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Black blunt-nosed Cachalot

Date: 1800
Dimensions:
Image: 82 x 140 mm
Overall: 230 x 295 mm, 0.114 kg
Sight: 90 x 148 mm
Mount: 230 x 295 mm
Medium: Print on paper.
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Art
Object Name: Print
Object No: 00019646
Place Manufactured:United Kingdom

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    Description
    Coloured engraving of a sperm whale titled 'Black blunt-nosed Cachalot'.
    Published 16 February 1800 by Harrison Clure of No. 78, Fleet Street.
    SignificanceThis print is an interesting record of the development of European anatomical understanding of whales in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
    HistoryWhaling played an essential part in 19th century life. Industry and households depended on whale products for which there was little substitute. Whale oil was used for lighting and lubrication until 1860 when kerosene and petroleum started to gain popularity. The pure clean oil from sperm whales was a superior source of lighting and the finest candles were made from the whale's wax-like spermaceti. Sperm oil was the first cargo export of New South Wales, and it was not until 1833 that whale oil was surpassed in export value by the land based wool industry. Whale oil was also used in soaps, medicines and the manufacture of paints. Light and flexible, baleen - the bristle-fringed plates found in the jaws of baleen whales - had many uses in objects which today would be made out of plastic, including brushes, handles, and corsets.
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