Swift Refrigerator Line Reefer
The Monticello Railway Museum has a huge collection of not only steam and diesel engines, but passenger cars, MOW cars and a rather impressive collection of freight cars. Included in this collection is a Swift Refrigerator Line reefer - the original logo still visible on the car. This, along with several other reefers are gorgeously strung behind a 1916 built 4-6-0 making for one smart looking mouth watering train.
The Swift Refrigerator Transportation Company was a private refrigerator car line established around 1875 by Chicago meat packer Gustavus Swift. Back then, cattle cars were quite numerous as the best way to move meat was while it was still alive. Attempts to keep cut meat cold while being shipped resulted in one odd experiment by Swift running a string of ten box cars which ran with their doors removed! This was not viable and in 1878, Swift hired an engineer to design a ventilated car that was well-insulated and refrigerated by means of an ice compartment on top of the car. There was an initial lack of interest thanks to railroads set in their practices but Swift's cars caught on. By 1900 there were 3,550 cars on the roster, 5,000 by 1910, and 7,000 by 1930.