Michael Cudahy was born in County Kilkenny, Ireland, in 1841. His family emigrated to the United States in 1849 and settled in Milwaukee. After leaving school Cudahy found work as a meat-packer. With his brother John Cudahy and Philip Armour he started his own meat-packing business in Omaha, Nebraska. In the 1870s he revolutionized the meat-packing industry by introducing summer curing under refrigeration. Cadahy died in 1910.