Sunday, March 10, 2013

New Bedford Whaling Museum

A few from the New Bedford Whaling Museum, where I spent yesterday researching for the Hallelujah Wonder book...

Mandible of a Humpback. This one is still seeping oil. If you look closely, you will see a plastic plate catching the drip.
skeleton of the Humpback.
I forget the name of this thing, but it was used by captains and sailors to hop ships. They'd string a rope between the two ships and pulley this thing across over the ocean. Ninety percent of sailors, captains included, did not know how to swim.
Harpoon number 17 was invented by a blacksmith and revolutionized whaling. The blacksmith, an escaped slave, never made a fortune from it even though every harpoon after it was based on his model. He was afraid that if he filed a patent, his old master would come and claim him. And his money.
Today's view of the port. 

Close up of the oil in the whale bone.
Those two knobby bones are what's left of the legs whales used to have.
A whaling scene by William Bradford. 

1 comment:

  1. Great stories...the oil in the whalebone, the harpoon invented by a slave, the fact that most sailors could not swim.