1989.69.115 | Saint John Lumber Company The Sorting Gap

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Saint John Lumber Company The Sorting Gap
1911, 20th century
12.6 x 29.7 cm
Gift of Sylvia Yeoman
This artefact belongs to: © New Brunswick Museum
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Keys to History

The sorting gap was a channel formed by logs over which other logs were stacked to a height of two or three feet, at regular intervals. Several dozen men stood on the sides or crosspieces, each with a long pike pole, and separated the logs based on the company mark or stamp. They would then guide the logs through to the hitching ground where those of the same brand would be gathered into what were called "rattlings." These rattlings were the building blocks for timber rafts, which represented the final leg of the journey downriver to the mills.

Source : All in a Day's Work: Lumbering in New Brunswick [Web tour], by New Brunswick Museum (see Links)

  • What

    A rattling consisted of 25 to 30 logs.

  • Where

    Sorting gaps were located at the junctions of major streams, or where coves and inlets provided deep water away from the swift main channels.

  • When

    In 1870 the federal government decreed that all logs must carry the owner's registered mark.

  • Who

    Men working the sorting gap required keen eyes in order to recognize and sort the various marks.