When lobsters are caught their claws need to be immobilized to keep them from pinching the fishermen or other lobsters. In the past hand-whittled lobster plugs like these from Machias were inserted into the claw to keep it from opening. Today, fishermen use rubber claw bands hooked around the claws with a banding tool.
The v-notch tool is used to cut a "V" in the tail of female lobsters found to be carrying eggs. This is the kind of tool used today. It is much faster than using a knife to cut the notch, although it does cost $16.00, something more than a knife. The notch usually lasts through several moltings or several seasons. It is illegal to catch and keep a lobster with a V-notch in it. This rule helps preserve the breeding stock of lobsters.
The wire lobster trap began replacing the wood lath pot by the late 1960s. It is much lighter and does not soak up water. Its maintenance is a matter of replacing the net funnels that direct the lobsters. It is also easier to fit with the escape hatch. Improved wire coating means that a trap can last for many seasons. The investment that a fisherman has in a trap ready to fish is about $75 (in 2009 dollars).
Early wood lath pots had rounded tops, formed by a bent stick at the ends. The half-round shape had the most volume for the least amount of weight of the pot. It also was more stable on the sea floor. It could be built relatively quickly by the fisherman. Later pots used steam-bent round frames. Bricks on the base ensured that it landed bottom up. These traps had a limited lifespan, soaking up water and being susceptible to worm and other marine life damage. After a season of use, the soaked traps were quite heavy.
The harpoon (middle tool) was used by whalers to attach a line to the whale. The harpoon typically only went into the whale's body far enough to hold onto the whale, but not far enough to kill it. After the whale was tired out by pulling the whaleboat, the crew carefully rowed up alongside the animal, so that it could be killed using the lance (left tool). The spade was used to cut the blubber from the whale. These are reproduction tools.
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.
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.
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.
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.