The Whaling Industry In The 19th Century

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These objects have more in common than one might think they do. In the 19th century, the whaling industry, especially in the pinnacle spot of New England, became a very popular maritime resource-gathering for many people. Whales provided much-needed resources that were somewhat difficult to come by in other locations, and most of a whale’s products were extremely valuable and worth a lot of money. The actual labor that involved hunting whales often paid more and provided more opportunities than some people could find onshore. The object on the left, is a lantern in which the fats and oils that whales produced would often be used to fuel these lamps. Fuel became a major reason of why people decided to hunt whales, until the discovery of other …show more content…
At this point, people mostly relied on the rare beached whale to gather the parts from it. Early on, without the best technology available in the 19th century to hunt whales, it became very important for both Native Americans and settlers to find the proper labor source. They wanted men who obviously knew what they were doing, and could do it well. In regards for early Euro-American settlers, there was a lack of a competent, stable workforce, and it has been implied that certain coercive measures had been taken at some points, including using forced labor to go and chase whales. Areas such as Nantucket became places where industry started to boom, as people wanted more and more oil, bones, blubber, and every part of the whale. Whales became a vital part of the New England economy, and whaling could lead many people to find their own personal wealth. It paid well, often more than occupations on the shore, because the work was so long and very, very dangerous. Whaling was a skilled job that very few people could do, or would want to do, despite the chance for wealth. Men risked their own lives to travel on the whaling ships for months or even years at a time. They risked disease, falling, and the actual whales themselves. Especially in the smaller harpooning boats, they risked the threat of the boat being destroyed, and drowning. But adult whales, in general, produced about 90 barrels of oil, and 750 pounds of bone, thus, making its capture and kill very productive and valuable when it would be sold. Large ships were created for the hunting of whales, where its blubber and oil could be processed on board. The profit may have motivated a lot of people to go and harpoon whales, sail on the whaling ships, despite the great deal of personal risk. Whaling as well, was also viewed as something adventurous; such in Herman Melville’s

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