
not possess for delivery in the spring of 1865 when, he
gambled, the War would be ending and
prices would have fallen.
His gamble paid off, and netted a two million
profit at the expense
of disgruntled traders and government merchants." - Jeffrey Armour Nelson
1869 Two years after the Armour packing house is
built in Chicago six thousand hogs are being killed a day.
originates a number of assembly line slaughtering
techniques, the use of
waste products and the sale of canned meat.
Armour packing houses in
Kansas City and Omaha are almost as
extensive as the Chicago establishment.
Packers in St. Louis, Cincinnati
and Louisville, lose money year after year until they finally go
"Employees worked as much as 18 hours a day in
dangerous, unclean, unsanitary conditions.
There always seemed to
be another new young man available and willing to step in and take the hammer,
knife or saw whenever an employee would lose a finger, hand, eye - or stomach
for the job.
The Armours were ruthless competitors; they would open a
retail outlet in every city and flood the market with their products, selling
them at such ridiculously low prices the local butchers and outlets could not
Townsfolk took to Armour meat with the intensity of
When the local
competition was forced to close their doors and leave their business as they
could not match Armour's prices - Armour would then raise prices and completely
control availability and pricing.
Armour, using this
technique, drove thousands of
smaller operators who had been in the butchery business for years into
Monopolistic business practices caused a tumult when US
soldiers in the Spanish-American War
died from eating meat canned by Armour.
Armour and his competitors
permission of sawdust, rats, animal feces, and portions of animals heretofore
considered inedible being used in the production of "meat" products eventually
got the attention of Congress.
The Sherman Anti-Trust Act is enacted to
protect the public from the unscrupulous business practices of the Armours and
fellow "robber barons."
Years after its enactment, the Armours were
indicted for violations of the
Sherman Act based on testimony they gave before Congress in which they revealed
the very incriminating details of their business practices.
brilliant, silver-tongued lawyer of the day retained by
the Armours argued that they should be able to invoke -- retroactively -- their
Fifth Amendment right not to implicate themselves, and thus prevent the
introduction at trial of their own previous damning testimony before Congress,
and prevent the introduction of all the evidence procured as a result of that
On the eve of trial, after a jury had been empaneled, a
judge accepted the lawyer's argument and dismissed the case against the
The newspapers of the day
proclaimed derisively that the Armours' lawyer had given them
an 'immunity bath.'
" - Jeffrey Armour Nelson
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