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Chair made out of whalebone

Date: 1920s - 1930s
Overall: 710 x 325 mm
Medium: Whale vertebra, pine, plywood, iron
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Ian Rumsey
Object Name: Chair
Object No: 00016939
Place Manufactured:Tasmania

User Terms

    The large bones of whales have often been made into novelty objects. This chair would never have been strong or comfortable. It was probably made sixty years ago, with an old chair and a beach-cast bone.
    SignificanceThis rustic chair is quite unique and higlights the varied and interesting products made out of whalebone during the 19th and 20th centuries.
    HistoryWhaling played an essential part in 19th century life. Industry and households depended on whale products for which there was no 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. 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.

    Additional Titles

    Web title: Chair made out of whalebone


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