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What Am I? The Iron Butcher!

Full Iron butcher resized

After a short hiatus for spring break, the answer to the previous mystery is: the Iron Butcher!

So what did this death-defying steampunk-esque machine of grinding gears and spinning blades do? It removed the parts of the salmon that you don’t (usually) want to munch on – the guts, fins, tail, and head.  The close up photo from last week is of a wheel that was specifically designed to eviscerate (gut) the salmon.  The machine is one of the earlier cannery inventions, coming on board in 1906. A Canadian-born, Seattle-based inventor by the name of E.A. Smith dreamed up this baby, thereby revolutionizing the canning industry.

Though we call ours the ‘Iron Butcher’, the machine has a couple of other monikers as well. These machines replaced the manual labour workforce that butchered fish by hand – a workforce composed mainly of Chinese men. Some of these men ended up working at other spots on the canning line while others, unfortunately, lost their jobs.  The Cannery has two of these machines on display – come and check them out daily from 10am to 5pm! (Bonus: Our machines are from two different eras, so have a gander at the widely differing safety measures in place on these!)

Next week’s mystery item consists of two pictures, try and see if you can guess how these go together!

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