Whaler's Boarding Knife

Description
The work of carving blubber from a whale carcass and hauling the long, narrow strips of flesh, called “blanket pieces,” aboard the ship onto the deck was called “boarding.” The boarding knife was an extremely sharp, double-edged sword blade at the end of a short wooden pole. It served a variety of purposes, from cutting a hole in the whale’s flesh for the blubber hook, to cutting the long strips of flesh into shorter sections for further processing.
These tools were kept extremely sharp to cut the whale’s flesh easily. With the decks and tools so slippery from the whale processing, using them was reserved for the ship’s officers.
Object Name
knife, boarding
date made
1876
collected
1876
Physical Description
ferrous metal (blade material)
cast (blade production method/technique)
wood (handle material)
Measurements
blade: 32 1/2 in; x 82.55 cm
handle: 27 3/4 in; x 70.485 cm
overall: 60 1/4 in; x 153.035 cm
Place Made
United States: Connecticut, Middletown
ID Number
AG*026608
catalog number
026608
accession number
4927
subject
Whaling
Transportation
Natural Resources
Work
Cultures & Communities
On the Water exhibit
event
The Development of the Industrial United States
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
A.R. Crittenden
referenced
Brown, James Temple. The Whale Fishery and Its Appliances
Publication title
On the Water online exhibition
Publication URL
http://americanhistory.si.edu/onthewater

Visitor Comments

Add a comment about this object

**Please read before submitting the form**

Have a comment or question about this object to share with the community? Please use the form below. Selected comments will appear on this page and may receive a museum response (but we can't promise). Please note that we generally cannot answer questions about the history, rarity, or value of your personal artifacts.

Have a question about anything else, or would you prefer a personal response? Please visit our FAQ or contact page.

Personal information will not be shared or result in unsolicited e-mail. See our privacy policy.

Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.