Voyage to the Arctic: A Whaler's Tale

Products of Whaling

What kind of things were made out of Whale products? 

Whale oil was made by boiling down whale blubber in a 'blubber pot' (like the one pictured here) and was used as fuel for lamps. (Remember - most people did not start to use electricity for their lighting until the 1920s). Whale oil was also used as an ingredient in margarine, soap and shoe polish.

 

Baleen is a very tough and flexible substance. It was used to make all sorts of things like ladies (and gentlemens!) corsets, umbrella spokes and parasol ribs, skirt hoops and springs for carriages.

 

On the right you can see a 'staybusk'. These were decorated pieces of whale tooth or baleen. They were often made by whalers and given to their wives or girlfriends as presents. They were placed down the front of a corset to keep the wearer upright.

 

You can also see a string of beads and a pastry cutter made from whalebone. Whalebone, tooth or baleen was used for making things which might be made out of plastic nowadays.




 
Document icon Learning article provided by: Hull Maritime Museum | 

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