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Whaler's Explosive Lance

Whaler's Explosive Lance

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Description
Explosive lances were designed to kill a whale by exploding inside its body. Many different types were invented in the late 19th century. When they worked properly, they were extremely efficient.
They could either be shot out of guns or set at the end of darting guns. These devices resembled harpoon handles, to which the explosive lances were fixed. Once a plunger touching the whale’s skin moved a specific length, it triggered an explosive charge that shot the lance into the whale’s body.
Object Name
Harpoon
date made
late 1800s
patent date
1879
explosive lances were invented
late 19th century
patentee
Pierce, Eben
manufacturer
Brown, Frank E.
Place Made
United States: Massachusetts, New Bedford
Physical Description
brass (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 17 1/2 in; 44.45 cm
ID Number
AG.316544
catalog number
316544
accession number
066767
Credit Line
F. Gilbert Hinsdale
subject
Whaling
The Development of the Industrial United States
See more items in
Work and Industry: Agriculture and Natural Resources
Work
Cultures & Communities
Industry & Manufacturing
Natural Resources
Transportation
Exhibition
On the Water
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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