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Container for harpoon lance bombs

Date: c 1874
Overall: 180 x 460 x 225 mm, 3.38 kg
Medium: Wood, metal, paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Classification:Tools and equipment
Object Name: Lance bomb box
Object No: 00033891
Place Manufactured:Norwich

User Terms

    Containing bomb lances and the instructions for their use, this case would have been stored aboard the whaling ship and transferred to a whaleboat once whales were sighted.
    SignificanceThis lance bomb container is typical of the 19th century whaling period in the Southern Seas.
    HistoryEarly killing methods were as dangerous to the crews as they were deadly to the whale. Hand-thrown harpoons merely attached a rope to the whale to stop it from escaping. Actual killing of the wounded and thrashing mammal was done at close range. A long lance pierced the lungs or heart for a slow death.

    Bomb lances were introduced with shoulder guns to solve the problem of getting close enough to a whale to lance it, particularly in ice fields, and eliminate the often hazardous lancing operation.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: Container for harpoon lance bombs


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