Meat Reefer usage


gn3397 <heninger@...>
 

Group,
I have read the various articles on meat reefers published over the years, primarily by Martin Lofton and Richard Hendrickson, but I still have a few questions about their traffic patterns, and am trying to ascertain whether some of the roadnames are appropriate for my location and era.

I recently obtained the 1952 Sanborn Maps for Minot, ND, which was an important division point on the GN mainline. There was at the time a Swift and Co. branch house, as well as an Armour Co. creamery in town, so I am supposing that Swift and Armour reefers are appropriate. But I am wondering if the grocery wholesalers in Minot would have received packaged meats from Wilson's, Cudahy, Rath, etc., or were these reefers not seen in the Great Plains states? I know that brands used to be much more regional in the steam era. Does anyone know of a listing of the various states that these companies did business in?

Thanks for any assistance.

Sincerely,
Bob Heninger
Iowa City, IA


Douglas Harding
 

Bob, Wilsons and Cudahy had multiple plants and branch houses around country. So their cars could be seen just about anywhere.
Rath had only one plant, the one in Waterloo, but it was the largest slaughter operation "under one roof" in the world, with
ability to load 124 cars in one day. So I suspect that Rath cars were see in multiple locations, also.

Remember the large packing houses worked very hard to develop and promote a brand name so housewives would ask for that brand at
their super market or butcher. They would market product across the country. In the 50's the population base (ie customers) was
still the north east, there were hungry folks everywhere. And while LA, San Francisco and Portland OR had slaughter operations,
most meat was still coming out of the mid-west, ie Chicago, Omaha, Kansas City, Sioux City, etc.

You might want to check the local newspaper (ask the library) for your time period to see what the grocery store ads list for name
brand meats, ie hams, bacon, etc. That will tell you what reefers came to town.

By the way I am now living much closer to Iowa City.

Doug Harding
www.iowacentralrr.org


Dave Nelson
 

AFAIK, on west coast the slaughter houses tended not to be the big Midwest
packers but local businesses. What you'd find were distribution houses for
Swift, Cudhay, Mather, Kingan, etc.

On a slightly different angle, what about military bases? In Oakland CA.
the routine needs of the entire Pacific fleet was stocked in dozens of
warehouses, including a very large, multi-story, windowless, concrete
coldhouse. Would one have seen all sorts of meat reefers there, just one
(the house w/ the Navy contract), or cars owned by the Navy?

Same question for any large military base.

Dave Nelson

-----Original Message-----
From: STMFC@yahoogroups.com [mailto:STMFC@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
Douglas Harding

In the 50's the population base (ie customers) was
still the north east, there were hungry folks everywhere. And while LA, San
Francisco and Portland OR had slaughter operations,
most meat was still coming out of the mid-west, ie Chicago, Omaha, Kansas
City, Sioux City, etc.


Douglas Harding
 

Dave interesting question about Military Supply Depots. No doubt they would have received large quantities of meat, and I would
guess arrival at the supply depots in regular meat reefers from whom ever had the military contract.

In California, of the major meat packers: Armour was in LA and San Francisco. Cudahy had a slaughter house in LA and a branch
house in San Francisco, Hormel had a slaughter house in LA and branch house in San Francisco. Swift had slaughter operations at LA
and San Francisco, Wilson had a slaughter house in LA. Plus, as you say, there were smaller or more localized meat packers as
well.

Mather was not a meat packer, they built and leased meat reefers and stockcars.

Do you have evidence of Kingan having a branch house in California? I am always looking to add to my list.

Doug Harding
www.iowacentralrr.org


Anthony Thompson <thompson@...>
 

Doug Harding wrote:
In California, of the major meat packers: Armour was in LA and San Francisco. Cudahy had a slaughter house in LA and a branch
house in San Francisco, Hormel had a slaughter house in LA and branch house in San Francisco. Swift had slaughter operations at LA and San Francisco, Wilson had a slaughter house in LA. Plus, as you say, there were smaller or more localized meat packers as
well.
Doug, thanks for the summary. I remember something in all the PFE material I read, on the subject of whether PFE would accommodate the packers' request that they have more meat cars available for times of car shortage (PFE declined since traffic would have ALWAYS moved in packer cars except in the most dire conditions). It stated that some packaged and prepared meats (I'm assuming ham, sausage, etc.) came from the "main packing plants," while most cut meat and hanging meat was supplied to customers from the branch houses. Is that consistent with what you know about the meat business in, say, 1950?

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705 www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@signaturepress.com
Publishers of books on railroad history


gn3397 <heninger@...>
 

--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, "Douglas Harding" <doug.harding@...> wrote:

Dave interesting question about Military Supply Depots. No doubt they would have received large quantities of meat, and I would
guess arrival at the supply depots in regular meat reefers from whom ever had the military contract.
Dave and Doug,
In the article on the General American 37' meat reefers in RPC Vol. 14, there are Col. Chet McCoid photos of Oscar Mayer and Emge Packing reefers at Ft. Bragg, NC.

Sincerely,
Bob Heninger
Iowa City, IA


Garth G. Groff <ggg9y@...>
 

Friends,

The Swift people had a distribution plant in Oakland served by the WP. The only photo I have ever seen of a Swift car on the WP is a photo in my collection showing a wooden 37' car in yellow paint on an eastbound steam-powered freight (probably an empty) around 1947.

Kind regards,


Garth Groff


Clark Propst
 

While it's generally assumed meat moved eastward, here's a car from a Milw damage claim report that went all the way west.

From - Armour & Co. mason City Ia
To - Seattle Ice Co.
Route - MStL Mpls CMStP&P
Date - 4/15/1955
Car - ARLX 196
Lading - canned pork

Clark Propst


Dave Nelson
 

My recollection is there was a Kingan branch house in San Francisco but I'd
have to find my WP shippers list to verify that for you and at the moment I
don't know where I've stored that.

When I typed Mather I was thinking Morrell (seems the fingers weren't paying
attention).

Dave Nelson

-----Original Message-----
From: STMFC@yahoogroups.com [mailto:STMFC@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
Douglas Harding


Do you have evidence of Kingan having a branch house in California? I am
always looking to add to my list.


David Sieber
 

--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, Dave Nelson wrote:
"My recollection is there was a Kingan branch house in San Francisco but I'd have to find my WP shippers list to verify that for you and at the moment I don't know where I've stored that."
Then Douglas Harding wrote "Do you have evidence of Kingan having a branch house in California? I am always looking to add to my list."

Gentlemen,

May I remind you of an excellent resource, the Industry Database of the Operations SIG. They've already done extensive research and welcome additional info to add to their files. Their website states:

"Operations SIG is compiling a list of industries throughout North America for use in creating waybills for traffic moving to, from or via model railroads ... Currently there are about 40,000 industries in our directory (still being accumulated) ... "industries" are not just factories but also grain elevators, mines, etc - [railroad] customers - but omit freight stations, team tracks, icing facilities, etc."

Their homepage is at http://www.opsig.org/industrydb/ It has the key to their databases, which are organized by region with links to each. Each record starts with era, then the industry name, by city of state (primary sort keys), servicing railroad, and commodities received and/or shipped by rail. Presently, all regions are covered by txt files on the appropriately named "infoharvest" although they are also converting them to Excel, region by region.

Since the OPSIG is still building their very large database, the information is valid for the industries shown; i.e., in 1954, Cudahy had a packing house in Fresno CA that shipped meat products via the ATSF and SP, which was taken over in 1955 by Hormel. However, it should NOT be considered definitive looking the other direction (i.e., you CANNOT say that "Cudahy isn't shown in San Francisco, so Cudahy never had a facility there"), since an industry that actually did exist in a particular city may not be shown simply because they don't have good information on it yet.

With that caveat, the OPSIG industry database shows packing houses in San Francisco including Hormel and Swift, plus Vienna Sausage and several local butcher/packers (Levy, Moffit, Shenson, and Union Sheep Co.(!)) plus others in the SF Bay Area such as Morrel and another Swift facility in Oakland. Regretably, I did not find a record for any Kingan facility in SF, nor elsewhere in California, nor anywhere on the west coast. If you do find Kingan on your WP shippers list, please let us know here. Moreover, it would be great if you could also tell the OPSIG, who advise that "data can be sent by email, or single-file attachments to email, to IndustryDB@OpSIG.org (Please include "OpSIG" in the subject line)." I imagine they'd really appreciate a scan of the entire WP shippers list, which would be a lot of data entry, but might really expand their database with solid data.

Just a thought, Dave Sieber, Reno NV


Douglas Harding
 

Tony, yes I think that would be consistent with the 50's.

There were two kinds of meat packing plants, those that did just slaughtering and those that slaughtered and processed meat, what
we call value added product today. The Decker Meat Plant in Mason City was a full processing facility. It slaughtered animals and
also produced a wide variety of meat products, hams, bacon, sausages as well as variety of luncheon meats and related meat
products, ie lard. These processed meat products were also called "PHP" for packing house products.

Most slaughter houses shipped the carcasses to branch houses, ie hanging meat, where the carcass was cut down into the various
chucks of meat, then shipped to grocery stores or meat markets where it was cut into steaks, chops, roasts, loins, etc. The branch
house would also function as a whole sale warehouse, where butchers, restaurants, grocery chains would purchase carcasses for
their own business use.

Doug Harding
www.iowacentralrr.org