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Double-Hooked Meat Hanger

Date: 1924


Description: This double-hooked, iron meat hanger was a crucial part of the slaughtering process in meatpacking plants. Cattle or hogs would be driven up a ramp to the killing floor of the plant called the abattoir. Then they are incapacitated and killed, and then hung upside down on hooks like these to be drained. Because the animals are drained in this way, most of the plants in Sioux City were called “gravity-based” plants. These meat hooks were attached to a conveyor, and the carcasses would remain on this conveyor until shipment. After draining the carcass is removed of hair and hide and eviscerated, and any parts that will not be used in processing are removed (such as the hooves). They are then cut, beef into quarters and pork into halves, and sent to a chiller until ready for shipment. When it is time to ship, the halves or quarters are loaded onto “reefer” refrigerated railroad cars (or trucks if being shipped more locally) and shipped across the United States and internationally. This particular meat hanger was used by Swift & Company, one of the major meatpacking houses in Sioux City.


Donor: Purchased from KD Station


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