Mianus Improved Diesel Oil Engines

Atlantic Fisherman magazine advertisement for Mianus diesel oil engines. Diesel engines became more popular for larger fishing vessels because of their fuel efficiency and simplicity.

They were being installed into sail powered offshore fishing vessels by the 1920s, first as auxiliaries to sails. Then sails became auxiliaries to engines, and finally, as more vessels turned from dory fishing to trawling, sails disappeared.

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 This shows the inside of a sardine factory, about 1920, with a hand oil filler; these were superseded by automatic fillers.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.

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.

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.

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.

The Sardine Industry

Shore herring weir near Eastport, Maine. This is the common form of brush weir. Poles driven into the bottom and interlaced with brush guide the herring into a trap from which they can be netted. This image is from G. Brown Goode's The Fisheries and Fishery Industries of the United States, 1884-1887, Section V, Plate 128. The book can be found on line at:

The Mackerel Purse-Seine Fishery - Seine-boat and crew

Seine-boat and crew "pursing the seine." The net has been rowed around the mackerel school to entrap it, and now the fishermen are hauling it in. The dory on the left pulled the seine around the school while the net was fed out.

Once they have the seine pursed up, the schooner will come alongside, hoist the net further, and dip out the mackerel.

The Mackerel Purse-Seine Fishery

Diagram showing the different sections of a purse-seine. The seine is spread around the mackerel school by a boat. These seine boats were rowed before internal combustion engines, and are now powered. Purse seines are used for mackerel and herring.

This image is from G. Brown Goode's The Fisheries and Fishery Industries of the United States,1884-1887, Section V, Plate 59. The book can be found on line at:

The Gill-Net Cod Fishery

Norwegian method of setting the nets at the bottom. 1, Nets. 2, Large stones used for moorings. 3, Buoy. 4, Buoy-line. 5, Glass floats attached to buoy-line. 6, Watch-floats. In 1885 this was new technology in the American ground fishery which was still based on hook and line fishing.


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