The Iron Chink

Here is a photo of the Iron Chink machine on display at Seattle’s Expo in 1909. The Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition was a world fair held in Seattle to publicize the development of the Pacific Northwest. Since salmon canning was a major industry in Pacific Northwest at the turn of the 20th century, it made a lot of sense for the Iron Chink, a fish cleaner, to be displayed in the fair. Edmund Smith invented the machine in 1903, which he named Iron Chink. By 1909, the machine was gaining acceptance by the canners and Smith was becoming wealthy. The participation in … Continue reading The Iron Chink

Boat Races in Lower Puget Sound

The canning industry developed in the Columbia River in the 1870s, and soon spread north to Puget Sound. What was it like working in the first Puget Sound cannery? Boat racing? Can you imagine evening boat races between Chinese and native Americans? You have to read the Mukilteo cannery story and the apparent tradition of boat racing between Chinese and the native American crews: In his report, Herbert Hunt wrote about Mukilteo Cannery and its workers: “Jackson, Myers & Company operated one of these plants at Rainier, on the Oregon side, and when the 1877 season opened, had made preparations … Continue reading Boat Races in Lower Puget Sound

The Last Chinaman

I just happened to run across this article during my Internet research of Chinese in salmon canning industry. The headline “The Last Chinaman” grabbed my attention, and it is a story of the a Chinese cannery worker in Point Roberts at the turn of the 20th century. It is quite rare to find a story about a Chinese cannery worker, with name and photo, depicting his life through the era of anti-Chinese movements. This photo from 1898 shows the salmon cannery where he worked, when the story took place. It turns out Point Roberts is situated at a very interesting … Continue reading The Last Chinaman

Almost 50 years ago…

It was in early June 1970, that we had this photo taken at International Longshoremen and Warehousemen’s Union (ILWU) Local 37 in Seattle, Washington. From left, we have Michael, Philip, Jim, Allen, and Willie. It was a day of dispatching, and we were there awaiting eagerly for an opportunity to find employment in Alaska canneries. We were all college students and foreign students from Taiwan, in our late teens. My twin brother, Philip, and I, were freshmen from University of Washington. Michael and Allen are also brothers and college students, whom we had known for several years from our days … Continue reading Almost 50 years ago…