On the Water

Sperm Whale Tooth Watch Stand

Scrimshaw known to have been made specifically for men is comparatively rare. This unfinished tooth was hollowed out at the back to carry a gentleman’s pocket watch inside, perhaps set on a wardrobe, a bureau or a dressing table overnight.

Patriotic imagery was very popular on American scrimshaw. At the top is a large eagle in flight clutching arrows and an olive branch; the hole for the watch is framed by a simple scalloped line. The space at the bottom was probably reserved for the owner’s initials or possibly a date, and the two holes were likely drilled for ivory buttons. The piece was unfinished when it was donated in 1875 by J. H. Clark of Newport, R.I.

ID Number:
whale bone
7 1/4 in x 4 3/8 in x 2 in; 18.415 cm x 11.1125 cm x 5.08 cm
J. H. Clark