Whaling Scene

This whaling scene shows a boat rowing close enough to the whale so that the harpooner could 'dart' the iron. This sperm whale has already destroyed one boat, a risk that whalers took. The whaleship is in the backgound. Shore whaling would use a similar boat. This somewhat dramatic whaling scene was painted by Waldo Peirce, who lived in Searsport.

Oil on canvas

Inside a Sardine Factory

Sardine packing became highly mechanized with companies in Eastport making special machinery for packing and producing tins. This shows the inside of a sardine factory, about 1920, with a hand oil filler; these were superseded by automatic fillers. The sardine cans were filled with oil before being closed and cooked. When this photograph was taken, machinery took power from belt drives coming from one large engine.

This photograph is from the Atlantic Fisherman collection.

Drying Fish, Bucksport

Summer visitors to Bucksport could buy this postcard showing fish drying at Nicholson's Wharf, Bucksport, Maine. Thomas Nicholson was one of Maine's last Grand Banks cod fishing schooner owners. By the time of this postcard, this was a rare sight. After processing, cod were salted and dried on fish flakes. Once dry, the fish were packaged for shipment. Dried salted cod could keep for well over a year.

Sardine Man

Trade show model of an oilskin clad fisherman holding a large can of sardines that reads "Sardines: Packed in Maine" and "Welcome to Sardineland." A much larger sized version has been used in lieu of a billboard to advertise Maine sardines. This sculpture/model was from the Maine Sardine Council, a State of Maine-funded marketing group that formed to promote Maine sardines in 1951. By the time it was dissolved in 2000, only 3 Maine packing plants were left. In 2006 there was one; it closed in 2010.

Schooner Salting Down a Herring Catch

A schooner loads herring from a small boat alongside, salting down the fish as it goes into the hold. The fishermen are standing thigh deep in fish presumably caught in the weir to the left rear of the photograph. Bagged salt is spread on the deck where it can be shoveled into the hold with layers of fish. A chute lets the fish be easily shoveled over the schooner's rail. Salt was a large portion of fishing expense in the days before ice plants and gasoline and diesel engines, which made fresh fishing possible. But herring were always salted as they were headed for the cannery.

Sintz Marine Gasoline Engine

Sintz Gas Engine Co. two stroke marine engine, 1893

Perhaps John Allen Jewett of Head Tide, Sheepscott River, read about the revolutionary new power plant introduced by Clark Sintz at the 1893 Chicago Worlds Fair. Jewett operated a freight scow on the river, and decided to power it with an engine instead of sail. He must have been prosperous. His new engine cost over $200, when skilled carpenters were making $2.00 a day. Jewett found out that a narrow gauge railroad was being built along the river and never installed his new engine.

Motors For Fishermen! Knox Engines

The Atlantic Fisherman, a magazine for the fisheries business, got underway in 1921. Its third issue had this cover with this large advertisement for Knox Model G Valve-in-Head Motors. Starting from small two-stroke engines in 1901-2, Camden Anchor-Rockland Machine Company of Camden, Maine progressed into making larger engines, and also began to build engine powered boats.

Eastport Pinky Sloop Model

Model of an Eastport pinky sloop, used both for fishing and as a carry-away boat to bring herring from weirs to sardine plants in the Eastport area. Also called a Quoddy Boat.

A pinky is a double-ender, taking its name from the "pinked" or pinched in stern. Schooners traditionally had bulwarks ( the sides above the deck) carried up past the rudder to form a tombstone where the main boom could be stored.

Matinicus Island Double-Ender (Peapod)

This double-ender (the type is not called a “peapod” on the island) was built in the 1950s on Matinicus by Merrill Young for Orren Ames, the last of the island’s lobstermen to row and haul traps by hand. Orren fished it for 20 years or so before retiring and selling the boat to the donor, a descendant of one of Matinicus’s first settlers, who bought a house on the island in the 1960s. He wanted a boat for his daughter’s use but also hoped to preserve the double-ender.

Otter Trawl Net

This diagram shows how an otter trawl works, with towing lines (or warps) from the trawler going to the otter boards or doors, which hold the net open. The net drags along the bottom when catching ground fish, and the caught fish collect in the cod end of the net. The net is hauled back to the trawler every few hours and emptied.

Otter trawls can be used for midwater species, and sometimes two ship share the towing in what is called pair trawling.


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