The natural resources collections offer centuries of evidence about how Americans have used the bounty of the American continent and coastal waters. Artifacts related to flood control, dam construction, and irrigation illustrate the nation's attempts to manage the natural world. Oil-drilling, iron-mining, and steel-making artifacts show the connection between natural resources and industrial strength.
Forestry is represented by saws, axes, a smokejumper's suit, and many other objects. Hooks, nets, and other gear from New England fisheries of the late 1800s are among the fishing artifacts, as well as more recent acquisitions from the Pacific Northwest and Chesapeake Bay. Whaling artifacts include harpoons, lances, scrimshaw etchings in whalebone, and several paintings of a whaler's work at sea. The modern environmental movement has contributed buttons and other protest artifacts on issues from scenic rivers to biodiversity.
- Pie crimpers or jagging wheels are among the most common scrimshaw items carved by American 19th century whalemen. They were useful, as well as decorative kitchen implements. The fluted wheel was used to cut dough or seal the top of a pie crust to the sides before baking.
- This example’s shaft is in the form of a snake or sea serpent, with a tongue in the shape of a three-tine fork. The fork was used to decorate or poke holes in the upper pie crust to vent the steam created by baking.
- date made
- 19th century
- Associated Date
- 19th century
- ID Number
- catalog number
- accession number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History