Re: Wilson and Armor Reefers [was Swift 6700 Series]

Garth Groff <sarahsan@...>


This conjures up the image in my mind of a refrigerator car loaded with tennis rackets or volley balls. A meat packer going into the sporting goods business is actually quite logical, since before the days of artificial materials most balls would have been covered with leather. Indeed AFAIK some professional-level equipment such as footballs and baseballs still are.

Yours Aye,

Garth Groff

On 6/15/19 8:15 AM, Peter Ness wrote:

Thank you, Garth.


I’ve come across very little reference information on Wilson & Co., so can’t provide any insight on possible car supplier operations.  From photographic evidence at least in the late 1950’s Wilson & Co reefers appear to be only slightly less present than Swift cars in Southern New England. Armour, Cudahy and others a distant third in appearance. There are numerous photos of blocks of Wilson & Co cars and also Swift cars on the New Haven’s Maybrook Line which would be the westward connection to Chicago. Likewise photos of single cars (Swift or Wilson & Co) in switching moves at local packing houses. Not so much for other meet packers. 


Unlike produce reefers, not many meet reefers appear in overview photos of the large yards in South Boston or Cedar Hill, indicating to me, anyway, that the meat packing fleet in Southern New England was kept busy day in and day out.  Heck, there is a photo of not one but TWO Swift stock cars being switched with two Swift reefers in the Water Street Yard in New Haven, CT in the Cornell University Digital Collection.


Also from photos, like Swift and Armour, Wilson & Co had a vehicle fleet to transport locally processed product in metropolitan areas from local company-owned packing houses.


I learned only today, from the Encyclopedia of Chicago website, that Wilson also had established a sporting goods subsidiary by 1917…yes, THAT Wilson was one and the same!


Peter Ness


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