The most modern fish plant in the country has brought a touch of the sea to Norwood.
The Edw. W. Sawyer & Co. has opened a new plant which has a capacity of 32,000 fish sticks an hour. The spic and span structure of white brick is on Industrial Way, Norwood, near the Boston-Providence road.
The Edw. W. Sawyer k Co., Inc., has been a pioneer in fish stick sales. Between 1954 end the previous year, sales of fish sticks in the United States skyrocketed from less than 8 million pounds to more than 50 million pounds annually Most of the fish stick plans have remained close to the bases of the fishing fleets.
The spotless kitchen of the Edw. W Sawyer & Co., Inc., plant in Norwood employs 35 women and 10 men. The quarry tile floor is scoured nightly with compressed air and steaming hot water. Both men and women have tiled locked rooms and showers. Each person who leaves the operating line must wash hands thoroughly before returning.
To insure a high cleanliness potential, not a .single, piece of wood was used in the 11,000-square-foot plant. Automatic machines form 100 packages a minute, and each is purified by ultra-violet rays before being packed with fish sticks.
Designed for the highest standards of quality control, the plant has attracted nationwide attention as automatic machinery permits exact control of the purity, flavor, and temperature of cooking oils. Each package is given a final check for weight and form of the fish sticks.
Because of the extensive operations of the company, the Norwood plant has a cold storage holding room with a capacity of a 1/2 million pounds of food product. Temperatures of 35 below zero are maintained in the holding room which is lined with six inches of cork insulation.
Mr. Sawyer has been engaged in the food business since shortly after his graduation from Dartmouth College in 1929. When he first joined the national fish department of the Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company he worked on fishing boats to supplement the knowledge which he had gained as a boy hauling nets at Bass River, Maine. In 1931 the Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company sent Mr. Sawyer to Detroit as a fish buyer. In 1932 he was placed In charge of an oyster shucking plant at Gwin’s Island on the Chesapeake Bay near Baltimore.
In 1934 Mr. Sawyer became sales manager of the national fish department of the Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company. Within two years he became general manager of the department and held this position until 1942 when he joined the War Production Board.
He helped set up procurement for the Perishable Subsistence Branch in the Subsistence Division of the Quartermaster Corps. He was raised to the rank of major and placed in charge of the water food section. Later, Mr. Sawyer was responsible for all perishable food buying for both domestic and overseas consumption by the United States Army.
In 1944 Mr. Sawyer became Chief of Perishables Subsistence in the European Theatre and found himself responsible for such items as 125,000 loaves of bread a day to provide food for prisoners of war. In some areas he distributed ingredients for bread to householders and then collected the finished product.
After returning from war, Mr. Sawyer resumed his position of general manager of the A&P. In 1947 he formed the Edward W. Sawyer & Company, Inc., to wholesale fish and other frozen foods.