E.A. Smith invents the Smith Butchering Machine in 1905. Relatively low investment returns in 1900 at his Alaskan salmon cannery inspires Smith to innovate. The low returns were due to a shortage of butchers. Prior to its invention, a cannery needed a group of about 30 highly skilled butchers to prepare enough fish for each canning line.
The machine replaces the butchering crew of thirty with one skilled operator and a few assistants.
The design of this machine requires less floor space than manual butchering tables and similar butchering inventions of its time. The machine removes the head and fins of the fish, slices it open, and removes the offal.
By 1909, this machine is installed in nine canneries along the Fraser River. It wins the top prize at the Pacific Expo in Seattle the same year.
This machine is originally marketed and sold with a racist name, the “Iron Chink,” a derogatory term used to refer to the Chinese butchers it replaced. The machine’s name is not officially changed to the Iron Butcher until the 1970s.