Whaler's Carved Bailer Handle

Description
Whalemen used long-handled bailers to remove hot whale oil from large try-pots into cooling tanks, and from those tanks into storage barrels. They had long handles to prevent the handler from being splashed or burned with molten oil.
This example’s wooden handle has figures of whales whittled into its surface to indicate the number and species of mammals that crossed its greasy path. The “B.H.” refers to bowhead, “S” for sperm, “H.B.” for humpback, and “W” for right whale.
Object Name
handle (pole)
date made
1828
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 83 3/4 in x 2 in x 5 in; 212.725 cm x 5.08 cm x 12.7 cm
Place Made
United States: Massachusetts, New Bedford
ID Number
AG*055809
catalog number
55809
accession number
12284
subject
Transportation
Whaling
Natural Resources
Work
Cultures & Communities
On the Water exhibit
Fishing
event
Expansion and Reform
See more items in
Work and Industry: Fisheries
On the Water exhibit
Exhibition
On the Water
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Jonathan Bourne
Publication title
On the Water online exhibition
Publication URL
http://americanhistory.si.edu/onthewater
Additional Media

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