Lobster measure, for measuring the carapace, or body shell, of the lobster. The shorter measure is 3 1/4", and that is the minimum allowable size of the carapace; the maximum is 5". If the lobster carapace is between these two lengths, and the lobster is not an egg-bearing female, it may be kept. Otherwise, the lobster must be thrown back. This measure has a float attached to it, so that it won't sink if dropped overboard.
Painting of two lobster fishermen in a dory, with sails set. The dory is sloop- rigged with a sprit mainsail, a typical inshore fishing dory of Maine and Massachsetts. The boat may have encountered a storm, tearing the sails, but the torn sail is more likely artistic license, or just an old one on its last legs. Both fishermen are wearing oilskin trousers to stay dry while hauling traps. There is a lobster pot in the boat and a small anchor in the bow.
The artist does not show up in any of the regular sources so may have been a talented amateur.
Small wide rubber bands are used hold the large claws of the lobster closed, in order to keep lobsters from hurting each other when stored or shipped together. Before rubber bands, lobster fisherman whittled plugs that could be inserted into a lobster's claw to prevent them from opening.
This photo shows something of the evolution of lobster boats in the mid 20th century, when some were open boats, like the one in the foreground, and some had spray hoods and deckhouses.
The open boat is a double ender, perhaps dating from the 1910-20 period and may have been hauled out to die. The spray hood visible on the second boat and several in the harbor became more common as boats got faster using converted automobile engines after World War II. By 1960, virtually all lobster boats had switched to a solid deckhouse.
Lobster boat in Bass Harbor, on the southwest corner of Mount Desert Island.
This photo shows an evolution in lobster boat design The boat at mooring on the right has only a canvas spray hood. The boat pulled up on shore has a combination spray hood and hard deckhouse, and the boat in the foreground has a more modern wooden deckhouse. The steadying sail keeps the boat from rolling in a sea while picking up traps. Today's lobster boats are much wider (beamier) so that they don't roll as much.
In the 1950s there were relatively few yachts on the Maine coast. Those that were here were all wooden like the lobster boat in the foreground. Lobstering was, as is now, a very important livelihood. Photograph by Carol Thayer Berry.
Originally named Buddy & Sylvia, the 33-foot lobster boat Genevieve had a long life, working from 1950 to the late-1990s. Originally, it had no shelter other than a piece of canvas over hoops to keep the engine dry. Later, a deckhouse was added, complete with Beals Island-style diamond ports.
Gus Skoog built more than 80 boats, mostly lobster boats measuring more than 28 feet long, and another 30 smaller boats. He worked from the 1950s to the 1970s in his Vinalhaven shop. He worked until he was 88.