Whaleman’s Pitch Dipper, 1882


This hand-made tool was used for holding the pitch (tar) used for paying (caulking) the deck seams on a wooden whaling ship. Made from a whelk shell attached to a short, wooden stick, the dipper was displayed at the 1883 International Fisheries Exhibition in London. The dipper was given to the exhibition by Lawrence & Co., a whaling, sealing, and commercial firm in New London, Connecticut.

The United States’ portion of the display was organized by the U.S. Fish Commission and included a wealth of gear, models, photographs, fishery products, and everyday objects used by American fishermen. The international exhibition was on view between May 12 and November 1, during which a daily average of 18,545 people toured the buildings and grounds. When the exhibition closed, the collections that represented the United States were sent to the Smithsonian Institution and a catalog was published: Descriptive Catalogues of the Collections Sent from the United States to the International Fisheries Exhibition, London, 1883, Constituting A Report Upon the American Section. Prepared under the direction of G. Brown Goode, U.S. Commissioner, and a staff of associates. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1884.

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: United States: Connecticut, New London

Used: Whaling


See more items in: Work and Industry: Fisheries, Work, Industry & Manufacturing, Natural Resources


Exhibition Location:

Related Publication: Brown, James Temple. The Whale Fishery and Its Appliances

Credit Line: Lawrence & Co. through J. T. Brown

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: AG.056875Catalog Number: 56875Accession Number: 12328

Object Name: pitch dipper, whaleman's

Physical Description: wood, pine (handle material)periwinkle shell (utensil material)Measurements: overall: 9 7/8 in; 25.0825 cm

Guid: http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746a4-9f10-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa

Record Id: nmah_866958

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