Alexander Starbuck's History of American Whale Fishery from Earliest Inception to the Year 1876, identifies the 340 ton barque Mercury sailing from Green Port, Massachusetts, on whale hunt voyages in 1863 and 1869.
Maritime scrimshaw, a unique American art form, has its roots in the age of wooden ships. In the 18th century, whaler sailing ships harvested whale and walrus blubber for lamp oil and candle wax.
Sailors on whaling ships had a lot of spare time on board their ships. When not hunting and processing whales, mariners occupied their free time etching and making small objects from whaling byproducts. Bones and teeth of sperm whales, baleen, and walrus tusks were readily available on board ship. These
were a highly viable medium to produce hand tools, toys, utensils, and decorative pieces.
Sailors etched pictures and nautical scenes on bone, teeth, and tusks using sail sewing needles and small tools. Candle black, soot or tobacco juice were used to bring the etched drawings into view. The earliest authenticated pictorial scrimshaw piece appeared around 1817.
Most original nautical scrimshaw pieces were anonymous. Many of these scrimshaw engravings were adapted from books and papers.
This is a historical resin replica of the whaler Mercury on a vertical designed 4 inch whale tooth. The front side shows an illustration of the barque Mercury. The back side has the inscription: "Capt. Daniel Jordan; Green Port; 1862 to 1870."
Maritime scrimshaw, a special American art kind, has its roots in the age of wooden ships. In the 18th Century, whaler sailing ships gathered whale and walrus blubber for lamp oil and candle light wax.