Industrial Meat Processing

With the rise of giant meat processing companies, such as Armour and Swift, sausages became cheap industrial products. Meat factories were organized as animal disassembly places where sausages, hot dogs in particular, were made of the leftovers including intestines. Sausages poured out of factories that processed millions of animals each year. A nickel hot dog became embedded in Chicago’s street food scene. 

Always suspect because they were made of “mystery meat,” exposés of packinghouse conditions by muckraking journalists led to the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act and modern meat inspection.

Union Stockyard Gate
Gates of the Union Stockyards

Wilder, F.W. The Modern Packing House.  Chicago: Nickerson & Collins.c1921.  Crerar collection: TS1973.W66.

The entrance to the Union Stockyards.  The limestone gates still stand on Exchange Ave near Halsted.

birds eye view
Birds Eye View of the Union Stockyards

Grand, W. Joseph, Illustrated History of the Union Stockyards. Chicago : T. Knapp Ptg. & Bdg. Company, [1896]. Crerar TS1971.C5G70