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In Their Words : The Story of BC Packers
A cannery working raking cut salmon pieces into boxes
A cannery worker raking the hundreds of cut salmon pieces into wooden boxes during the 1940s. Notice the sharp round blades near the top of the picture. Notice the cut salmon falling from the blades at left. Two sizes of gang knives are apparent.
City of Richmond Archives 1985 12 5
A cannery worker raking cut salmon pieces into boxes An overhead view of two sets of gang knives at Imperial Cannery A chinese-canadian cannery worker throwing salmon into gang-knives

Cutting Salmon to Fit the Can

From the sliming tables, the perfectly cleaned salmon were conveyed to the 'gang knives'. Dressed in an apron, heavy gloves, a hat and rubber boots, a Chinese worker threw each clean, wet salmon onto a slotted, ferriswheel-like escalator. This lifted the salmon up through a set of spinning circular blades called gang knives. These blades were spaced apart to cut the fish into lengths equal to the height of the cans being filled. The taller 1 lb cans needed much thicker slices of salmon than the 1/2 lb cans or the even shorter 1/4 lb cans.

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