The Iron Klooch

[Not for the most sensitive ears.]

If I had accesss to the Murray-Latta fonds at UBC Archives, the blueprints for the Iron Klooch would make a spectacular illustration here.

That’s your basic Kellington Slimer machine, of course.

It’s preternaturally hard to chase down a picture of this device, so here as a replacement is an engraving from “Nam-Bok, The Liar” by Jack London, a fiction that at least employs the vintage Northwestism klooch.


Klooch is obvious of derivation. You’d’ve started with Chinuk Wawa łúchmən ‘woman’, borrowed into English with the ‘white’ pronunciation kloochman. Once the word was in frequent Anglophonics use, it’d sound goofy to those pale ears, so you’d  lose the man part.  La voilà, a new synonym for squaw.  Really?  Yes, all that work just to steal a word, mutilate it, and insult Indigenous women.

Why Iron Klooch as the name of a mechanical invention?  This cannery equipment would’ve superseded many of the hitherto indispensable female workers from the region’s tribes, who had brought with them exquisitely highly developed skills at processing the traditional harvest of salmon.  So then, by analogy with the equally poorly-aging name Iron Chinkfish-beheading and -gutting machine (invented 1903)

iron chink

…naturally you marketed your labor-extinguishing device as the Iron Klooch.

I got nothing else. A historical fact we’ll try to deal with.