Whaleship Skimmer


After a whale’s blubber was melted down into oil in the try-pots, a few solids, like skin and gristle, remained floating on the surface of the oil. These were removed with a skimmer. The tool’s long handle helped keep the crew from being burned or splashed with hot oil. The leftover oily pieces of flesh, or “fritters,” were then tossed under the pots and recycled into fuel to keep the fires burning.

Date Made: 1880s

Related Event: The Development of the Industrial United States


See more items in: Work and Industry: Fisheries, Cultures & Communities, Work, Natural Resources, Transportation, On the Water exhibit

Exhibition: On the Water

Exhibition Location: National Museum of American History

Related Web Publication: http://americanhistory.si.edu/onthewater

Related Publication: On the Water online exhibition

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 1990.0018.066Catalog Number: 1990.0018.066Accession Number: 1990.0018

Object Name: skimmer

Physical Description: brass (part: bowl material)ferrous metal (part: handle material)Measurements: overall: 3 1/4 in x 8 1/2 in x 192 1/4 in; 8.255 cm x 21.59 cm x 488.315 cm

Guid: http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746a6-c1db-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa

Record Id: nmah_859467

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