Originally from Alberschweiler in Bavaria, Germany, 45-year-old Elias Kahn immigrated to Cincinnati, Ohio, USA, in 1880 with his wife and nine children. Cincinnati had previously peaked as a leader in pork-packing. Once a dominant industry from the pre-Civil War era, the half-million hogs that were corraled through the city's streets had faded by the mid-19th century. Nevertheless, pork was still a big industry in Cincinnati when the E. Kahn's Sons Company was started in 1883. The original location for the meat market was on the city's Central Avenue.
When Elias Kahn died in 1899, his four sons (Albert, Eugene, Louis, Nathan) and daughter (Matilda) took over the family business where it continued to expand. Kahn's quality and mildly seasoned meats resulted in regional demand, as the business continued to thrive for over 80 years. When the last of the Kahn brothers died in 1948, Matilda's son, Milton Schloss, became the company's president. In 1966, the company was sold to Consolidated Foods Corporation. 10 years later, the Sara Lee division of Consolidated Foods expanded after purchasing Hillshire Farm and Rudy's Farm.