Bone Seam Rubber, 19th Century

Seam rubbers were commonly made aboard whaling ships during leisure time. They were used by sail makers to smooth and flatten a seam in heavy sailcloth, so that it could be sewn. The handle of this example was turned on a lathe, and on the handle’s crossbar is a symbol (probably of ownership) in the form of a backwards “L”. The sharp end does not show any signs of wear, indicating that it was probably carved as a toy or souvenir rather than a working utensil in a sail maker’s tool kit.
Currently not on view
Object Name
smoother, seam
date made
19th century
Physical Description
bone (overall material)
overall: 1/2 in x 1 1/4 in x 4 in; 1.27 cm x 3.175 cm x 10.16 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Cultures & Communities
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Work and Industry: Maritime
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Arthur M. Greenwood

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