The transformations that remade beef production between the end of the American civil war in 1865 and the passage of the Federal Meat Inspection Act in 1906 stretched from the Great Plains to the kitchen table.
Meatpacking lines, pioneered in the 1860s in Cincinnati’s pork packinghouses, were the first modern production lines. The innovation was that they kept products moving continuously, eliminating downtime and requiring workers to synchronise their movements to keep pace. This idea was enormously influential. In his memoirs, Henry Ford explained that his idea for continuous motion assembly “came in a general way from the overhead trolley that the Chicago packers use in dressing beef”.
When I lived on a farm, I was involved in a very minor aspect of the beef industry and even at that level, it was pretty brutal. I can’t imagine it on an industrial scale.