late 19th century oversized antique american industrial chicago union stock yard refinished steel and wood butcher saw with opposing handles

Regular Price: $350.00

Special Price $150.00

Availability: In Stock

UR #:: UR-29872-18

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Product Description

original late 19th century oversized union stock yard slaughter house butcher saw with original opposing beech wood handles intact. the heel with tension screw remains in working condition. the crucible steel blade contains closely spaced points or teeth. steel components have been refinished and treated with a cleat coat lacquer. likely fabricated by henry disston & sons inc., philadelphia, pa. the union stock yard & transit co., or "the yards", was the meat packing district in chicago for over a century starting in 1865. the district was operated by a group of railroad companies that acquired swampland, and turned it to a centralized processing area. it operated in the new city community area of chicago, illinois for 106 years, helping the city become known as "hog butcher for the world" and the center of the american meat packing industry for decades from the civil war until the 1920's and peaking in 1924, more meat was processed in chicago than in any other place in the world. construction began in june 1865 with an opening on christmas day in 1865. the yards closed at midnight on friday, july 30, 1971, after several decades of decline during the decentralization of the meat packing industry. before construction, tavern owners provided pastures and care for cattle herds waiting to be sold. with the spreading service of railroads, stock yards were created in and around the city. in 1848, small stockyards were scattered throughout the city along various rail lines. there was a confluence of reasons necessitating consolidation of the stockyards: westward expansion of railroads, causing great commercial growth in a chicago that evolved into a major railroad center; the mississippi river blockade during the civil war that closed the north-south river trade route; the influx of meat packers and livestock to chicago. to consolidate operations, the union stock yards were built on swampland south of the city. a consortium of 9 railroad companies (hence the "union" name) acquired a 320-acre swampland area in southwest chicago for $100,000 in 1864. the stockyards were connected to the city's main rail lines by 15 miles of track. eventually, the 375-acre site had 2300 separate livestock pens in addition to hotels, saloons, restaurants, and offices for merchants and brokers. led by timothy blackstone, a founder and the first president of the union stock yards and transit company, "the yards" experienced tremendous growth. processing two million animals yearly by 1870, the number had risen to nine million by 1890. between 1865 and 1900, approximately 400 million livestock were butchered within the confines of the yards. by the turn of the century the stock yards employed 25,000 people and produced 82 percent of the domestic meat consumption. in 1921, the stock yards employed 40,000 people. two thousand of these worked directly for the union stock yard & transit co. and the rest worked for companies such as meatpackers who had plants in the stockyards. by 1900, the 475-acre stock yard contained 50 miles of road, and had 130 miles of track along its perimeter. at one time, 500,000 us gallons a day of chicago river water was pumped into the stock yards. so much stock yard waste drained into the south fork of the river that it came to bear the name bubbly creek due to the gaseous products of decomposition. the creek bubbles to this day. when the city permanently reversed the flow of the chicago river in 1900, the intent was to prevent the stock yards' waste products along with other sewage from flowing into lake michigan and contaminating the city's drinking water. the meat packing district was served between 1908 and 1957 by a short chicago 'l' line with several stops, devoted primarily to the daily transport of thousands of workers and even tourists to the site. the line was constructed when the city of chicago forced the removal of surface trackage on 40th street. the size and scale of the stockyards, along with technological advancements in rail transport and refrigeration, allowed for the creation of some of america's first truly global companies led by entrepreneurs such as gustavus franklin swift and philip danforth armour. the mechanized process with its killing wheel and conveyors helped inspire the automobile assembly line. in addition, hedging transactions by the stockyard companies was pivotal in the establishment and growth of the chicago-based commodity exchanges and futures markets. numerous meat packing companies were concentrated near the yards, including armour, swift, morris, and hammond. eventually, meat packing byproduct manufacturing of leather, soap, fertilizer, glue, pharmaceuticals, imitation ivory, gelatin, shoe polish, buttons, perfume, and violin strings prospered in the neighborhood. the prosperity of the stockyards was due to both the concentration of railroads and the evolution of refrigerated railroad cars. its decline was due to further advances in post-world war ii transportation and distribution. direct sales of livestock from breeders to packers, facilitated by advancement in interstate trucking, made it cheaper to slaughter animals where they were raised and excluded the intermediary stockyards. at first, the major meat packing companies resisted change, but swift and armour both surrendered and vacated their plants in the yards in the 1950's. a remnant of the union stock yard gate still arches over exchange avenue, next to the firefighters' memorial, and can be seen by those driving along halsted street. this limestone gate, marking the entrance to the stockyards, survives as one of the few relics of chicago's heritage of livestock and meat packing. the steer head over the central arch is thought to represent "sherman," a prize-winning bull named after john b. sherman, a founder of the union stock yard and transit company. measures 36 x 9 1/2 inches.