Cast Iron Whale

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Description
The words “BAKER NEW BEDFORD.” appear on the back of this cast-iron sperm whale, which has two mounting lugs on the bottom for fastening to a flat surface. These features suggest that it was a shop sign for one of the many stores in New Bedford, Massaschusetts that provided items to whalers needed for their dirty and dangerous business. In the 1878 New Bedford city directory, the only person listed with the surname Baker was Ansol Baker, a machinist.
New Bedford was the largest American whaling port in the industry, which flourished until the Civil War and lasted into the early 20th century.
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Work and Industry: Maritime
Cultures & Communities
Art
Natural Resources
Advertising
Transportation
Exhibition
On the Water
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
19th century
ID Number
CL.25052
catalog number
25052
accession number
2009.0157
catalog number
2009.0157.01
possible owner of sign
Baker, Ansol
Related Publication
On the Water online exhibition
Related Web Publication
http://americanhistory.si.edu/onthewater
subject
Engineering
Architecture
Fishing
related event
The Development of the Industrial United States
location where used
United States: Massachusetts
United States: Massachusetts, New Bedford
Physical Description
iron (overall material)
paint (overall material)
cast (overall production method/technique)
Measurements
approx.: 20 in; x 50.8 cm
National Museum of American History
Object Name
shop sign