National Geographic : 1944 Jan
The National Geographic Magazine products I went out one day to the Frigorifico Wilson. Armour likewise has a large meat packing plant near Sao Paulo, while Frigorifico Anglo and Swift are located elsewhere in the country. As I walked through the plant I saw so much meat that perhaps I should be ostracized for talking about it! In addition to supplying local needs, Brazil packers send much meat abroad. In one label ing and packing room I saw thousands of tins of corned beef to be shipped to Britain. United States soldiers stationed in north Brazil also eat Brazilian pork and beef. Wearing heavy overcoats, we went into the cold rooms to see row upon row of molded beef. All bones are first removed, and the meat is then folded into canvas compresses, which hang one below the other, so that the weight of the.lower ones help in molding the others. Boards are fastened at the open sides of the canvas "hammocks" to keep the ends of the meat flat. Thus the beef is pressed into uniform compact blocks (page 75). Meat so prepared occupies only 57 to 63 cubic feet to the ton, instead of about 85 cubic feet, a saving of 30 to 35 percent in shipping and storage space. Most of the packers are also installing equipment for dehydration. One shipload of dehydrated meat is equivalent to 8 or 10 ships full of ordinary dressed meat. Natural form of dehydration is the making of xarque, or sun-dried beef, now being sent in quantities to the rubber workers in the Ama zon. "Black Shell" Meat Sealed by Asphalt Still another manner of preparing meat for shipment to north Brazil is to dip it into an asphalt mixture which effectively seals it over the outside. "Black shell" it is called, be cause of this asphalt coating. Hides from the slaughterhouses formerly were sent to the United States for tanning. In the first year of the war this export almost stopped. Since then, local tanneries have in creased their capacity and are now furnishing the United Nations, especially Russia and the United Kingdom, with finished leather. In Sao Paulo alone there are 52 rubber com panies making various types of rubber arti cles. There are others in Rio. No longer, however, can you get rubber balls, dolls, and other nonessential items. All companies have turned to making war products. Three major companies-Firestone, Good year, and Pirelli-have tire-manufacturing plants here. Brazil also has one other major and two smaller tire companies. Each of the major plants produces thou sands of tires, tubes, and other accessories. They supply local needs and are turning over enough standard tires to the Rubber Develop ment Corporation to fill most essential require ments throughout South America. As I went through the modern Firestone plant, I saw balls of Brazilian rubber going into the washers. All of the square woven fabric and much of the cord fabric used in the tires also were locally made from Brazilian cotton. At the University of Sao Paulo I saw re search being conducted in the alimentation of Brazilian soldiers. Because many of the troops have been sent to northeast Brazil, foods from that locality are being studied for their richness in vita mins, proteins, calories, etc. Some have been eliminated because they possess few vitamins; others have been recom mended. Peanuts, cashews, and Brazil nuts in various forms have been suggested as die tary adjuncts. War Bread from Plant Roots One war bread has been developed which will last six months and still keep its eating qualities. Loaves are hard on the surface, but remain soft inside. The bread is made from a mixture of wheat flour and flours of man dioca and other roots of Brazilian plants. Research scientists are conducting work on malaria and malaria therapy. Substitutes are being sought for quinine. This includes testing native herbs and medicines reputed to check the fever, and also searching new re gions of Brazil for trees which belong to the same family as the cinchona. One of the most interesting efforts to me was the "pre-solo," or preliminary aviation course, conducted by Dr. Jayme Americano, a Sao Paulo physician. Lacking finances for a Link trainer, he has designed a trainer of his own. Instead of being electrically operated, dials and controls of the trainer are connected to columns of water. Artificial disturbances can be set up in the columns of water to simulate air disturbances in flying. Seated in the trainer, a student operates the controls as in a plane and endeavors to keep the dials registering level flight. It's hard, I found out, as the doctor gave me my first "lesson" in blind flying. While I watched my turn and bank indicators, I went into a bad nose dive. When I finally got the nose up, I found that I had gone into a wild, badly banked turn. Many students find themselves in the same predicament.