Revolutions and Diplomacy

Pig and human history timeline
1851 to 1910 AD

In Great Britain, “a set of harmless lunatics, amused themselves by kicking one another’s shins” as the modern rules of competitive soccer were developed by young men in schools and universities. The earliest soccer balls were made from a pig’s bladder, which was inflated, knotted at the end like a balloon, placed in a leather case treated with dubbin (oil and tallow). The case, of pig of cow hide, reflected the shape and size of the bladder producing a “plum shape” unlike a modern soccer ball. By the 1860s such balls were being replaced by balls with an india rubber bladder and rounder dimensions.
Oct. 23
Henry David Thoreau, U.S. philosopher and naturalist writes in his journal: “What men call social virtues, good fellowship, is commonly but the virtue of pigs in a litter, which lie close together to keep each other warm.”
Flitching — kneeling on sharp stones at the door of a church and swearing to have been happily married for the last twelve months and thereby winning a prize of a “flitch” or side of bacon — is again revived by novelist Harrison Ainsworth who acted as a judge cross-examining the claimants.
Landscape architect, Frederick Olmsted, newly appointed superintendent of the Central Park, which is under construction for the city of New York, makes an initial survey of the grounds and finds the park site filled with hog farms, bone-boiling works, and squatters’ shacks.
May 10
In the golden years of Indian Raj, the Sepoy Rebellion begins in Meerut, India when Britain’s native Muslim and Hindu troops — Sepoys — receive their new breech-loading Enfield Rifles, but refuse to handle the cartridges. Due to an oversight by the munitions factory, these cartridges, the ends of which had to be bitten before they could be used, were packed in a protective coating of either pig grease or beef fat. Muslims consider pigs “unclean” and are forbidden by religious law to eat pork, while the Hindu religion venerates the cow. Thus the religious beliefs of every Sepoy in the army were offended. After a year-long bloody revolt and many deaths, the East India Company forfeited control of the British Empire’s crowned jewel and hands over its duties and treaty obligations, held since 1686, to the British Crown which assumes responsibility for India’s “protected” states.
Meat for London tables becomes fatter and juicier as the Smithfield Market begins receiving rail shipments of ready-dressed carcasses from Aberdeen, Scotland 515 miles away. Pork, beef, mutton, and veal arrive in perfect condition the night after the animals are slaughtered, and the meat is far less tough and lean than if the animals had been driven to market as in the past.
August 28
Edwin Drake strikes oil in Titusville, PA and is soon producing 400 gallons per day, beginning the first commercial exploitation of petroleum in the U.S. and reducing demand for hog lard, whale oil, coal and gas now used in lamps.
The clinical symptoms of acute trichinosis are noted and defined for the first time by German pathologist Friedrich von Zenker, but the cause-effect relationship remains unknown.
One year after the discovery of oil in Titusville, John D. Rockefeller founds his oil business at age 20, when he pools his savings with those of his partner Maurice Clark, and buys the hog lard refinery of candle maker Samuel Andrews for the sum of $4,000, converts it, and begins refining petroleum.
As the Civil War rages in the U.S. and demand for pork and beef staples escalates, Chicago, benefiting from superior rail transportation, replaces the “Porkopolis” of Cincinnati as the leading meat processing city in the US.
Indianapolis grocer Gilbert C. Van Camp, once a tinsmith, has created a new canned food staple and secured an army contract. Van Camp’s Pork and Beans helps sustain Union troops in the field.
Sutlers — army camp followers who peddled provisions to soldiers — provide Union troops with canned pork and beans, condensed milk and vegetables.
John Stuart Mill, British philosopher and economist, publishes the essay Utilitarianism in which he debates the merits of whether it is better to be a human being dissatisfied, than a pig satisfied.
La Villette opens at Paris. This central and hygienic pork and beef slaughterhouse has been designed by Baron Georges EugÈne Haussmann, Prefect of the Seine under Napoleon III. Haussmann is the city planner also largely responsible for the city’s present appearance of wide streets, broad vistas, parks and avenues radiating from focal points.
A Milwaukee merchant, Philip Armour, sells short in the New York pork market in anticipation of the Union victory as Grant marches on Richmond. Armour makes nearly $2 million in 90 days and opens the Armour Meat Packing Co.
December 25
The Chicago Union Stock Yards open on 345 acres of land southwest of the city limits, with pens that can hold 100,000 hogs at any given time. This, and the nine railroads that converge on Chicago, further solidify the city’s presence as the nation’s meat-packing center.
Armour Meat Packing Co. moves its pork processing operation from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Chicago to take better advantage of the railroads and stockyards.
Armour Meat Packing Co. of Chicago adds a second plant, taking over a slaughterhouse on Archer Avenue and setting up under the name Armour & Co.
Armour & Co. adds beef to its line of pork products, and will start handling lamb next year.
Boston gets its first shipment of fresh meat from Chicago by way of a refrigerated rail car developed by William Davis; but the Railroad Industry resists losing their traffic in live animals bound for eastern markets and charge high transport rates.
French painter Jean Francois Millet (1814-75), a central figure of the Barbizon school’s genre of portraying peasant life and bucolic landscapes based on direct observation of nature, completes the painting The Pig Killers, a gloomy French rural scene of a reluctant pig being dragged to its death.
Hermann Kindta, a German folklorist, writing in the Oxford University’s Notes and Queries, records among the superstitions current in the town of Mecklenburg at that time was one that directed a horses head should be buried under the pigs’ trough to make them feed voraciously…
Armour & Co. installs the world’s largest chill room in its new plant at the Chicago Union Stock Yards. Prior to this, meat processing has been a seasonal business with salt curing the chief way to keep perishable meats from spoiling, but Armour, using natural ice, can now maintain operations year round.
The hog breed Poland-China is officially christened in Ohio. Previously known as the “Miami Valley Hog,” as well as Butler- or Warren-County Hog or Magie- or Shaker-Hog. This lard-type hog — a backbone of the U.S. pork industry — is a mixture of Big China and popular regional stock in Southwestern Ohio, but traces its roots back to earlier Shaker breeders in New York State.
c. 1874
Russian paleontologist Vladimir Kovalevsky publishes the first attempt to classify, by Darwinian descent theory, the fossil and modern forms of the two largest groups of the worlds mammals. These are the artiodactyls, which include pigs, as well as cattle, goats, deer, camels and hippos; and the perissodactyles, which include horses, rhinoceroses, and tapirs.
c. 1875
U.S. politicians begin referring to the practice of securing federal money to fund popular projects in their home districts as “dipping into the pork barrel.”
Delaware canner A. B. Richardson applies for a patent on a new can shape and a new method for canning boneless hams.
Glasgow, England grocer Thomas Lipton, who learned merchandising methods in the grocery section of a New York department store, opens his first shop in England. He then buys two fat pigs which he names Lipton’s Orphans. Lipton has them painted with the words “I’m going to Lipton’s, the Best Shop in Town for Irish Bacon.” and driven through the streets of Glasgow. By 1890, Lipton is the millionaire owner of 300 grocery stores and the founds the Lipton Tea Company.
A vaccine to prevent anthrax in hogs and sheep is developed by Louis Pasteur.
Chicago meat packer Gustavus Swift perfects a refrigerator car to take Chicago-dressed meat to eastern butchers. Sides of pork and beef hang from overhead rails inside the car.
German bacteriologist Friedrich Löffler discovers the bacilli that produce swine fever (hog cholera), swine erysipelas, and glanders (another livestock disease).
Van Camp Packing Co. is incorporated and packs 6 million cans of pork and beans per year for shipment to Europe as well as to many U.S. markets.
In the legendary origins of the American hot dog, Anton Ludwig Feuchtwanger of St. Louis, Missouri, begins serving “frankfurter” pork sausages in a split bread roll.
The U.S. corn crop tops 2 billion bushels for the first time in history, double the 1870 crop. Most goes into hog feed, as U.S. cattle are still fattened largely on grass.
The meticulous logs of the Meerut Tent Club, a boar hunting or “pig-sticking” club in India during the British Raj, records that 85 boars were dispatched by its members during the 1885-6 season’s hunting.
late 1880s
In the golden years of the British Raj [rule] over India (1757-1947) British gentlemen were again able to demonstrate their prowess as boar hunters. India provides all the ingredients for a resurgence of the sport of boar hunting or “pig-sticking” — plenty of animals, native servants and a class with the leisure and military inclinations to enjoy hunting. The pukka sahibs of boar hunting clubs throughout India, such as the Meerut Tent Club, kept meticulous records of every detail of every pig ever stuck.
A British officer serving in India, Robert Stephenson Smyth (later Lord Baden-Powell of Gilwell), achieves fame as a champion pig-sticker. In 1908, after distinguishing himself in the Boer Wars, he will found the Boy Scout and Girl Guides movements in Great Britain, both later incorporated in the U.S. as the Boy and Girl Scouts.
A Year of the Pig in the Chinese lunar calendar.
Britons begin to eat lunch, dooming the classic [huge] British breakfast which still often includes ham, bacon, sausages, roast beef, kidneys, cold toast, butter, marmalade, treacle, eggs, porridge, snipe, scones and tea with milk.
“Bogus butter” made from bleached hog fat is widely sold in the U.S. as pure creamery butter. It is no worse than butter made from casein and water or from calcium, gypsum, gelatin fat and mashed potatoes, though a margarine factory employee tells a New York state investigator that his work has made his hands “so sore… his nails came off and his hair dropped out.”
Fascinated by the legends of pigs in Celtic mythology and Irish folklore, the poet W. B. Yeats pens the folktale “Swine of the Gods” which is included in his book The Celtic Twilight, and later, in 1899 he includes in The Wind Among the Reeds, a poem “Valley of the Black Pig” about the apocalyptic beast called the ‘croppy black sow’ and the legendary valley of the same name where the enemies of Ireland would be defeated.
Van Camp Pork and Beans are advertised in U.S. magazines in the first full-page food ad to appear in a national publication.
Belgian bacteriologist Emilie Pierre Marie Van Ermengem isolates the botulism bacterium Clostridium botulinum. The anaerobic bacterium, whose toxin is 12 times deadlier than rattlesnake venom, has been associated in Europe with pork sausages whose cases provide an airless environment, while in the U.S. largely from pork and other foods that have been improperly bottled or canned.
An etching and aquatint painting by Felicien Rops, Pornokrates or “La Dame au cochon”, depicts a nude woman walking a pig on a lead as a flock of winged cherubs flutters overhead.
A Year of the Pig in the Chinese lunar calendar.
The poet W. B. Yeats includes in his book The Wind Among the Reeds, the poem “Valley of the Black Pig” about the apocalyptic beast called the ‘croppy black sow’ and the legendary valley of the same name where the enemies of Ireland would be defeated. Evidently long fascinated by the legends of pigs in Celtic mythology and Irish folklore, Yeats also included in his earlier 1883 book, The Celtic Twilight, the folktale “Swine of the Gods”.
early 1900s
Patrons of American and European music halls enjoy the antics of a troupe of ten performing black hogs, owned and trained by Edward S. Holder of Indiana. The hogs repertoire includes playing musical instruments, walking a tightrope, balancing on a see-saw and pulling a cart with a dog driver.
“Prices That Stagger Humanity”, is the headline of Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World in a campaign against high meat prices — 18¢ for pork chops or ham; 24¢ a pound for sirloin steak.
Britain imports £50 million worth of meat and £4.1 million worth of fish. The average Englishman consumes more than 56 pounds of cheap imported meat per year, mainly U.S. pork, Argentine beef and New Zealand lamb.
The Harley-Davidson motorcycle is introduced in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S. Some 50 Harley-Davidson bikes will be produced by 1906, and by 1917 production will reach 18,000 per year as the “Hog” becomes America’s top motorbike.
c. 1904
Most commercial English farms have stopped raising hogs, beef and grain as they cannot compete with imports. They are unable to meet the demand for lard, butter and cheese much of which is imported from Denmark and North America.
Recent remains of a Giant Forest Hog, the last really large animal to be “discovered” by science, are found in East Africa. Soon after, live specimens are seen and captured, though this beast had long been assumed to be either mythical of extinct.
Another version of the legendary origin of the hot dog — food vendors at the St. Louis Worlds Fair introduce a new meat snack, Red Hots. Each pork frank comes with a pair of white cotton gloves to keep the snacker’s fingers cool while eating.
Campbell’s Pork and Beans is introduced by the Joseph Campbell Preserve Company.
Upton Sinclair exposes U.S. meat-packing conditions in his book, The Jungle. The 308-page best seller has eight pages devoted to such matters as casual meat inspection, deviled ham that is really red-dyed minced tripe, sausage that contains rats killed by poisoned bread and lard that sometimes contains the remains of employees who have fallen into the boiling vats. Many readers turn vegetarian, sales of meat products fall off, and the U.S. Congress is aroused.
Birth of Isadore “Friz” Freleng (1905-1995), Warner Brothers animator/director, along with Tex Avery (1908-80) and Chuck Jones (1912-2002), of Porky Pig, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck Yosemite Sam, Sylvester and Tweety.
Feuchtwanger’s pork sausage on a bun becomes the snack of choice at baseball games. Chicago cartoonist, Thomas “Tad” Dorgan depicts them as a dachshund inside a frankfurter bun, and dubs them “hot dogs”. (see also 1883, 1904)
Sinclair’s The Jungle spurs the Meat Inspection Amendment to the Agricultural Appropriation Bill, introduced by Sen. Albert Jeremiah Beveridge (R. Ind.). It passes without dissent, but the measure does not provide for federal funding of the now required meat inspections.
The reference book, The Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce, is published. Pigs, used as example, simile and metaphor, figure prominently throughout the work as when Bierce defines edible as:

“good to eat, and wholesome to digest, as a worm to a toad, a toad to a snake, a snake to a pig, a pig to a man, and a man to a worm.”

Birth of Tex Avery (1908-1980), Warner Brothers animator/director, along with Chuck Jones (1912-2002), and Isadore “FFriz Freleng (1905-1995), of Porky Pig, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck Yosemite Sam, Sylvester and Tweety.
May 30
Birth of Mel Blanc (1908-1989), creator of the voices of Warner Brothers Looney Tunes cartoon characters such as Porky Pig, Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, Daffy Duck Yosemite Sam, Sylvester and Tweety.
November 4
Pigs fly! A piglet is taken for a 3 1/2 mile joyride in a Voisin biplane by Lord Brabazon, holder of the first pilot’s license in the United Kingdom. The piglet goes aloft in a basket tied onto the plane’s wing and bearing a sign: “I am the first pig to fly,” though he seemed to have little choice in the matter.
An animated cartoon about a pork sausage and a dog, “The Dachshund and the Sausage”, is an early production of John Bray, a Brooklyn Eagle cartoonist who pioneers animated motion picture cartoons using a “cel” system he has invented. Bray’s method, utilizing several layers of celluloid transparencies, will be used by all future cartoon animators.

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