The natural resources collections offer centuries of evidence about how Americans have used the bounty of the American continent and coastal waters. Artifacts related to flood control, dam construction, and irrigation illustrate the nation's attempts to manage the natural world. Oil-drilling, iron-mining, and steel-making artifacts show the connection between natural resources and industrial strength.
Forestry is represented by saws, axes, a smokejumper's suit, and many other objects. Hooks, nets, and other gear from New England fisheries of the late 1800s are among the fishing artifacts, as well as more recent acquisitions from the Pacific Northwest and Chesapeake Bay. Whaling artifacts include harpoons, lances, scrimshaw etchings in whalebone, and several paintings of a whaler's work at sea. The modern environmental movement has contributed buttons and other protest artifacts on issues from scenic rivers to biodiversity.
"Natural Resources - Overview" showing 1 items.
- In the later 19th century, guns with explosive charges shooting the harpoons took the place of hand tools for catching and killing whales. They were much safer, for they could be shot at a whale from greater distances than a hand lance could be applied. They also penetrated the whale’s skin deeper and were harder for the animal to dislodge.
- Gun harpoons were also far more efficient, for the steam whalers could approach the prey directly and did not need labor-intensive whaleboats and their highly trained crews any longer.
- Designed to be fired from a shoulder gun, this nonexplosive style of harpoon was invented by Oliver Allen of Norwich, Conn. to fasten to whales prior to killing.
- date made
- harpoons replaced hand tools
- late 19th century
- Allen, Oliver
- Allen, Oliver
- ID Number
- catalog number
- accession number
- patent number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center