Norway is now well known for being one of the richest countries in the world. In the 1960s large oil reserves were found and the Norwegian economy has been booming ever since. Before this time however, Norway was relatively poor and relied heavily on it's fishing and whaling industries.
Between 1890 and 1960, canning of fish was Stavanger's most significant trade. Stavanger was home to more than half of Norway's canneries. In 1922, it's canneries provided employment for more than half of it's population. At it's peak there were 70 canneries producing cans of mackerel, sardines and fishballs. They were exported all over the world, even to Australia!
Our class went on a tour of the museum and watched an explanation of all 12 processes from the fish being washed and salted, to them being labeled and packed onto trucks. Perhaps the most fascinating part of the museum however were the sardine labels. Having an appealing label was paramount if the cannery wanted to sell any sardines. Therefore there were competitions between the different factories to design the best labels.
Over 40,000 different labels were designed and used to sell the same boring old product. I love how they used names like "housewife" and "Prince Albert" and put photos of traditional Norwegian ladies in typically sceanic Norwegian landscapes. Basically the cans had anything but sardines on them; people, sports, places. Here are some photos of the pretty labels.