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Below is an interview with Philip Armour that ran in the New York Times on October 13, 1882 on the future of the “Dressed Beef” business. Prior to Armour and refrigerated rail cars, beef was raised and killed locally. The interview addresses why he believes that the packing houses in the Middle West would come to dominate.

Notice how similar the arguments are to the current globalization debate.


Philip D. Armour’s Views on the New Move in the Cattle Trade.

Chicago, Oct. 12 — been interviewed today on the subject of the dressed beef movement to New York, Mr. Philip D. Armour, of Armour & Co., said: “this business has to be done through the West. They have a large percentage over killing cattle in the East, because there are no rings in the trade here, whereas they have nothing but rings there. They are rings in hides, rings in tallow, rings indeed, and rings and everything in the cattle department. The future course of business is all in this direction, and, instead of all cattle being shipped east alive, it will only be done in a very small way. It is simply a law of nature that the bullock, like the Hogg, will be handled near the corn belt. It is just as natural for the trade to be done here it is for the Mississippi to find an outlet.”

Q. “What will be the effect on the west?”

“It will have a very beneficial effect in helping to develop the West and a largely increasing its volume in trade. The facilities have been increasing greatly. We have now refrigerator cars that make this trade practicable. The cars used to be in the past, for the most part, were worthless. You might as well of shipped to me in a close basket. But two or three firms have now got cars that are absolutely perfect. We have just affected an improvement on Mars that cost $200 per car, and we can now land me in eastern cities is fresh and firm is when it left the West.”

Q “is there anything in the outcry that has been raised in the East against meat shipped from here?”

“Absolutely nothing. Colorado bullocks killed and put on ice here, and then on ice on arrival they are, will bring more money by two cents a pound than the meat killed on one spot by wholesale eastern butchers. They have not the facilities for killing their that we have here. That is one advantage that the West has over the East. Another is, that a large saving is effected here in the offal. We can get better prices for the offal– hides and tallow– and the whole saving amount to several dollars a bullock. So it is impossible for the East to compete with the West in this trade.”

Q. “Will Chicago be able to keep the trade?”

I do not know any place that has the same facilities were doing the business, and it must increase largely. I have no doubt it will increase 500%. The trade is only in its infancy, and it will eventually assume gigantic proportions. Our trade has up to the present bending joints and loins– in peace is plain from 50 to 500 pounds– but we are now getting cars in which we can ship whole carcasses. We had 10 such cars delivered yesterday and will soon have many more. In future we will do a large carcass business, and we intend to go into it extensively.

Q. “With whom is your trade?”

“With small butchers and hotel keepers in Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Austin, and Washington. The wholesale butchers in those places who kill cattle see it is no use to try and compete with us, and are now sending out men all over the West to try and form connections here, so that they can have the dressed beef shipped to them from the last. We send small pieces daily by express and are fast freight lines, amounting in the aggregate to thousands and thousands of pounds to hotel keepers and small butchers, just as they wanted, all over the country, from St. Paul to Augustine, and we have a way of disposing of the coarser parts that the Butcher has not that gives us great advantage.”

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