Rowing boat crews trying to harpoon a whale

Rowing boat crews trying to harpoon a whale

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Credit: GEORGE BERNARD/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Whale hunt. Engraving of men in rowing boats harpooning a whale. The sails of the main ship can be seen in the background. The crews of the rowing boats consisted of six men, these being the 'boat- header' (who steered), four rowers and the harp- ooner. The death rate amongst the small boats was high and essential crew members were forbidden from going in them. The harpoons were thrown by hand and had barbed heads. The barbs stopped the harpoon from slipping out of an injured whale and also made the head cut further into the whale as it struggled. The whales were hunted for their meat (for food), bone (for clothing) and fat or blubber (for fuel). Image from an 1868 book.

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Keywords: 19th cent, 19th century, harpoon, historical, history of science, hunt, rowing boat, technology, transport, transportation, water, whale, whale hunt, whalers

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