Submitted by M.Lenz, Collections Assistant
This gillnet twine tester came from the Nelson Brother’s Net shed in Steveston; it was used circa 1970-1990. This machine tested the tensile strength of gillnets by measuring how far the mesh could be stretched before breaking. You would use the tester by first looping the mesh around the screw and mesh guide (the round guide near the centre). You would then turn the handle and watch the gauge to see where the mesh broke. For a net to be used on a fishing boat, it had to withstand at least 20lbs of pressure.
Today, tensile strength is measured with elaborate machines that require a click of the mouse to provide instant analysis of fishing nets, ropes, and cables. Most of these common items are now made of polyethylene fibre.
You can also find this and many other interesting artefacts in Gulf of Georgia Cannery Society’s publication, The Monster Cannery, available in the Cannery Store.