Bone Seam Rubber, 19th Century

Bone Seam Rubber, 19th Century

Seam rubbers were commonly made aboard whaling ships during leisure time. They were used by sail makers to smooth and flatten a seam in heavy sailcloth, so that it could be sewn. The handle of this example was turned on a lathe, and on the handle’s crossbar is a symbol (probably of ownership) in the form of a backwards “L”. The sharp end does not show any signs of wear, indicating that it was probably carved as a toy or souvenir rather than a working utensil in a sail maker’s tool kit.
Currently not on view
Object Name
smoother, seam
date made
19th century
Physical Description
bone (overall material)
overall: 1/2 in x 1 1/4 in x 4 in; 1.27 cm x 3.175 cm x 10.16 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Arthur M. Greenwood
See more items in
Work and Industry: Maritime
Cultures & Communities
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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