Cape Breton's Magazine

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Page 4 - Lobster Factories around Cape Breton

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1978/8/1 (382 reads)

on the retort to blow the water every now and again. But instead of the 2i hours in the old process it was only 35 minutes in retort and you had the finished product. And of course by then we had the sealing machine so the fellow sealing with lead solder was done away with • thank the Lord. And then be up in the morning to start a- gain. At first my father (A. J. Morrison) with a helper would row to Smokey with the scow to pick up those lobsters. Later he had the first engine along here. And D. L. Morrison would have to go up as far as Wreck Cove Shore buying lobsters. They were in partnership in the lobster factory. They started about 1912 or 1910. And for a couple of years before then a fellow named Robinson from up Nova Scotia had a factory at Wreck Cove Shore. My father and uncle both had a little store each. And they would keep the fishermen supplied, well, mostly all winter. We'd have to get all our supplies in by boat • that's the only transportation there was then. We had a store and a warehouse • and the warehouse would be filled right to the door with supplies for the winter.. My father made the investment. And D. L. the same way • only he wasn't into it as big as my father. It was all credit imtil spring. Then all those fishermen were paying their bills off with the lobsters • and some of them weren't making both ends meet at the end of the season. Some were and some weren't. And my father used to carry them over from year to year. But things were dirt cheap in those days. You could buy a pound can of lobsters for 35 cents. And that was all meat of course. In our factory we bought lobsters by the pound. Three and four cents a pound the fishermen would be get? ting. Anyhow, they'd buy them and weigh them, row them to the shore at the factory. And everybody from the factory would have to go down. We had a tackle to haul the boat up. Sometimes it would be up as high as to where he'd be sitting, all the lob? sters in the boat, spilled right into the boat, each person's lobsters as he bought them. And they'd have to haul the boat up by tackle. Annie Margaret: And both women and men on that tackle, especially if there was a storm and the waves were coming high. D. J.: They haul that boat right up. You take, that boat would be heavy, you know, full of lobsters. It was not a small one at all. (How many pounds would you process in a single day?) I suppose there'd be about 2000 poimds a day • and maybe more. And when there'd be a storm on perhaps for 2 or 3 days, they had a room separate from the factory where the women could polish all those cans. They'd have to get bag ma? terial • like burlap potato bags • and that was good for polishing cans. Annie Marga? ret; We'd polish them and then put them in the case and put the cover on. D. J.: Of course, the men would close up the cases. We'd ship them about every two weeks, I guess • it was a Halifax boat and we called it the shipper • they had different names over the years. As soon as we'd make a shipment, they'd wire Halifax and tell them to insure however many cases were to be put on the boat. They weren't sold a- round here • they were shipped to Halifax. Anyone who'd go to the factory could buy a can or two • but the cases were going a- way. And when the season was all over, they would get together and make a social. An? nie Margaret: We'd be paid the last day of the factory. D. L. used to give his motor boat to the boys to take us out for a college of cape breton press Patterson's History of Victoria County Edited by W. James MacDonald G. G. Patterson wrote this history in 1885. The work has been updated by James MacDonald, who has added appendices and footnotes. This volume provides a colorful account of the early history of Victoria County, Cape Breton, complete with detailed index of many of the first settlers' names and early place names with descriptions. Some of the earlier photographs of this beautiful county of Cape Breton are also featured. $13.00 per copy - Hard Cover Available at your local bookstore To order by mail, kindly send cheque or money order in the amount of $13.00 for each copy, made payable to: THE COLLEGE OF CAPE BRETON PRESS P. 0. Box 760, Sydney, Nova Scotia, BIP 6J1 ''mmm-s
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