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Southern Patagonia, Freezer Plants (Frigoríficos)

sheep in pen
The development of industrial refrigeration technology in the early 20th century allowed Patagonian sheep ranchers to intensify the scale of their operations -- meat joined wool as a major export commodity. Because the season for slaughtering animals lasted only a few months, early operators were obliged to process the perishable parts of the animals rapidly, by canning and fat-rendering. Once carcases could be safely stored for long periods, they were shipped year-round in specially-equipped ships to such large overseas markets as Britain. Early plants were built with foreign capital; later, local entrepreneurs (such as Menéndez and Braun) made important investments.

How did they work? [text in Spanish]

Atlantic Seaboard
Puerto Deseado
Soc. Coop. Frigorífica de Puerto Deseado (Braun-Menéndez)
Cía. Swift de la Plata S.A.
Puerto Santa Cruz
Río Gallegos
New Patagonia Meat & Cold Storage Co.; later, Swift Beef Co. Ltd.
Río Grande
Cía. Frigorífica Argentina de Tierra del Fuego (Menéndez-Braun);
after 1940, Corp. Argentina de Productores de Carnes (C.A.P.)
Strait of Magellan
Puerto Sara
Cía. Frigorífica de la Patagonia (Townsend)
1944--plant capacity (tons): freezing 4,000, storage 4,000
Río Seco
South American Export Import Syndicate / Houlder Brothers Ltd
1944--plant capacity (tons): freezing 2,000, storage 1,400[?]
Punta Arenas
Soc. Frigorífica de Punta Arenas
(with participation of Juan Hoeneisen: little information available)
Tres Puentes
Soc. Juan Hoenisen y Cia Ltda.
1944--plant capacity (tons): freezing 1,200, storage 1,300
[2002--there is a plant operating under the same name]
Ultima Esperanza
Soc. Explotadora de Tierra del Fuego (until 1969)
1944--plant capacity (tons): freezing 3,440, storage 3,440
Puerto Natales
Cía. Frigorífica de Puerto Natales
1944--plant capacity (tons): freezing 3,000, storage 2,000

(1)  "El Gran Libro de la Provincia de Santa Cruz", ed. Carlos Godoy, Milenio/Alfa, 2000
(2)  "Ultima Esperanza en el Tiempo", Mateo Martinic B., 2nd ed., Punta Arenas, 2000
(3)  "Magallanes 1921-1952, Inquietud y Crisis", Mateo Martinic B., Punta Arenas, 1988
(4)  "En la Isla del Fuego", Vol. 3, Juan E. Belza, Buenos Aires 1977
(5)  Web page, Municipalidad de San Julián, 2002
(6) "En Viaje", Ferrocarriles de Chile, 1944
(7) "Ferrocarriles en la zona austral de Chile,1869-1973 ", Mateo Martinic B., Santiago, 2005

Last update: 12-IV-2006