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Lamp, whale oil with clock
Lamp, whale oil with clock
Resource Typeimage
TitleLamp, whale oil with clock
Coverage / Year1800 to 1850
DescriptionThis whale oil lamp is made of pewter. It stands on a tall, slender cylindrical stem. The reservoir is an inverted pear shaped bulb surrounded by a strap of thinly hammered pewter numbered 1 to 12 in Roman numerals. The reservoir leads to a spout shaped wick opening. (see also 68.1.1113)
InterpretationWhale oil was highly prized from 1750 to 1850 as the best lamp oil fuel. It burned at a very steady rate, very brightly and with little smoke. Oil from the skull cavity of the spermaceti whale was the finest quality and was a major reason the whaling industry was so profitable. Because whale oil burned so evenly, it could be depended on to keep time. The Roman numerals on the pewter strip served as a clock. For each hour the whale oil burnt, the oil lowered to the next marked level and another hour had passed.
Lesson Plans / ThemesAmerican Communities in History; Communities and Geography; How we learn about communities; Whaling Slide Show; Inventions Multimedia Time Line; School Museum; Introduction of artifacts as a primary source; What's That Relic?; Settling in the Midwest;
Learning Standards16 History; 18 Social Systems; 13 Science, Technology and Society;
Author or CreatorUnknown
Subject / KeywordsWhale; Whales; Oil lamp; Whale oil; United States; Light; Lighting device; Clock lamp; Clock & watch making;
Collection PublisherEarly American Museum;
Further InformationFor any further information related to this record, please contact the Collection Publisher. See for more information about this project.
Rights Management Statement
Resource Identifier1968.001.1113a
CONTENTdm file name4374172422004_68.1.1113a.jpg
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