If you want a crash course about the history of the meat-processing industry in America featuring 50 key moments starting in 1662, this piece from Stacker, "History of America's Meat-Processing Industry" by Andrew Lisa is excellent. It's easy to read and highly educational. I personally learned much reading this piece.
Stacker enables republishing of their work under a Creative Commons License. I've reposted the text here, but if you want to see the original article which includes some incredible historical photos, read the piece on the Stacker website.
photo credit: Pixabay