Oysters, difficult to separate from their shells, have always been opened -- or "shucked" -- by hand.
SV Man carrying oysters from boat
CU Man entering laboratory
SV Int. man places basket of oysters on floor
CU Man taking oysters from basket and places them on conveyor belt
CU Oysters moving along belt and leaving conveyor belt opened (3 shots)
SV Man opening oyster by traditional method (3 shots)
Initials OS/1132 WLW/OS/1142
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Background: Oysters, difficult to separate from their shells, have always been opened -- or "shucked" -- by hand. But now even that rare and expensive delicacy is bowing down to scientific pressure -- shucking by a micro-wave oven.
This film shows just how science has turned its attention to the little, but very palatable, sea creature -- on an island off the coast of North Virginia, U.S.A.
SYNOPSIS: That palatable and expensive delicacy of the sea, the oyster, has traditionally been opened by hand -- mainly because they are difficult to separate from their shells. But science learns to do all things in time -- even "shucking", as the opening operation is called. On a little off the coast of North Virginia in the United States, an experimental oyster-shucking laboratory has been set up to persuade the shell to release its delectable contents more rapidly. A micro-wave over, into which oysters are fed by a conveyor belt, burns open the shells with just the right temperature -- without cooking or damaging the vital contents. The micro-wave shucker will not, however, replace the traditional human method of prising open the shells with a knife -- it will merely make it a little easier. For the oyster must not be opened more than a small fraction, otherwise the micro-waves will affect the meat.
But that small crack is sufficient to allow a knife to be slipped more easily into the shell -- cutting down shucking-time by more than a third. This is valuable time gained when one shucker handles thousands a week. However, even in this relatively simple field, the machine hasn't yet replaced man -- only made his job easier.