Scrimshaw Ivory Whale Stamp

Scrimshaw Ivory Whale Stamp

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Carved from the teeth of captured sperm whales, whale stamps were used to record the type of whale and number of barrels of oil they yielded.
The stamps were inked onto the page of whaleship logbooks or sailors’ journals, with an empty space in the whale’s body for writing in the number of barrels. This example in the form of a sperm whale is decorated with steel pin heads and a turned handle.
Object Name
scrimshaw whale stamp
Object Type
Other Terms
Scrimshaw; Maritime
date made
Physical Description
sperm whale tooth (overall material)
overall: 1 1/8 in x 1 3/4 in x 3/4 in; 2.8575 cm x 4.445 cm x 1.905 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
From the collection of Dr. and Mrs. Wilbur J. Gould
Civil War and Reconstruction
The Development of the Industrial United States
Expansion and Reform
See more items in
Work and Industry: Maritime
Cultures & Communities
Industry & Manufacturing
Natural Resources
On the Water exhibit
On the Water
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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