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Harpoon for Greener gun

Date: 1860s
Dimensions:
Overall: 36 x 1230 x 150 mm, 4.7 kg
Medium: Metal
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Tools and equipment
Object Name: Harpoon
Object No: 00000035

User Terms

    Description
    Whaling harpoon with barbs designed to fit down the barrel of the swivel mounted Greener gun. The harpoons fired from these guns were known as "Greener irons". This steel harpoon was made by W. Fowler of Peterhead Scotland c 1868.
    SignificanceThis harpoon is typical of the 1860s whaling period in the Southern Seas.
    HistoryEarly killing methods were as dangerous to the crews as they were deadly to the whale. Hand-thrown harpoons merely attached a rope to the whale to stop it from escaping. Actual killing of the wounded and thrashing mammal was done at close range. A long lance pierced the lungs or heart for a slow death.

    Harpoon firing guns became standard from the 1850s. The Greener gun was regarded as the best of the open whaleboat guns. It was mounted on a swivel base in the bow and fired double barbed steel harpoons. William Greener of Birmingham, England, devised the method in 1837. The mechanism for firing usually consisted of a hammer that struck a pair of percussion caps. The harpoons used in Greener guns changed very little over the years, but the head changed as the hand-darted irons changed.



    Additional Titles

    Assigned title: Harpoon for Greener gun

    Web title: Harpoon for Greener gun

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