What am I? Answer: A Retort!

retort large

And the answer to last week’s “What am I” mystery item:¬† It‚Äôs a retort!

What was a retort used for?  During the cannery’s operational days, the retort cooked the raw salmon in the cans. This steam-powered pressure-cooker would kill all bacteria and other organisms in the fish, ensuring that it could be safely eaten.

Cooking, however, was not the only use of this colossal machine!¬† Today, Steveston may look quaint and quiet, but during its cannery heyday, it was quite a different story.¬† Steveston, believe it or not, was a rough-and-tumble town with a number of saloons, brothels, gambling dens, and opium dens ‚ÄĒand a lot of lawlessness.¬† So much lawlessness that, when the jail ran out of room for tipsy townspeople, they‚Äôd be tossed into a retort!¬†¬† No, we didn‚Äôt cook them. The door of the retort would be¬†closed up, with a little bit of room for air, and was used as a ‘drunk tank’ instead!

Come see this machine and many more at the Cannery, open daily from 10am to 5 pm, and learn the unique stories that accompany each one!

Next week’s mystery:

part of mouth

Good luck! And keep the guesses coming!

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