When I graduated from college with an engineering degree, I decided to move to Minnesota because I love to fish. I have a brother who lives in Minneapolis, MN and I always enjoyed visiting him because the fishing was so much better here than in Illinois, or in Iowa where I went to school for my degree. So, after graduation, my wife and I packed up a U-Haul and moved to Minnesota with ambitions but no jobs. I sent out several hundred resumes, but could have stopped at the letter “A” as the position I took was with Alloy Hardfacing and Engineering. Alloy specializes in the design and manufacture of rendering equipment and rendering systems. We can do large complex installations or single pieces of equipment.
One of the first items I was trained on was a product called a Batch Rendering Cooker and that product had quite a history in the United States and was instrumental in the growth of the meat packing industry. I always have loved the rendering industry and the history of it. We truly are the “Original Recyclers” as every part of an animal is used and turned into a useful product that benefits society. Being “green” is a term we see all the time but the renderers have always been “green”.
My grandparents lived in Chicago during the Great Depression Era, and I remembered stories of the meatpacking plants in Chicago and how the plants would hire day workers during the Depression and my grandfather did some of this work when he was unable to use his machining background and find work on a lathe.
My boss, the second owner of Alloy, Bill Aulik, also loved rendering history and he explained how Chicago was the center of the meatpacking industry around the turn of the Twentieth Century and that several batch cooker manufacturers were from the Chicago area. He introduced me to a man at a convention who worked for Albright-Nell Company (ANCO) when they were still in Chicago. Art lived in Palos Park, Illinois and I was born and raised in Palos Heights, Illinois a neighboring town.
Art had many stories about the L.G. Armour Co. and other meat packing companies on the South Side of Chicago. He told me about Globe cookers and the brothers who owned Globe on the South Side and not far from ANCO. They were heavily into rendering especially in Chicago until they developed a grip strut that was used on catwalks and mezzanines. They made so much money on this new product line they shut the batch cooker line down. Just today, I was looking at a thickness test from one of the 5’x12’ cookers in our yard and was surprised to see it was a Globe cooker.
Over the years, many batch cooker manufacturers have come and gone and I am proud that Alloy is able to service all of them. Here are some batch cooker manufacturers that were around in the 1940’s to 1960’s. Many of these companies are still around today, but most no longer build this product. I am glad that Alloy never abandoned the batch product line even though we do big continuous systems.
ANCO - Chicago, Kentucky, now North Carolina
Alloy - Minnesota
Cincinnati Butcher (Boss) – Cincinnati Ohio
The Dupps Company – Ohio
French – Ohio
Globe – Chicago IL
KSI – Ontario, Canada
I think it is awesome that a piece of machinery invented before World War II still has relevance today. In the right application, it is still the correct product for many smaller rendering plants. It is a great product with a long and glorious history. As I said earlier, Alloy can build parts or remanufacture all of these brands and have done so since 1952.