View Full Version : The Butcher post

05-12-2012, 02:26 AM
An ancient trade, whose duties may date back to the domestication of livestock, butchers formed guilds in England as far back as 1272.[3] Today, many jurisdictions offer trade certifications for butchers. Some areas expect a three-year apprenticeship followed by the option of becoming a master butcher.


http://limepic.com/img/J5Lx.jpg 1854

http://limepic.com/img/bLuox.jpg 1875

05-12-2012, 02:29 AM
1885 http://limepic.com/img/kKUX4.jpg




05-12-2012, 02:33 AM



05-12-2012, 02:37 AM



look at the cleaver on the bench.

05-12-2012, 02:42 AM
french he is doing it right.



05-12-2012, 02:52 AM
my kind of girl.


and pie for everyone.

notice the tin cooker in front .

05-12-2012, 02:56 AM
Tin cooker

05-12-2012, 09:58 AM
Thans for doing this! I love seeing all the old pics, and hope more vendors get back to the old ways. It's hard to find stores around here that will cut meat for you; most arrives already cut up, and only with certain parts/ pieces.

Dave Martell
05-12-2012, 10:14 AM
Awhile ago my friend Jim (our Admin) sent me this picture that he came across on the internet. He told me to Google the man's name shown and read his story.

FULL Size Image - CLICK HERE (http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v438/dmart/MFMullins.jpg)


I was fascinated with the story as well as how eerily similar his appearance is to our Chef Niloc (Colin). http://www.knifeforums.com/forums/images/smilies/biggrin.gif

I forwarded the picture to Colin who couldn't deny the similarities and responded that he was going to grow that same mustache. Funny thing is that those of us who know Colin can see even more similarities than just the look they share. http://www.knifeforums.com/forums/images/smilies/smile.gif

I thought that maybe you guys/gals might be interested in hearing the story of M.F. Mullins, "The Champion Beef Dresser of the World".

Thanks to Jim for sharing this with me. http://www.knifeforums.com/forums/images/smilies/thumbup.gif

The King of Butchers.

I here present to the reader the biography and record of the great
butcher champion, M. F. Mullins, of Chicago. Mr. Mullins was born in
Canandaigua, N. Y., in 1863. He moved west with his parents in 1869,
settling in Hammond, Lake county, Indiana. At the age of 18 years Mr.
Mullins started out in life for himself, and chose for his vocation the
butcher business. He commenced his apprenticeship with the firm of
Swift & Co., when their cattle business did not exceed sixty head per day.
He has been in the service of this company continuously since, and has
seen the business increase to the present capacity of 7,000 head per day.
After eight years service with the company he was promoted to the posi-
tion of foreman, which he has held.tc- the present day. His first contest
took place in the Exposition building in Chicago, Illinois, August 22d,
1883, there being eight contestants for prizes, as follows: First prize, gold
medal, valued at $250: second prize, $100; third prize, $50. The contest-
ants worked their bullocks in the following order:

Min. Sec.
Walter Dennis, Bridgeport, 111. 7 39

William Rader, Bridgeport, 111. 7 54

Michael Sheck, Armour & Co., Chicago, 6 12

M. F. Mullins, Swift & Co., Chicago, 4 5

Pete Magee, Bridgeport, 111. 8 40

Rod Laverty, Boston, Mass. 3 38

Frank Noonan, Armour & Co. 8 40

Joe Malone, Bridgeport, 111. 12 22

This contest was principally considered on the best time made; good
work was not regarded. Rod Laverty lost first prize by a foul claimed
for not skinning out one hind leg. Mr. Mullins was awarded first prize,


Rod Laverty second, and Michael Sheck third. This contest was before
an audience of about three thousand people.

. This mode of contest has been discontinued, owing to the unsatis-
factory work done. It is now supplanted by contests under American
rules, which are as follows:

1. There shall be three judges, who shall be considered fairminded
and honorable men, and thoroughly acquainted with the business.

2. Cattle shall weigh not less than 1,400 pounds.

3. Contestants will be allowed eight minutes to dress the bullock;
judges to call time when the bullock is drawn up, front feet off and right
hindleg broken; dresser to call time when finished.

4. After dresser calls time he will not be allowed near carcass or
hide until after judges have made their inspection when, by having every-
thing perfect, dresser will be credited with 100 points in time of eight
minutes; points to be considered as follows:

1st. For opening, reining and siding bullock, 15 points.

2d. " leging, 5 points.

3d. " rumping and backing 15 points.

4th. " splitting, 15 points.

5th. " clearing shank and dropping hide, 10 points.

6th. " time, 20 points.

7th. " general neatness. 10 points.

8th. ' condition of hide, 10 points.

This constitutes the 100 points to credit. The following points will be
deducted for the following defects: Twenty points off for every minute
over the allotted eight minutes, and ten points in his favor for every minute
less than allotted time. Under these rules Mr. Mullins's second match
took place October 19,1887, at the Exposition building in Chicago. 111.,
with the exception that twenty-five minutes instead of eight were allowed
to dress the bullock. There were nine contestants in this match. The
judges were men of good standing and judgment and decided to the sat-
isfaction of contestants and audience. One of them was from Boston,
one from New York and one from Chicago.


Min. Sec. Points.

Mr. Mullins won first prize, $100, 10 97

Larry Noonan won second, $50, 12 94

Joe Smith won third. $25, 11 45 81

At this contest there were over 3,000 people. These American rules
which governed this contest as well as all others since bring out a better
class of workmen, who find it to their advantage to do good work, be-
sides being swift.

Mr. Mullins's third match took place in the Exposition building, Chi-
cago, 111., October I5th, 1889, before an audience of 8,000 people. Mr.
Mullins worked his bullock last, and after the decision was given by the
judges, there was great shouting by Mr. Mullins's admirers. Three cheers-
were then given for the champion beef dresser of the world, Mr. M. F.
Mullins. After the excitement had quieted down Mr. Mullins thanked
the judges and audience in a neat little speech, also his coworkers. Then
Mr. G. F. Swift walked up to the judges's stand and presented Mr. Mul- .
lins with a handsome roll of bills. He was closely followed by Mr. E. C.
Swift, of Boston, who also gave Mr. Mullins another roll of bills in ad-
miration of his skill and activity as a beef dresser, and for so nobly rep-
resenting their firm in the contest. The prizes were as follows:

Min. Sec. Points.

First prize, $300, Mr. M. F. Mullins, 8 50 119
Second " $200, Mr. J. Smith, 10 116

Third " $100, Mr. Larry Noonan, 9 50 104

Mr. Mullins's fourth contest took place in Union Park, San Fran-
cisco, Cal., May i8th, 1890, before an audience of 12,000 people, for
$1,000. This contest was between Mr. Mullins and Mr. Westphall, of
San Francisco, who was champion of the Pacific slope. The match was
under the same rules as the two preceding contests, excepting that con-
testants were allowed but eight minutes to dress the bullock instead of
twenty-five. In the toss for choice of bullocks Mr. Westphall won, and
in the toss for working last Mr. Mullins won. The time was as follows:.

Mr. Westphall, 6 minutes, 42 seconds, making 85 points
Mr. Mullins, 7 " 7 " 127 "


After the judges had inspected the bullocks it was found that Mr.
Westphall had done very poor splitting and siding and had scored the
hide greatly, for which he lost several points. Four proprietors of the
largest tanneries in San Francisco inspected Mr. Mullins's hide and pro-
nounced it as being the best work done on any hide ever taken off in the
country. Mr. Mullins was then declared winner and the champion of the
world, being presented with a fine gold medal.

Mr. Mullins's fifth and last match took place at Willow Springs,
-Chicago, July 26th, 1890, under the auspices qf the County Commission-
ers of Cook County, Illinois, in honor of Governor Palmer, who was at
that time a candidate for the United States Senate, and has since been
-elected. This contest was between Mr. Westphall and Mr. Mullins.
Mr. Westphall still thought he could beat Mr. Mullins and win back
some of the money lost in the previous contest, as well as the champion-
ship honors. The audience numbered 15,000 people. In this race Mr.
Westphall got choice of bullocks again and worked first. Time as fol-

Mr. Westphall 6 minutes, 43 seconds, scored 107 points.
Mr. Mullins 5 minutes, 42 seconds, scored 121 points.


Opening, reining and siding 15

Working of legs 5

Rumping and backing 15

Splitting 15
Dropping hides, clearing shanks 10

Condition of hide 10

General neatness 10

Time 20

Fast time, 10 points gained per minute

Slow time, 20 points lost per minute

Mullins. Westphall.
12 12








Total points




In this as in all other cases, all was excitement when the decision
was made. Mr. Westphall made an eloquent speech declaring that Mr.
Mullins was his superior, and that he had had a fair and square match
both in San Francisco and Chicago. He also added that he was confi-
dent there was not a man in this country who could beat Mr. Mullins in
a beef dressing contest. Mr. Mullins was then presented with a fine gold
watch by the four County Commissioners, valued at $250, and Mr. West-
phall was presented with $200 in cash as a token of sincere regard for
his good work, he being the only man who gave Mr. Mullins a close

If you'd like to read more on the details of how the Union Stockyards operated in the 19th century you can check out http://www.archive.org/stream/tript... (http://www.archive.org/stream/tripthroughunion00lamb/tripthroughunion00lamb_djvu.txt) which is where I obtained the above information on M.F. Mullins. There's some very interesting reading there for sure.

05-12-2012, 03:15 PM
Thanks for sharing that Dave .
the stock yards.



05-12-2012, 03:21 PM


then came ..


05-12-2012, 03:29 PM
(e) Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act – Upton Sinclair published The Jungle in early 1906, a hard-hitting expose of working and living conditions in the packinghouses and their environs in Chicago. That part of the book received very little notice, however; as Sinclair himself described it, “I aimed for people’s hearts, and hit their stomachs.” His descriptions of sausage making (combining putrid meat, rat ****, the occasional part of an extremity from a worker, and a blend of original spices) stirred TR and Congress into action.

05-12-2012, 03:34 PM
I'll bet all those places smelled wonderful.

05-12-2012, 03:52 PM
little febreze no problem.


that guy i would not mess with.:scared4:

05-12-2012, 04:48 PM
Dang that is freaky, it looks like the guy on the right has a guy between his arms while he is swinging?

"Hey, would you mind holding this half pig down while I swing a 2 foot cleaver at it."

05-13-2012, 12:27 AM
Working in a slaughter/packing plant is extremely stinky. If ever in Greeley Co. you can drive right by one. Make sure your windows are up, it slows down the stink for about 5 sec.

05-13-2012, 02:03 AM
the rendering of the fat pig or cow that would do me in. if you can read the bottom of the photo those vats render 300,000 lbs


mr drinky
05-13-2012, 08:47 AM
my kind of girl.

Isn't that April Bloomfield?


mr drinky
05-13-2012, 08:50 AM
http://limepic.com/img/bLuox.jpg 1875

I like to imagine that all my knives are made by a person wearing a hat like this.


05-13-2012, 09:01 AM
Lots of cattle raised in this part of NC, most totally on pasture. A few friends and I bought a cow last year that had been raised on pasture and butchered at a local packing house. 1/4 of a cow is a lot of meat for a family of 2! It's priced per pound, not by the cut.....$4/lb. They will also butcher hogs and deer that you bring in.

05-13-2012, 02:26 PM
A place i worked at use to buy cows from the 4-H club the kids would auction off there live stock .


05-13-2012, 02:46 PM
The sprawling Swift meatpacking plant sits abandonded at 400 E. Exchange Ave, alongside the Armour Company plant on the east side of the Fort Worth Stockyards. Opened in 1903, it once represented the economic boom times of Fort Worth.

It was major news in 1901 when Armour and Swift, America's two largest meatpacking companies, agreed to build regional plants in the Stockyards. Construction began in 1902, and by 1909, the plants were processing 1.2 million cattle and 870,000 hogs per year as well as sheep, horses and mules. By 1910, the Stockyards were the nation's third-largest livestock market, behind Chicago and Kansas City, Missouri, employing most of what was then north Fort Worth. People came from all over the world to work here,

The Stockyards hit its heyday during World War II, but the rise of the trucking industry after the war spelled the demise of railroad-centered packing plants. Armour closed its plant in 1962; Swift lasted until 1971.

Since then, the abandoned proerty has been host to an Old Spaghetti Warehouse restaurant and the filming location for the television programs, "Prison Break" and Chuck Norris’ "Walker Texas Ranger". Today, it is a fabulous multi-hued palette of graffiti some of it reflected beautifully. Urban decay at its finest


sachem allison
05-13-2012, 02:47 PM
my father worked one summer for Armour meat comp as a sticker, he would walk down the line and slit their throats the blood would be collected and sent off for whatever they used it four. He said he worked with 4 very large African American guys and every time he would be near them they would grab a coffee cup and hold it out to catch the blood and then drink it down while it was still hot. One day they brought him his own cup and waited to see what the Indian kid would do. He filled the cup and chugged it down, no problems. He got respect then and nobody bothered him any more. He said the blood wasn't the disgusting part. The disgusting part was that the guys hung their cups on a fly ridden board and never rinsed them out. He said that some of the cups had so much old caked blood in them that they only held a tablespoon or so. He said that is what made him gag more then anything else.

05-13-2012, 02:49 PM
Gustavus Franklin Swift founded a meat-packing empire in the Midwest during the late 19th century, over which he presided until his death. He is credited with the development of the first practical ice-cooled railroad car which allowed his company to ship dressed meats to all parts of the country and even abroad, which ushered in the "era of cheap beef." Swift pioneered the use of animal by-products for the manufacture of soap, glue, fertilizer, various types of sundries, and even medical products




05-23-2012, 02:51 PM
Do any other KF members besides myself work as butchers? Actual, full animal butchers? (you'd be surprised by the amount of "butchers" who actually aren't)

05-23-2012, 02:57 PM
Awsome post! I'm going to Banff to learn to work with Caribou. Would rather work with the whole animal, but can't have everything

El Pescador
05-23-2012, 04:48 PM
did you work for Tiptop?

A place i worked at use to buy cows from the 4-H club the kids would auction off there live stock .


05-23-2012, 05:19 PM
I like to imagine that all my knives are made by a person wearing a hat like this.


Yeah I gotta get a top hat. Thats just a whole different level of looking like a boss.

BTW: THANKS for making this thread! I love history. Black and white pics make my day!

05-24-2012, 05:06 AM
I've heard of Tip Top meats but my bringing in 4H stock was in Wyoming.
We had a full butcher shop .

05-24-2012, 05:14 AM
I have been looking through old books and found this one .



05-24-2012, 06:54 AM
Working in the meat dept has been interesting and I'm always looking for more info on whats going on. We only get primals and we break them down for the custom case and special orders. It's nice to be able to have customers come to the counter and ask for something spacific that they don't see in the case and one of us can just pick up the primal and cut it to the customers wishes. I miss that from my younger years while living near a full butcher shop. While we don't deal with full animals I am still happy to have the full attention of the customers as we do our bit to help bring back the small town butcher shop experience.

Looking for books and all on Hog Butchery :) I'm even more addicted to pork than I was before getting this job lol

Eamon Burke
05-24-2012, 01:31 PM

The beginning of the end.

05-24-2012, 01:41 PM
Amen, Eamon. I'm fortunate to line in an area that has 3 pack houses within 30 min of my home, and all cater to local livestock growers and hunters.

mr drinky
05-24-2012, 04:14 PM
http://limepic.com/img/bLuox.jpg 1875

Btw, just put two and two together. At that new site ,The Butcher and Baker, they sell a t-shirt with this image on it (http://www.butcherandbakerstore.com/#!men's-tees-store/productsstackergalleryv20=2).


05-24-2012, 05:02 PM
I was looking at the meat case at New Seasons market a couple of days ago and asked for a chunk of pork shoulder. As the guy was wrapping it up I asked him why they never had bone in available, and he said that they just always did the boneless, but there was some unwrapped in the back if I wanted bone in, so he went back and got a big chunk and cut me one of the size that I wanted! It is in the BGE right now, up to about 160 so far.
Sometimes you just gotta ask!

05-24-2012, 07:27 PM
That butcher tin type photo notice that the knife is a drawing on the apron.

05-24-2012, 07:29 PM
what would a post like this be without a recipe for headcheese . 1898


or haggis


all from Meat Man friend book.

05-25-2012, 01:42 AM
I have been going through a publication called the Butcher's Advocate from 1904 it came out every week in Chicago for the trade
well i still have about 500 pages to go but here is a few things.

here are the wanted ads ,

and a good knife page

05-25-2012, 01:45 AM
even then trying to put the sharpener out of business.

mr drinky
05-25-2012, 01:51 AM
Steely, you must be getting a higher degree in history or something and writing a dissertation. I had to do primary research for my history degree and your historical finds seem very familiar. Maybe I'm wrong.


05-25-2012, 02:12 AM
well now I am looking in different digital library and trade catalogs for knife info .

07-04-2012, 08:19 PM
"Cutting Up" (http://www.criticalpast.com/video/65675030037_pork-packing_pigs-in-stockyard_man-trims-ham_split-hogs-with-cleaver) -- video from 1919 sponsored by the Ford Motor Company, showing hog butchering in detail. Very cool.



07-04-2012, 08:21 PM
How strange! Mr. Ford had his fingers into all sorts of things, eh?

07-04-2012, 08:22 PM
How come it won't play??

Eamon Burke
07-04-2012, 08:54 PM
even then trying to put the sharpener out of business.

Ha! The origins of the problem, right down the road from Dave. I suppose it's only just.

07-04-2012, 10:28 PM
How come it won't play??

SpikeC -- click the link in my description rather than the photos -- those are just screenshots I took.

07-04-2012, 10:29 PM