How Philip Armour found fortune in meat

On May 16 in the year 1832, meatpacking tycoon Philip Danforth Armour was born in New York, United States. He was the founder of Armour and Company whose extensive meatpacking operations contributed a lot to the development of Chicago City.

Philip Armour
Philip Armour (Credit: Britannica)

Armour was a son of farmers whose ancestors originated from Scotland and England. He had other seven siblings. As a child, he was expelled from school for riding in a buggy with a girl. He asked for some money from his parents and move to California during the time of the gold rush.

At age 24, Armour accumulated a fortune that allowed him to put up a wholesale business in Wisconsin. In 1862, he got married. His business soared during the civil war by taking advantage of the changing prices of pork. In the next decades, he concentrated his meatpacking business in Chicago, adopted new techniques in slaughtering, minimized waste, and introduced canned meat. The use of refrigerated cars allowed him to compete in distant markets such as New York and to be able export meat products to Europe.

By the 1890s, Armour and Company was one of the largest meatpacking firms in the world. Philip Armour died in 1901 of pneumonia at his home in Chicago.


  1. Fun fact, Armour got his start in the meat industry by supplying the Union Army with his pork during the American Civil War in the 1860’s.

    Kinda like an early Military Industrial Complex when put in a modern lense

    • Thank you for the additional info about Armour. Many details are left out in the bios I am publishing because the intent is to give a brief background or profile of people.

      I would say his business and that of others at that time ushered in the modern concept of military industrial complex.

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