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British Industrial History

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Liebig Extract of Meat Co

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Dug up in Eastington, Gloucestershire.
January 1899.
July 1900.
July 1900. Lemco.

The Liebig Extract of Meat Company was the originator of Liebig and Oxo meat extracts and later Oxo beef stock cubes. It was named after Baron Justus von Liebig, the German 19th-century organic chemist who founded it.

The company produce Fray Bentos Corned Beef.

1840 Liebig developed a concentrated beef extract to provide a cheap and nutritious meat substitute, Extractum carnis Liebig, for those unable to afford the real thing, but European meat was too expensive for it to fill that role. Instead, his extract was dispensed by the royal pharmacy as a tonic.

1865 The Liebig Extract of Meat Co was established in London, after George Christian Giebert, a young engineer, read of Liebig's work and wrote to him suggesting that they meet to discuss opening a manufacturing plant in South America.

1866 The company opened its factory, owned by the Societe de Fray Bentos Giebert and Cie, on the banks of the Uruguay River at Villa Independencia, Uruguay, later called Fray Bentos, where the extract was manufactured using the flesh of cattle that would otherwise have been killed for their hides alone, bringing the cost of meat to one third of the European cost.

1873 The company was successfully expanded until Justus von Liebig died. Liebig's began producing tinned corned beef, sold under the label Fray Bentos. Later, freezer units were installed, enabling the company to also export frozen and chilled raw meat.

1881 Company first registered the Fray Bentos trademark for glue and extracts of meat.

1899 A cheaper version of Liebig extract was introduced under the name Oxo. Later, the Oxo bouillon cube was introduced.

1920s The company acquired a wharf on the south bank of the river Thames in London (where the Post Office Central Power Station had been). There they erected a factory, demolishing most of the original building but retaining some of the riverside frontage. The dominant feature of the new design was the Oxo Tower.

1924 The Liebig Extract of Meat Co was acquired by the Vestey Group and the factory was renamed El Anglo.

1958 Fray Bentos meat pies started to be manufactured in England.

1968 Liebig merged with Brooke Bond.

1984 Company was acquired by Unilever.

2008 Fray Bentos canned meats, now owned by Premier Foods, are still sold in Europe.

See Also


Sources of Information

  • Trademarked. A History of Well-Known Brands - from Aertex to Wright's Coal Tar by David Newton. Pub: Sutton Publishing 2008 ISBN 978-0-7509-4590-5
  • [1] Wikipedia