Monroe County Library System,  Monroe, MI 48162


Bygones of Monroe:

Fish Freezing

Monroe Democrat, November 5, 1891, p1 c4

Probably as interesting a sight as one can see at any of the business places in the city, at present, is at the J.N. Dewey & Co.'s fish freezer. The large new building is on the docks just opposite the Monroe Manufacturing Company's mill. The handling of the fish is a sight to see. They are brought up from the lake in larger boats, heavily laden, and landed at the freezer docks. All kinds of the finny family are represented, and in all sizes from the large and ugly looking cat and sturgeon down to the symmetrical little perch. The fish are taken out in baskets and each kind weighed, separately, and piled up on the floor. As soon as they can be cared for they are put in a large tub, where they are thoroughly washed. Then taken out and placed on a bench where they are, one by one, arranged into pans, for freezing. The pans are about twenty-six inches long by fifteen in width and just deep enough for one layer of fish. After it is filled a cover is put on and it is placed in a large bin and covered with ice and salt where it takes from five to six hours to freeze its contents. The next step is to remove the pans from the bins and place the fish, which are as stiff as a board, in the cooler. Here they are packed away in layers, and kept at a temperature of sixteen degrees below freezing, by means of a system of large tanks, around the walls of the room, which are kept filled with ice and salt. The cooler is divided into three apartments, which, when filled, have a combine capacity of 150 tons. It has a daily handling capacity of 10 tons. The weather this season has not been the most favorable, and the catch has not been so large that it has crowded the freezer, but Messrs. Dewey & Co. are not complaining. Herring and whitefish form the greater part of the fish that are now being frozen. The handling and preparation of the ice used, forms no small part of the business. The large blocks are broken into pieces small enough to go into the ice machine which grinds it fine. The grinder is propelled by a three horse power water motor, which is quite an interesting piece of machinery to most of the visitors. In freezing the fish it requires one and one-half tons of ice and two barrels of salt to one ton of fish. The freezer gives employment to a large number of men who receive good wages. The city may well be congratulated on this valuable industry.

Monroe Democrat, November 5, 1891, p1 c4

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