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Brand Number 1 hand held shoulder whaling gun

Date: 1847-1870
Overall: 45 x 900 x 60 mm, 8.8 kg
Medium: Metal
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Gun
Object No: 00000040

User Terms

    In 1846 the first successful muzzle-loaded shoulder gun was introduced for whaling. They were met with initial reluctance. According to one observor, 'A whaler does not like to shoot a whale anymore than a sportsman would shoot a trout'. This hand held shoulder whaling gun was made by Christopher C Brand of Ledyard, Connecticut.
    SignificanceThis harpoon gun 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 followed.

    The Christopher C. Brand shoulder whaling gun was originally invented by Oliver Allen of New London, Connecticut. Allen invented the gun-fired bomb lance, harpoon and shoulder gun - all of which were introduced in 1846. He received patents for the bomb lance and harpoon. The gun, made out of cast iron, weighed 23 pounds and was muzzle-loaded. A percussion cap was used to ignite the powder charge. The gun became an industry standard.

    In 1849 Allen sold his gun business to Christopher C. Brand of Ledyard, Connecticut. Brand modified the stock on the gun from brass to iron and the gun became known as the Brand gun. The Brand Number 1 gun with a bore of 1-7/8 inch was one of three sizes made, and was the one most commonly used as a shoulder whaling gun.
    Additional Titles

    Assigned title: Brand No. 1 hand held shoulder whaling gun

    Web title: Brand Number 1 hand held shoulder whaling gun

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