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American LucifersThe Dark History of Artificial Light, 1750-1865$
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Jeremy Zallen

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781469653327

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469653327.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 17 September 2021

Lard Lights and the Pigpen Archipelago

Lard Lights and the Pigpen Archipelago

(p.136) Chapter Four Lard Lights and the Pigpen Archipelago
American Lucifers

Jeremy Zallen

University of North Carolina Press

In the Ohio Valley, a pork industry emerged in the geographic and ecological interstices of slavery and free labor to propel millions of hogs from farms and cornfields into a constellation of seasonal deathscapes centered in Cincinnati. This geography of life and death unmade hogs so successfully that, in combination with the new industrial chemistry of sulfuric acid, wage-worked by-product industries in stearine candles, lard oil, and soap became not only possible but enormously profitable. One of the most important formations to emerge in this geography was what this chapter calls “the pigpen archipelago.” Hogs in the antebellum Ohio Valley were born, raised, and marched toward death through spaces their captors increasingly circumscribed by constructing chains of wood-enclosed islands. From breeding pens to field pens to fattening pens to the pens on the ferries and railroads, at the “hog hotels” where droves rested and refueled, and in the massive pens surrounding slaughterhouses, the always contested movements of the hogs within and between the pigpens transformed the region. This chapter looks at how both human and nonhuman actors were responsible for making Cincinnati and its hinterlands into the epicenter of a new dialectic of mass-produced animal life and death and light.

Keywords:   hog farms, Ohio Valley, pigpens, slaughterhouses, by-product industries, Cincinnati, Ohio, lard oil, stearine candles, geographies of life and death, droves

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