On the Water

Sewing Machine Sperm Oil

Sperm whale oil is very light and fine, and it has a low freezing point. As a result, it was used to lubricate fine machinery such as clocks, watches, and sewing machines from colonial times into the 20th century.

ID Number:
2007.0084.1
Maker:
Donnell Company
Place Made:
St. Louis, Missouri
Material:
glass, cork, paper
Date:
1870-1880
Dimensions:
5 x 1 3/4 x 1 1/4 in.; 12.7 x 4.445 x 3.175 cm
Source:
Gift-Jackson Fund

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