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A whale female and the windlass whereby the whales are brought on shore

Date: 1619 - 1744
Image: 167 x 250 mm
Sheet: 195 x 283 mm
Sight: 170 x 250 mm
Overall: 335 x 407 mm, 0.28 kg
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Print
Object No: 00019657

User Terms

    Engraving titled 'A whale female and the windlass whereby the whales are brought on shore'. The whale is beached with a group of whalers cutting blubber.
    SignificanceWhaling and sealing were nation building industries at the end of the C19th. Whalers from Europe, Australia and America worked harder and became more innovative with processing methods to further streamline the process and maximise oil quotas.
    HistoryAlthough generally whalers processed the whale carcass on their boat whilst at sea, whales caught closer to land were processed on shore. This print shows one method of doing this. Obed Macy mentions that the Nantucketers, who would come to be a dominant whaling force, used this method in their early shore fishery:

    "The process called Saving the whales after they had been killed and towed ashore, was to use a crab, an instrument similar to a capstan, to heave and turn the blubber off as fast as it was cut. The blubber was then put into their carts and carried to their try-houses, which in that early period, were placed near their dwelling houses, when the oil was boiled out and fitted for the market."
    (Macy, Obed. History of Nantucket. Hilliard, Grey and Co., 1835).

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