The Great Conflicts

Pig and human history timeline
1911 to 1945 AD

A Year of the Pig in the Chinese lunar calendar.
Fourteen wild boars are introduced into the U.S. from Germany by an American, George Moore, for group of English investors. Though released into an enclosed game refuge in the North Carolina Appalachians, most will escape to mate with free-roaming “mountain-rooter” sows to begin a feral swine population that will quickly grow to number more than 1,200.
The film, The Musketeers of Pig Alley starring Lillian Gish premiers.
Birth of Chuck Jones (1912-2002), Warner Brothers animator/director, along with Tex Avery (1908-1980), and Isadore “Friz” Freleng (1905-1995), of Porky Pig, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck Yosemite Sam, Sylvester and Tweety.
Humiliating pigtails are abolished in China when Sun Yat-sen and followers topple the Manchus of the 267 year old Ch’ing dynasty and found the Guomindang or Nationalist Party which begins the revolution that will propel China toward 20th Century modernization and acceptance of Western ideas.
October 7th
Henry Ford begins operation of an “automobile assembly line” at the Ford Motor Company plant in Detroit, Michigan. Ford and engineer Clarence Avery credit their observations of the dis-assembly lines used by Cincinnati and Chicago pork packers as a major inspiration. By simply reversing the process, Ford cut the time required to assemble a motorcar from 12.5 down to 1.5 hours.
Van Camp Sea Food is founded by Indianapolis packer Frank Van Camp whose father Gilbert began packing pork and beans in 1861. Funded by the family’s pork fortune, Frank would pioneer making tuna an American staple rather than a costly delicacy.
Carl Sandburg, U.S. poet, publishes the book Chicago Poems. Included is the poem, Chicago wherein Sandburg describes the town as “Hog Butcher for the World.”
NATHAN’s FAMOUS frankfurters have their beginning in a Coney Island, N.Y., hot dog stand at the corner of Stillwell and Surf Avenues. Nathan Handwerker, a Polish-American, sells his pork franks for 5¢ each — half the price charged by competitors. Nathan works 18 to 20 hours per day with his wife Ida. Offering value and a secret spice recipe, NATHAN’s prospers.
British food rationing of sugar, meat, butter, and margarine begins in January. Fresh meat is rationed by price and consumers are required to buy from a particular butcher to avoid deception. Ration books are issued in July and the bacon ration is raised from eight ounces per week to 16 ounces.
Wartime prices in France for pork, beef, mutton, and veal have increased nearly sixfold since 1914.
Botulism from commercially canned food strikes 36 Americans, 23 die, and the U.S. canning industry is motivated by failing sales to impose new production safety standards.
In the “Porkopolis” of Cincinnati, a local auto parts producer Powel Crosley, moves his ham radio station’s transmitter, 8CR, from his house to his factory and has it licensed under the call letters WLW. Crosley will organize Crosley Radio Corp. in 1923 and the station will become a 50,000 watt voice of the Midwest’s pork and corn belt.
Insulin, commercially extracted from a pig’s pancreas, is first used to control diabetes.
A Year of the Pig in the Chinese lunar calendar.
The popular melodrama, Pigs opens on Broadway, starring Wallace Ford.
Hormel Flavor-Sealed Ham is the first U.S. canned ham. The ham, which enjoys immediate success, is canned by a process patented by German inventor Paul Jorn.
British writer, A.A. Milne publishes Winnie-the-Pooh and delights young readers with Pooh-bear, Piglet, Tigger, Eeyore, Kanga and baby Roo, Owl, and other companions of Christopher Robin.
Pooh, Piglet and all their friends return, as A.A. Milne publishes the Pooh sequel, The House at Pooh Corner.
Big Bear Super Market, the first large cut-rate self-service grocery store, opens in Elizabeth, N J and offers shoppers pork chops at 10¢ lb. — half that of other stores — and many other “at or below cost” bargains on grocery staples. Big Bear’s “Price Crusher” technique is quickly imitated by others as the supermarket revolution gathers force.
Walt Disney Studios releases The Three Little Pigs animation with music and lyrics by Frank Churchill and songs that include “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf”.
In Jackson, Tennessee, history’s fattest hog, a Poland-China named Big Bill, is killed and stuffed by his owner, Burford Butler. At death, Big Bill was nine feet long and weighed 2,552 pounds with a belly that dragged the ground. About this time, the trend in hog production began to shift to hogs that were much trimmer and very lean.
Typical U.S. food prices: ham 31¢, bacon 22¢, pork chops 20¢, butter 28¢ lb.; bread 5¢ per 20oz. loaf; chicken 22¢ lb.; milk 10¢ qt.; eggs 29¢ doz.; potatoes 2¢ lb.; sugar 6¢ lb..
Stokely-Van Camp is created by a merger of Stokely Bros. and Van Camp. Stokely has grown by acquiring other canning companies, Van Camp has added to its pork and beans and catsup lines by canning hominy, Vienna sausage, New Orleans-style kidney beans and other items.
An Emergency Farm Bill becomes law and the Agricultural Adjustment Act sets out to restore farm income by reviving 1909-1914 average prices for hogs, grain, cotton, tobacco and dairy products.
Secretary of Agriculture Henry Wallace orders some 400,000 farrowed pigs destroyed and 330,000 acres of cotton plowed under as limitation procedures to compensate for the fact that the Agricultural Adjustment Act was established after most crops were planted and pigs were farrowed.
To coincide with the Century of Progress World’s Fair, Chicago radio station WLS conducts an all-American hog-calling contest.
U.S. food-buying patterns begin shifting to larger consumption of pork and beef, fruits, green vegetables, and dairy products as industrial earnings start to improve.
A Year of the Pig in the Chinese lunar calendar.
Frankfurters made of pork, ice cream and fried clams are the bill-of-fare when restaurateur Howard Johnson opens his first eating place at Orleans on Cape Cod with partner Reginald Sprague.
Porky Pig’s first Looney Tune cartoon Porky’s Hare Hunt, is released by Warner Brothers. It features the voice of Mel Blanc, who creates the voices of the cartoon’s stars, Porky Pig and Bugs Bunny. Audiences are delighted with Bugs Bunny’s “What’s up, Doc?” and Porky Pig’s “Th-th-th-that’s all, folks”.
SPAM is introduced by George Hormel & Company. This meat product made of pork-shoulder-and-ham will become the world’s largest selling canned meat.
Hog bristles formally used in hair, paint and cleaning brushes begin to be replaced with nylon, the first completely man-made fiber, developed by W.H. Carothers working for the patent holder, DuPont.
As WW II breaks out, Britain, the largest buyer of food in the world market, imposes rationing of pork, bacon, beef, cheese, fats, sugar, and preserves in fixed quantities per capita, allocating supplies equally and keeping prices at levels people can afford.
Winston Churchill becomes Prime Minister of Great Britain. His wife’s pet name for him is “Pig”, and one of his first official acts is to further ration bacon.
Berlin, gambling that the war will be short, orders wholesale slaughter of Danish livestock to boost German morale with extra “victory rations” and to save on fodder. Hogs numbers are cut by 30 percent, cattle by 10 percent, poultry by 60 percent.
The average fat content of U.S. pork frankfurters is 19%, an increase of only 1% from 1935.
Millions of Europeans live in semi-starvation as German troops cut off areas in the Ukraine and North Caucasus responsible for half of the Soviet pork and wheat production. Food supplies fall to starvation levels in German-occupied Greece, Poland, and parts of Yugoslavia.
The U.S. ships 285 million pounds of canned pork stew, “cvinaya tushonka,” to its beleaguered ally, the USSR under the Lend-Lease Act of 1941. During and after the war, a total of one billion pounds of pork are sent overseas to allies under Lend-Lease.
Bacon virtually disappears from U.S. stores and an estimated 20 percent of U.S. beef goes into black market channels. Wholesalers force butchers to buy pork and beef hearts, kidneys, lungs, and tripe in order to get good cuts of meat.
British writer, George Orwell, whose fiction attacks totalitarianism and reflects his concern with social justice publishes Animal Farm, a fable about the failure of Communism. In the book, pigs wrestle control of their farmyard from their human owner.
Harry S. Truman, a former Kansas farmer, is elected 33rd U.S. President. Reflecting on his position, he states “No man should be allowed to be the President who does not understand hogs, or hasn’t been around a manure pile.”

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A random image of a pig, hog, boar or swine from the collection at Porkopolis.