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Whalebone fid

Date: 1820s - 1830s
Dimensions:
Overall: 280 x 35 x 35 x 35 mm, 0.2 kg
Display Dimensions: 278 mm
Medium: Whale jaw bone
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Ralph Clissold
Classification:Tools and equipment
Object Name: Fid
Object No: 00029087

User Terms

    Description
    The fid is made from the jaw bone of a whale - the only part of the whale's skeleton thick enough to make one from. Fids were used as a tool by sailors to hold open rope knots or canvas.

    This fid has blood vessel holes, which characterise the bone and which are more numerous near the surface of the bone. The point has been preserved, but the fid has been well used as wear can be seen in the profile of the taper.
    SignificanceThis fid is an unusual whalebone example of one of the necessities of the sail making trade.
    HistoryFids were among the many scrimshaw objects made by whalemen to pass the time in the periods of inactivity between whale strikes. They were were working tools, but many were made into souvenirs.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: Whalebone fid

    Primary title: WHALEBONE FID WITH TWO INCISED DECORATIVE GROOVES NEAR TOP

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