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Whaling schooner AMELIA

Date: 1887
Overall: 290 x 235 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Object Name: Engraving
Object No: 00008037

User Terms

    This simple engraving shows the whaling schooner AMELIA of New Bedford, Massachusetts from broadside view under sail at sea. One of the ship's three boats can be seen on the schooner's port side.

    It is taken from George Brown Goode's 'Fisheries and Fishery Industries of the United States, Volume II' published in 1887.
    SignificanceThis engraving of the schooner AMELIA represents late 19th century American whaling vessels active in the whaling grounds of the Atlantic ocean.
    HistoryDuring the 1800s whaling was a large scale commercial enterprise that was conducted across the globe. The main industry centred on the American north-east coastal town of New Bedford which saw hundreds of ships heading out to the Pacific Ocean on a weekly basis. 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.

    In the 19th century American whalers sailed south to the rich Pacific whaling grounds in search of sperm whales. During the 1840s several hundred ships pursued whales off the coast of Australia. Many called into Australian ports for repairs or supplies after a voyage half-way around the world. Meeting a whaler was the first contact many colonists had with an American.

    Despite the lengthy voyages undertaken by whaling ships, many were small and lightweight. In 1880, the American whaling fleet included forty-six schooners - the smallest of which was the schooner UNION at just over 66 tons. Most of these smaller vessels were employed in the Atlantic Ocean whaling, while the larger and best equipped vessels were sent to the Pacific and the Arctic Oceans.

    Additional Titles

    Web title: Whaling schooner AMELIA


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