UNION BRAND LOBSTER
In 1849, the first shipment of tinned lobster exported from Nova Scotia was rejected at its destination in London as unsaleable. Despite that rocky start, the industry grew quickly in Nova Scotia.
In early years, it was dominated by large commercial packers from New England who set up canneries in Nova Scotia after over fishing the stocks in Maine & Massachusetts.
By 1900, the lobster fishery surpassed the cod fishery and no fewer than 919 canneries were operating in Eastern Canada with 277 in Nova Scotia alone. In many communities, the lobster canneries were the first places where women could work outside of the home. Some “canneries” were nothing more than kitchen tables, while others were large scale operations.
A Royal Commission in 1928 headed by Marcus Coady recommended the creation of fishermen’s co-operatives. By the next year, 150 organizations had been formed and fishermen were giving a chance to control their own fate with respect to pricing and marketing their catch.
With so many brands of tinned lobster on the market, competition became fierce for “gold medal” status and many labels bore gold medal awards from world exhibitions, royal proclamations, and state fairs.
Design of the labels, and branding, were exceptionally well developed for the era and came second only to the product inside the tins - Nova Scotian lobster -
the best in the World.