Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Old Salmon Can Labels

  At one time there were canneries scattered up  and down the West Coast as well as British Columbia and Alaska. They were established to take advantage of the huge salmon runs, and I assume for the purpose of canning tuna as well, though I don't know for sure. Prior to Alaska becoming a state it was legal for the canneries to have fish traps on many of the points were salmon would congregate, and often canneries would spring up close by. When I spoke to some of the old timers, they mentioned that there fish traps all up and down Icy Strait, and I believe Chatham Strait as well. Each cannery had it's own label, and some were really beautiful. A few weeks before Christmas we had an open house, and I invited my friend John Kveum  and asked if he would bring his book of cannery labels. Of course I couldn't include all of them, so I chose a few that I found especially striking. I like old time artwork, like that found on these labels and posters advertising the circus or encouraging folks to buy war bonds back during WWII. Of the five species of Pacific salmon, the most common to make it into cans were the Pink or Humpback, Red or Sockeye, and Chum or Dog salmon. John mentioned that King salmon don't can particularly well, nor apparently do Silver salmon, although there have been some attempts made at both. There isn't a whole lot more that I can comment on here, as I have limited knowledge of the subject- imagine that. In any event, I hope that you can enjoy the artwork of days gone by. Happy New Year!


  1. Interesting blog dad, I really like the labels. Love you, Camille

  2. Hi Camille, I really like them too. I wish I could have put all of the labels on the post, but it would have been too big. I love the artwork though. Love you too.

  3. Those labels are beautiful. It's amazing how lovely and artistic some generally mundane objects can be, such as advertising labels and other graphic packaging, postage stamps,vintage book covers, even old sheet music. I have a box of sheet music that my mom and dad used when they were very young, and some of those covers are decorated with gorgeous lettering, stylistic borders, etc. Thanks for sharing those labels.

    1. Hi Jill, I think advertising is a pretty important part of moving a product. With something like salmon, where aside from the species, it's all the same, I would imagine that the label could make all the difference in whether or not you sold your product. I'm so glad you enjoyed them.