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Lacquering and Labelling

A worker stands at a table varnishing cans. Script at the bottom of the image reads: "B.C. Canneries. Varnishing Cans. FDT."

Cans were lacquered to prevent them from rusting in the early days of canning, 1913. Image E-05061 courtesy of the Royal BC Museum and Archives.

At the end of the season, the cans were varnished to prevent rusting during storage and shipping. The introduction of enameled and then aluminum cans eliminated this step.

At first labelling was done by hand which was both labour intensive and costly. A thin line of wax was used to adhere the label to the can. Later, the labelling machine revolutionized packaging, intricately applying glue and a label to each can at high speed.

Label features boats projecting beams of light, with a salmon jumping in the foreground.

This label was created by the Canadian Fishing Co. during the Second World War to show solidarity with the war effort. Gulf of Georgia Cannery Society Archives.

Can label for "Fresh Fraser River salmon packed by J.S. Deas. Fraser River, British Columbia." Label includes an illustration of a salmon in front of an idyllic stream scene.

Deas commissioned his labels from Grafton Tyler Brown, the first Black printer and painter from Oregon. Image I-61591 courtesy of the Royal BC Museum and Archives