What were the logistics of whaling in the 1800s?

How did a whaling ship work?

A harpoon attached to a heavy rope would be thrown into a whale, and when the whale was killed it would be towed to the ship and tied alongside. A grisly process, called “cutting in,” would then begin. The whale’s skin and blubber would be peeled off in long strips and boiled down to make whale oil.

What kind of ship was used for whaling?


A whaleboat is a type of open boat that was used for catching whales, or a boat of similar design that retained the name when used for a different purpose. Some whaleboats were used from whaling ships. Other whaleboats would operate from the shore.

What were whales used for in the 1800s?

Nearly every part of the whale was used. Meat, skin, blubber, and organs were eaten as an important source of protein, fats, vitamins, and minerals. Baleen was woven into baskets and used as fishing line. In warmer climates, baleen was also used as a roofing material.

What was life like on a whaling ship?

In the earliest years of the industry, whalemen were from seafaring communities and were brought up to view the ship as their workplace. In addition to being dirty and dangerous, whaling was monotonous work. Life onboard consisted of long periods of boredom; for weeks, even months, no whales would be seen.

What did whalers do?

Whaling is the process of hunting of whales for their usable products such as meat and blubber, which can be turned into a type of oil that became increasingly important in the Industrial Revolution. It was practiced as an organized industry as early as 875 AD.

How fast was a whaling ship?

Yet the best average day’s run over a long ocean passage was 219 miles per day. Although a vessel in ideal conditions is able to approach her maximum hull speed, her average for any passage is usually half of her maximum speed. The whaler Charles W Morgan at Mystic had a theoretical max of 9+ knots.

What products were made from whales?

The products harvested from commercial whaling included oil, baleen, and ambergris. Americans depended on candles and oil-filled lamps to light their homes in the years before electricity. Whales provided both the best oil and the best candle wax for home illumination.

What is extracted from whales?

Whale oil is oil obtained from the blubber of whales. Whale oil from the bowhead whale was sometimes known as train oil, which comes from the Dutch word traan (“tear” or “drop”).

Specific gravity 0.920 to 0.931 at 15.6 °C (60.1 °F)
Viscosity 35–39.6 cSt at 37.8 °C (100.0 °F)

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