Handmade pizza cutter: Alaska style ulu shaped cutting blade with a curved, pierced brass handle. Stand of fossil whale bone. 1900
Lot 1012 Circa 1900-1902
Recently deaccessioned from the collection of the Alaska Packers Association Museum (APAM) . Originally attributed to the estate of Giuseppe Aiello, one of the first Italian gill net fishermen that pioneered the Alaska commercial salmon fishing industry.
Native to Isola delle Feminine province of Palermo, Giuseppe had first immigrated to Pittsburg, California during the 1880’s, but he and his brother were among the first of hundreds of Italians that flocked to new economic opportunities in the Alaska Territory at the close of the 19th Century.
As a native Sicilian, Aiello often recreated sfincione for himself and compatriots, and though tomatoes were hard to come by in Alaska at that time, his Sicilian style pizza was richly topped with fresh salmon instead of the customary anchovies.
He further improvised when it came to slicing his pizza. Lacking a traditional mezzaluna, he fashioned this unique slicer based on the ubiquitous ulu he saw used by the Iñupiat after a visit to the Seward Peninsula around 1900.
His great grandson, Monsignor Guido Sarducci of the Oakland Archdiocese donated this singular object to the APAM in honor of his great grandfather’s invaluable contributions to that organization.