The History of  the Allbright-Nell Company

For the past century, the Allbright-Nell Company (ANCO) has existed as one of the most dependable product lines in the industry. In 1993, Rick Eaglin purchased the ANCO line, creating a new company under the name ANCO, Inc. In the following links, you can learn about ANCO’s past and how it developed into what it is today.  


Mr. William B. Allbright graduated from MIT and for the next 15 years his employer gave him complete charge of the manufacture and sale of oils, fats, grease and other animal products. He developed many new processes and invented new machines that later became standards in the industry. Among these inventions was a process for making cottonseed oil and mixing it with beef fat and stearin to produce a compound. The company gradually expanded until the Great Depression, but it recovered well. In time, Mr. Allbright became associated with Mr. B. F. Nell and, in October 1902, they formed The Allbright Nell Company, which started in a small building at 4023 Wentworth Avenue. In 1917, they moved into a newly constructed building located at 5317-5329 South Western Boulevard. Shortly after vacating their original building, it collapsed.


The company had expanded to include a line of soap-making and canning equipment, as well as Barometric Condensers. The Engineering and Production Departments had developed manufacturing techniques to such an extent that management was confident that ANCO could successfully compete with any and all competition. Up until the mid-1920’s, most of the machines that were built were flat belt driven. Pulleys and countershafts were big business. With the compilation of the No. 20 General Catalog by Schemer in 1932 came the first promotion of directly motor driven electric machines. In 1921, the depression forced ANCO to suspend shop operations on alternate weeks. Shop supervisors made repair parts and breakdown orders were filled and shipped with the help of office employees.  


In 1930, the first year of the Great Depression, ANCO was not affected too heavily. However, in 1931 and 1933, ANCO wages were cut.
Around this time, ANCO became one of the first industrial offices to have air conditioning in Chicago. Under a New Deal program, during 1933-1935, the meat industry was an unwilling partner in the liquidation of 6,188,000 pigs and 220,000 piggy sows, as well as other emergency and relief programs. This was all due to an over production of hogs and a severe drop in prices. In 1934, the drought brought on a program where the government bought starving cattle and canned meats for relief purposes. Even some states started canning meats. Therefore, ANCO was loaded with orders for equipment to prepare meat for canning.


ANCO installed most of the equipment for Armour’s new six story Chicago Beef Plant, the largest in the U.S. After two years of experimenting with Tobin Packing Co., ANCO installed the first complete Resin Depilatory system in their Fort Dodge, Iowa plant. It was here that the first ANCO industrial movie was made. After shooting in many plants during the next couple of years, a 1200-foot film was produced and shown throughout the world. In 1938, just a few days before the AMI Convention, an agreement was made to produce a Bacon Press which Swift & Co. had experimented with. With just two large photos of their crude apparatus, they secured orders for about twenty presses. The ANCO Press soon became a big seller.


1941 brought the U.S. into World War II and soon the Office of Price Administration placed ceilings on meat prices and then food rationing. Most wages were frozen and ANCO had made steady progress. During the war years ANCO doubled its output for the meat industry and produced nine times this amount in “war work”. Most of the latter was in machining and the partial assembly of parts for Sherman army tanks. Two shifts were operated and some women were hired and trained to weld and operate small tools. By this time, great progress had been made in the development and manufacture of the Hydramatic Slicer with its unique involute knife. By 1964 it was estimated that over 85% of all sliced bacon was being cut on ANCO Slicers. The diamond trademark was registered in the U.S. Patent Office, Reg. No. 559,232. Through 1966, ANCO agencies had equipped five large slaughterhouses in Russia, Philippines, Formosa, South Africa, and New Zealand.


Chemetron Food Equipment Division of Chemetron Corporation, a newly formed combination of the previous Allbright-Nell Division, Votator Division, and Mepaco Division, was created. Their batch cooker had a built-in power pack drive; this assured fast, even cooking with the reliability of a durable, custom made drive system that provided a long life. An electronic end point control system allowed the operator to preset the precise moisture level of the final product. Although the basic batch rendering process has not changed a great deal from the old days, it had been automated to such an extent that it could compete with continuous rendering operations.


During the period from 1977 – 1993, two other companies owned the ANCO equipment line. Sales declined drastically due to less emphasis being placed on the equipment line and the resulting consolidation of the sales force. The company’s final ownership was under Cherry-Burrell Process Equipment, a division of the United Dominion Industries, Inc.


In August of 1993, after purchasing the ANCO equipment line from Cherry-Burrell Process Equipment, our company was formed under the name of ANCO, Inc. The company began operation in Greensboro, North Carolina with the goal of successfully changing the decrease of ANCO’s equipment line over previous 15 years. Besides increasing the number of cookers sold, we introduced the ANCO crax-press and a newly designed continuous disc cooker. Their immediate success allowed them to expand into other rendering applications. In 2011, due to the company’s rapid growth, a new manufacturing facility was built and the ANCO world headquarters was moved to High Point, NC USA. ANCO’s primary goal continues to be to provide our customers with quality, service, and superior workmanship. Our new manufacturing facility and headquarters has doubled the size of the manufacturing plant, and thus doubled the production capabilities to further meet the needs of the rendering industry.