Our museum is temporarily closed to support the effort to contain the spread of COVID-19. Read a message from our director, and check our website and social media for updates.

Scrimshaw Whale Bone Food Chopper

Scrimshaw Whale Bone Food Chopper

Usage conditions apply
Downloads
Description
Simply carved and without any engraving, this food chopper, or mincer, was made in two pieces from a sperm whale’s jawbone. Its blunted, curved blade was used to chop soft foods such as bread dough, fruits, sausage, and animal fats. This example was donated by former Secretary of the Institution Spencer F. Baird (1823–1887) to the Smithsonian, where it became one of the earliest objects in the maritime collections.
Object Name
scraper, ivory
date made
1800s
purchased
1876-11-30
Physical Description
sperm-whale's jaw (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 7 1/4 in x 5 5/8 in x 1 in; 18.415 cm x 14.2875 cm x 2.54 cm
ID Number
AG.024909
catalog number
24909
accession number
2009.0157
subject
Fishing
Expansion and Reform
Civil War and Reconstruction
The Development of the Industrial United States
See more items in
Work and Industry: Fisheries
Work
Cultures & Communities
Industry & Manufacturing
Art
Natural Resources
Food
Transportation
Exhibition
On the Water
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Nominate this object for photography.   

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.

Comments

Add a comment about this object