Professor Gamgee's process for preserving meat, accounts of which we have heretofore published, has lately been put in operation in this city; and we recently had the pleasure of inspecting the apparatus at the establishment of the Holske Machine Co., 528 Water street. Here we found a large airtight chamber, in which a dozen or more carcasses of sheep were placed for treatment The process consists, substantially, in submitting the meat to the action of carbonic oxide and sulphurous acid, under pressure which is maintained for several hours. The carbonic oxide combines with the coloring matter of the blood, forming a more stable compound than when that substance is combined with oxygen—thus preserving the fresh color of the meat and assisting in preventing decomposition. But the real antiseptic agent is the sulphurous acid, which may act in two ways: First, by entering into combination with the basefofthe meat to form sulphites; and, secondly, by destroying the living germs, which, according to Pasteur's theory, are the active cause of decomposition in animal and vegetable matter. Nothing can be more complete or successful than this method of preserving meat. We tried, at home, some joints of mutton which had been treated as above, and the meat after hanging ten days or more in the air appeared to be as fresh as ever; when cooked no difference could be observed between it and the ordinary fresh meat of market. We regard it as a very important and valuable discovery.
This article was originally published with the title "The Gamgee Process" in Scientific American 20, 13, 202 (March 1869)