Twentieth-Century Whaling

Twentieth-Century Whaling (HM16DK)

Location: New Bedford, MA 02740 Bristol County
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Country: United States of America
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N 41° 38.076', W 70° 55.392'

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New Bedford Whaling National Historic Park

— National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior —

Twentieth-Century Whaling-As New Bedford's whaling industry declined in the 19th century, more than a dozen other nations began hunting whales using "modern" Norwegian methods, with fast, steam-powered vessels and heavy-gauge harpoon cannon. More whales were caught in just a few decades than had been captured during the previous 200 years. Concern for the survival of whales lead to an international ban on whaling in 1986.

Before the claw was introduced, whalemen who worked aboard large, 20th century factory ships had to go down into the bottom of the ship's steep slipway and fasten a steel cable to the whale's flukes. This was difficult and dangerous work, especially in a rough sea. But a claw, like the one pictured here, could be maneuvered mechanically with cables and winches, without anyone having to risk doing it by hand.Gjelstad Claw (displayed here)-Hauling-up appliance for whales, patented 1931. Manufactured in Norway, circa 1940s. Gift of the South Georgia Whaling Museum and the Royal Governor of the Falklands Islands, 1993.The harpoon-cannon displayed here was developed to fire massive exploding harpoons from the bow of fast, steam powered chaser-boats. This cannon likely began its career in Antarctica, and was last used for shore whaling from Coal Harbour, British Columbia (Canada), until that whaling station closed in 1967. Manufactured in Norway, 1936 model, Gift of the Vancouver Maritime Museum, 1886.

HM NumberHM16DK
Placed ByNational Park Service
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Wednesday, September 17th, 2014 at 2:41am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)19T E 339813 N 4610994
Decimal Degrees41.63460000, -70.92320000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 41° 38.076', W 70° 55.392'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds41° 38' 4.56" N, 70° 55' 23.52" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)508, 774
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 79-85 Union St, New Bedford MA 02740, US
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