First half of the 20th century. Wood. Associació Museu del Mar collection.
Years ago, the nets were made with natural fibres like hemp, flax and, later, cotton. To make them more durable, to camouflage them in the sea and to give them more “empesa” (a maritime term which means “more shape and drop”), they had to be dyed, and to do this they used this household recipient.
The Confraria de Pescadors (Brotherhood of Fishermen) had a dyer with three fires, known as El Tint that was located on the ground floor of Pòsit Vell, in Carlets street. The water was heated in three large boilers with the bark, often from Vandellós because it was very good quality. They obtained the dye by boiling the water and the bark, and while still hot, it was then sent to a tank where tar was added, according to the type of net.
This was usually done on Saturdays so that the nets could dry on Sunday. Once dyed, the nets were laid out on the sand. Today, nets are made with synthetic threads, like nylon, and so the dyeing chamber has become obsolete.