The Tsirku Cannery

Jim Szymanski has provided visitors a unique opportunity to view a working model of a salmon cannery. This brainchild of Szymanski's has been 14 years in the making, and required Jim to locate, remove, transport and refurbish equipment that has since been replaced by more "modern" equipment. (Tsirku Cannery demonstrates how three piece cans were fashioned and filled with salmon. Modern method involves the use of two piece cans.) The working model and Jim's articulate insights and explanations, make this   perhaps Haines' most entertaining educational experience.


The Line: three piece can parts are manufactured and the filling process shown in this working line of equipment.

Can Body Reform machine: can sides are first reformed into cylindrical shape then "rolled" along by belts to the next stage of the process.

Rotary Flanger: can sides are given flanges to secure lids, then "rolled" along by belts to the next stage.

Can Seamer: bottom lids are secured to the can and the cans are sent down line to be packed with Salmon.

Head Indexer: humans enter into the equation for the first time as workers lay fish upon a belt which transports them to a revolving knife (watch your fingers on this baby!) which cuts the head off the salmon with minimal waste

The salmon is now ready for the final ride! (Jim hopes to replace this fabric fish with a more functional model for demonstration purposes. Processing real fish might get a bit messy for most visitors.)

  Iron Chink: this monster fully cleans, reams, and processes the salmon, and was named for the number of Chinamen it replaced on the production line.

Gang Knife: this handy dicer took the body of the salmon and sliced it to a size convenient for the can.

Rotary Fish Filler: the cans are back, and filled with salmon!

  Weighing Machine: the cans are weighed, and those found to be light are automatically rerouted to have a little more salmon added for your satisfaction! Only about 2% of the product at this point needed to be adjusted.

Clincher: the tops of cans are finally installed.

High Speed Vacuum Closing Machine: here can seams are sealed within a vacuum. This puppy weighs about six tons.

Jim will be happy to tell you what it took to remove this piece of equipment from its dilapidated cannery with naught but come-alongs, ropes and timbers.

Retort: the final phase is to load a cart full of salmon-filled cans into the oven for cooking.

Hats off to Jim Szymanski for the vision and perseverance to realize and share this tribute to the fishing industry: the industry which built the town of Haines.