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Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,
Player with Railroads and the Nation's Freight Handler;
Stormy, husky, brawling,
City of the Big Shoulders:"
BY CARL SANDBURG, 1914
In the mid-1800's Chicago's cattle trade was thriving and the city was well poised for tanneries to flourish. Chicago’s proximity to cattle raising areas, its massive railroad system connecting it to the east coast and a culture for technological innovation set the stage for Chicago to be dubbed the "butcher for the world". Chicago meatpackers contributed the assembly line, vertical integration (Philip Armour), and the refrigerated rail car (Gustavus Swift) to the industrial world.
The booming meatpacking industry meant an abundance of cattle hides. Chicago became a hot bed of tanneries in the late 1800’s.
Today, only one remains and when business outlasts its competitors it is usually for a reason. In the case of Horween Leather Company, it is because they make some of the finest leathers in the world.