for english readers.
About FRAY BENTOS
To many people, especially those who grew up during the first and second World War, the name “Fray Bentos” brings to mind a very clear picture – a tin of corned beef from Uruguay -. However, Fray Bentos is actually the name of a small town in the North West of Uruguay.
It is situated on the Uruguay River, taking advantage of the natural and protected deepwater port, with beautiful and pictures sunsets, full of panoramic views along the coast…. So, welcome to it.
Fray Bentos was founded in 1859 and has got a rich work history, due to the fact that here during the 19th and 20th century Liebig´s salt meat factory was established, exploiting the rich cultural area in the River Plate, with European investors.
At only 9 kms form Fray Bentos, the International Bridge “Libertador General José de San Martín” stands. It is 5.400 metres long, being the main connection between Uruguay and Argentina. Buenos Aires, the Capital of Argentina, is only 300 Kms. Away. Each year 30% of the total number of tourists that come into Uruguay do it through this bridge. It also has a movement of 5.000 lorries per month, transporting merchandise between the Mercosur countries. The area is a centre of commercial operations with important perspective for the industrial and commercial development.
Fray Bentos has got two sea ports. One of them out of service at the moment, being the port constructed for the old Liebig´s Meat Factory. The main sea port is the deepest in the northern part of the Uruguay River. Even before the town was settled by European businessmen, many ships had used the natural facilities for trade, discharging and then loading products like bones, rawhide, horse hair and other regional products With the growth of more advance production the port was ideally situated for the export of agricultural and cattle products from both neighbouring countries. Nowadays, not only citrus and cereal are exported through it but, also the total of the wood production in Uruguay.
SOME INFORMATION IN ENGLISH
An incredible adventure…
Exploiting the riches of the cattle raising…
Fray Bentos was the specific site where the industrial revolution in Rio de la Plata region was born. Here began the most important process of the riches of the cattle rising in 19th and 20th century. The Liebigs´Extract Meat Company started in 1865, thanks to the visionary German engineer Georg Giebert, who designed a thriving business by making good use of the products and by-products of the cattle in the area.
The first European technology designed for the new industry of the “extractum carnis”, came from Glasgow; the technical advices from Germany. European and American investors with the money helped to begin the most incredible adventure in Uruguay´s economical history.
Liebig´s meat extract introduced the name of Fray Bentos to the world. Furthermore, in the imagination of the genial Jules Verne, breakfast for the first travellers to the moon was served with these products. The “Produced in Fray Bentos” trademark was everywhere. In fact the name was so famous that was adopted in England as a trademark, identifying the best quality in meat products.
The company established an independent community with standard of living far higher than surroundings areas, where special accommodations were provided for workers and their families. This “Company Town”, called “La Ranchada”, has become an interesting tourist attraction, due to the conservation of edifices and places, a tennis court and a golf course, an old hospital, a school, a cultural centre, etc. built by Germans and English workers.
The old factory did not stop working for 117 years. First as Liebig´s Company and in 1924 Anglo del Uruguay supplanted it. The Factory, known as “the kitchen of the world” finally closed its doors in 1980.
INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION MUSEUM
Thousand of people worked in the “frigorifico”, which increased and diversified the use of agricultural products. When it was shut down the opportunity for the creation of a unique museum was presented, where it can be shown to the world the original machinery and social and cultural artefacts of the technological revolution in Fray Bentos.
The Municipal Government, is working on a tourist and cultural project to preserve the German an British industrial heritage. But all this work is very important too for the preservation of Fray Bentos´ city history, which grew simultaneously with the factory.
The Museum, shows, with tourist and educational purpose, the machinery used in the meat and extract of meat process, the edifices, an 1893 “Merry weather” water pumping machine a complete canning plant, an invaluable and extremely interesting plant where the meat was cooked, a laboratory full of chemicals and chemistry jars, flasks and stoves and hundred of photos and glass negatives with the Liebig´s Company working life…
Fray Bentos´ industrial heritage of buildings and machinery is still intact. Dr. Sue Millar from England Said: “Thus there is the chance to save time and massive expenditure on conservation, to retain the exceptional scope and variety of the 19th and 20th century British manufacturing and engineering machinery…”