Steel Rendering Kettle

Date: c. 1924


Description: This stainless steel kettle was used for processing meat by-products at the Swift & Company plant here in Sioux City. For most packing houses, these kettles were used for a process called rendering, or turning other animal tissues into more useful materials. In this process the kettle is heated at a low temperature and the fatty tissues unfit for packing are soaked in water. In the kettle the fat separates from the water and can now be used to made a wide variety of materials like lard, tallow, soap, and other products. The offal, or what was left over in the kettle after the fat had separated, can be used to make other products like greaves (fat residue that is roasted for consumption) and pet food. Products rendered using these methods were called “kettle-rendered.” Lard was among the most common by-products made in Sioux City as it was usually made from pig fat, and was in high demand for use in cooking. Swift & Company especially was one of the most modern and innovative packing plants in Sioux City, and used many different processes for packing and processing products and by-products.

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