Scrimshaw Ivory Whale Stamp

Description
Carved from the teeth of captured sperm whales, whale stamps were used to record the type of whale and number of barrels of oil they yielded.
The stamps were inked onto the page of whaleship logbooks or sailors’ journals, with an empty space in the whale’s body for writing in the number of barrels. This example in the form of a sperm whale is decorated with steel pin heads and a turned handle.
Object Name
Scrimshaw
scrimshaw whale stamp
Object Type
scrimshaw
date made
1800s
Physical Description
sperm whale tooth (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 1 1/8 in x 1 3/4 in x 3/4 in; 2.8575 cm x 4.445 cm x 1.905 cm
ID Number
1978.0052.06
accession number
1978.0052
catalog number
1978.52.6
related event
Civil War and Reconstruction
The Development of the Industrial United States
Expansion and Reform
See more items in
Work and Industry: Maritime
Work
Cultures & Communities
Industry & Manufacturing
Art
Natural Resources
On the Water exhibit
Transportation
Exhibition
On the Water
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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