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Rath Packing CompanyRath Ad - Source: Atlas of Black Hawk County, Iowa, The Iowa Publishing Company, Des Moines, Iowa, 1910.

  • E.F. Rath’s father, George had been in business in Dubuque since before the Civil War. After their plant there was destroyed by fire, they moved the business to Waterloo.
  • The first Waterloo plant cost $25,000, and was very small.
  • During the first year only about fifteen workers were employed, and 10,000 hogs were slaughtered.
  • In 1922, the company had branches at Des Moines, Galesburg IL, Memphis TN, and Birmingham AL.
  • At that time, E.F. Rath was secretary and treasurer of Rath Packing Company in Waterloo.

Rath Canned Breakfast Sausages

  • The hogs, cattle, sheep and calves were purchased within a radius of 150 miles of Waterloo.
  • Livestock was delivered in trucks and wagons by the farmers who were paid cash.
  • Livestock were led up a chute to a killing room. Then the carcasses went to the steaming, scraping and scalding areas.
  • The carcasses were placedAdvertisement for Rath Ham on a conveyor which took them through the other stages of packing including the chill room, salt cellar, smoker, and freezing room.
  • The plant had a refrigerating system which was used for chilling dressed carcasses and maintaining low temperatures in the storage rooms. The temperature of one freezing room was kept below zero.
  • From the freezing room, the meat was loaded on refrigerated railroad cars for distribution to markets across the country.
  • As the company grew, more buildings were added to the plant.

Source: Waterloo Daily Courier, June 27, 1922

Rath Packing Company



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