Okum – my building, my way…


Silver Okum 1910 building at the Pike Place Market, Seattle, WA. Built in 1910 by Ben Silver a trader in oakum – only he spelled it okum. What is oakum? Hemp-like fibers combined with pitch/tar for caulking in shipbuilding. Picking oakum was a staple of Victorian workhouses and penal institutions. Now the building houses restaurants and retail.

4 thoughts on “Okum – my building, my way…

  1. We still sell brown oakum to miners for temporary leak patching Dawn. Comes in long squarish strips packed 5 pounds to the box…how interesting! You’re making me hungry for fish with all the Pike’s Place Market pictures. The high plains desert where I live is not a good place to find fresh caught fish darn it!

    • I wondered if oakum had a modern application – now I know, mining. I imagine it smells just awful… and sticky, even if made with some modern version of pitch. I have to tell you one of the best fish dinners I ever had was in the least expected of places. We were at the Mt. Ebenezer Roadhouse in the NT of Australia – in the back and beyond. They served Barramundi that was amazing. I just did a search on Mt. Ebenezer – sad to report the place has been shuttered – apparently a major fight with the locals…

  2. Jute fiber and light tar is what Oakum is made of now Dawn since we’re too stupid to allow commercial hemp production. It smells like oily burlap, not horrible but not something I’d want my beloved dabbing behind her ears either (g). I’m a fool for fish, I could live on it exclusively easily. Hard to say where my best was…Mahi Mahi on Maui, fresh scallops in Seattle, blue crab in Norfolk, calamari on Okinawa…man it’s all good!

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