how would the old "man in the jar filling machine" work in real life?

So, saw another incarnation of the old gag where a person falls into a hopper in the food processing equipment and ends up stuffed into a jar, can, box, etc.

So, what’s the farthest a person could get in a scenario like that before they clogged up the machinery?

My first guess would be the hopper itself as I’ve never seen one with an outlet side big enough to pass a person through.

Well, it depends on whether or not there is any grinding or such that occurs prior to being put into packaging. People are, after all, just meat so if little bitty sausages and various sorts of meat-reduced-to-paste can be packaged so can a person if put through the same process as the cow/pig/chicken/whatever.

Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle implies that at least under some circumstances a packaged person could reach the consumer’s dinner table. Of course, under others the unfortunate addition to the product will be caught much sooner perhaps, indeed, when the machinery becomes jammed.

Something just like that happened this year in a meat packaging plant in Oregon. A man fell into an industrial meat grinder and it happily processed him just like any other meat.

"CBS-April 30

A man has died at an Oregon packaging plant after falling into a meat grinder.

Clackamas County authorities say 41-year-old Hugo Avalos-Chanon, a contract employee for DCS Sanitation Management, fell into a meat blender at Interstate Meat Distributors while cleaning, KOIN-TV reports.
An employee pressed the emergency switch in an effort to stop the blender, but it was too late. Dr. Cliff Young, deputy state medical examiner, tells The Oregonian that Avalos-Chanon died from “blunt-force injuries and chopping wounds.”

I heard he came out fine.


I also hear he was puree of heart. :smiley:

Even without the most sensational aspect such as that, he said that it was very common for all sorts of nasty things, heads, hooves, feces, sawdust from the slaughterhouse floor etc., to all go into the grinder and get processed.

After the invasion of Iraq and ouster of Saddam there surfaced some fairly reliable reports as to the limits (or lack there of) of his (and worse his sons’) depravity. There are accounts that some of the family’s most hated enemies were executed via an industrial shredding machine. The story goes that if Saddam felt sorry for you he’d put you in head first. If not, feet first. Then your remains would be captured in a bag and either sent to your family as a warning, or used as fish bait.

Good times…

all the way according to J. Verbeck.

I believe that story is now regarded as propaganda.
As I recall, the only source for it was found to be a PR firm hired by one of the countries Saddam had fought with. I think it was questionable if there even was any industrial sized plastic shredder anywhere in Iraq.

Wouldn’t bone clog up the grinder?

Maybe for a low-powered consumer grade grinder but not an industrial one. Animal carcasses have to be shredded and rendered in bulk all the time for various purposes and there are large machines that can easily handle that job reliably day after day without clogging.

They wouldn’t even blink if you fed them a whole human carcass. For example, wood chippers really will shred any human flesh and bones as fast as you can feed it to them. The larger ones are built to handle hardwood several inches in diameter so human bones are extremely light work for them.

Lots of farming and industrial equipment is the same way. You don’t have to be a serial killer to know that. People find that out by accident all the time especially when it comes to farming equipment. Those are some of the nastiest injuries you can imagine and it will keep going after the loss of an arm or leg if you get pulled into it somehow.

I once had a medical book that dealt with real farming and industrial accidents and how to both treat them and prevent them. It was the goriest thing I have ever seen this side of some internet sites.

Fairly reliable? Try lies made up in order to sway people into supporting the invasion of Iraq.'s_alleged_shredder

I hadn’t considered a grinding machine. That renders the size issue moot.

I was thinking more along the lines of the hoppers that feed into some sort of mixing/preparation machinery. In cartoons and such you always see some poor sucker falling into an ingredient hopper or processing line and ending up being stuffed whole into a jar.

The absolute furthest I’d think they could get is the portion measuring unit (that ensures each jar contains at least 345 grams of product) for canned/jarred products, or a few feet from the extruder for pasta, cereals, candy, etc…

It all depends on the process. I’ve seen dough handling equipment with a hopper large enough to fall into that had a screw conveyor at the bottom that would certainly be powerful enough to chew up a human and mix you into the dough and deposit your mush into a baking pan.

Packaging, however, is a different issue and modern day high speed packaging machinery is designed around a specific product. You couldn’t, for example, put a human though a machine designed around filling bottles with liquid, unless the human was liquified before he went into the filling machine. Even machines with hoppers would unlikely be powerful enough to grind you up, as true grinding would be part of the product processing line and most likely not part of the packaging process.

I used to work for a company that marketed meat grinding machines and other heavy duty stuff for the wholesale butchery trade.

The biggest machine had a hoist which lifted 100lb blocks of meat, frozen at -25C (ie - solid as concrete) into the hopper at the top. It came out of the nozzle as slightly warm mince.

I once heard about a guy who fell into a vat of peanut brittle and hardened to death.

But it could just be a line from a play. :slight_smile: