Philip Danforth Armour Sr.

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Philip Danforth Armour Sr.

Birthplace: Munnsville, Madison, New York, United States
Death: January 06, 1901 (68)
Chicago, Cook, Illinois, United States (Pneumonia)
Place of Burial: Graceland Cemetery, Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of Danforth Armour and Juliana Ann Armour
Husband of Malvina Belle Ogden
Father of Jonathan Ogden Armour and Philip Danforth Armour Jr.
Brother of Simeon Armour; Marietta Chapin; Herman Ossian Armour; Andrew Watson Armour and Joseph Francis Armour

Occupation: Industrialist
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Philip Danforth Armour Sr.

Founder of Armour & Company.

Armour was born in Stockbridge, New York to Danforth Armour and Juliana Ann Brooks. He was one of eight children and grew up on his family's farm. Armour was mostly of Scottish and English descent, with his surname originating in Scotland. He was educated at Cazenovia Academy in New York before he dropped out to work on the family farm. Among his other first jobs was that of Driver on upstate New York's Chenango Canal which ran through Madison County at that time and would have been a busy thoroughfare. While not an easy job, the countless miles must have built his legs and tenacity, for in 1852, he walked across the country.[citation needed] He went to mine the gold fields of California, and eventually earned thousands of dollars- a sizeable sum for that time.

He then moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with a sizeable fortune and started a wholesale grocery business. In Milwaukee, Armour formed business partnerships with Frederick Miles in the grain business and with John Plankinton in the meatpacking industry. With his brother, Herman, he entered the grain business and built several meat packing plants in the Menomonee River Valley. Together they formed Armour and Company in 1867, which soon became the world's largest food processing and chemical manufacturing enterprise, headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. Armour & Co. was the first company to produce canned meat and also one of the first to employ an "assembly-line" technique in its factories.

In order to get his meat products to market Armour followed the lead of rival Gustavus Swift when he established the Armour Refrigerator Line in 1883. Armour's endeavor soon became the largest private refrigerator car fleet in the U.S., which by 1900 listed over 12,000 units on its roster, all built in Armour's own car plant. The General American Transportation Corporation would assume ownership of the line in 1932.

His meat packing plants pioneered new principles of large-scale organization and refrigeration to the industry. Armour was one of the first to take action to reduce the tremendous waste inherent in the slaughtering of hogs and to take advantage of the resale value of what had been waste products. It was reported that the company used every possible part of the animals to make products other than canned meat, such as fertilizer, glue and pepsin. Armour famously declared that he made use of "everything but the squeal".

The company's reputation was tarnished by the scandal of 1898–99 in which it was charged with selling tainted beef. This event provided fodder for the muckraking novel by Upton Sinclair entitled The Jungle, which was published in February 1906 and became a bestseller.

In 1893, Armour donated $1 million to found the Armour Institute of Technology (a privately endowed coeducational college), which merged with the Lewis Institute to become Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) in 1940. He also created the Armour Mission, an educational and healthcare center. In 1900 his oldest son, Philip D. Armour, Jr., died.

Armour died on January 6, 1901 of pneumonia at his Chicago home. He was survived by his wife, Malvina Belle Ogden whom he had married in 1862, and by one son, the other having died about a year before.

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Philip Danforth Armour Sr.'s Timeline

May 16, 1832
Munnsville, Madison, New York, United States
November 11, 1863
Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio, United States
January 11, 1869
January 6, 1901
Age 68
Chicago, Cook, Illinois, United States
Graceland Cemetery, Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, USA