Short extract from the "Forgotten Colony" by Andrew Graham-Yooll. Published 1981. Click on a book to purchase.
Image taken from the excellent Argentina from a British Point of View - notes on Argentine Life Tells the 1910 story of the Ogilvie family in depth - estancia life, city life of the Anglo families, climate, entertainment, travel, life in the army. Well indexed and supported with photos, charts and figures. A real gem!
Argentina's traditional salted-beef trade and old-time saladero got their revolution with the aid of British enterprise. It was George Drabble, of the Central Argentine Railway, who set up the River Plate Fresh Meat Company Ltd, in 1882, using refrigeration in his attempt to improve the dry- and salted-meat trade. Refrigeration had been tested in Australia and, on a small scale, by one man in Buenos Aires. Drabble built his plant at Campana and, in 1883, the first shipment was made. Shipowners had no knowledge of the new industry to induce them to overhaul vessels, so shippers had to provide the equipment and instal it themselves. The Houl- Brothers Line ship Meath was fitted and carried the first shipment to London, arriving in January 1884. The meat-packing business which was to make Argentina famous had begun.
Liebig's Extract of Meat Company had started in London in 1865 with a capital of £150,000. It produced `Extractum Carnis Liebig', invented by Justus von Liebig, in Germany, in 1847. Georg Christian Giebert, a German railway engineer living in Uruguay, read about Liebig and his offer to give his formula to any person who wished to produce it in South America - because production was too costly in Europe, as thirty kilos of lean meat were required to make one of extract. Hamburg-born Giebert got the licence to produce the extract in 1865 and started the Societe de Fray Bentos Giebert & Cie., at Fray Bentos, on the River Uruguay. But he needed capital almost immediately and sought it in London. From 800 kilos in the first month of operations, production rose to 500,000 kilos ten years later. And in 1878 the company started to produce corned beef.
The origin of the Argentine Estates of Bovril Ltd is traced to those times. In October 1871 one Eustaquio de la Riestra put up a beef-salting plant at Santa Elena, on the River Parana, with a partner named Federico Gonzales. This plant was bought in 1880 by the German Kemmerich Company and, in 1908, by Bovril, which also became a landowning and cattle-raising concern. These were followed, in 1910, by the La Plata Cold Storage Co., a United States company better known by its name as from 1916, The Swift of La Plata. Almost a decade later, the Vestey family group, Union International, opened the Anglo meat-packing company on the Buenos Aires South Dock. (For more on Bovril, see link below)
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