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Whaling industry in 19th century

In 19th century, whaling industry was one of the most prominent businesses in America.  Whale oil was mainly used for lighting, lubrication and softer kinds of soap and whalebone was used to make corsets and other manufactured products. The term “whale oil” can be used for different species of whale.  However, because of their chemical composition and use of purpose, the quality and quantity of oil were various by species. For example, baleen oil contains genuine fats which consists of glycerides of fatty acids, sperm oil contains mainly compounds of wax alcohols and fatty acids. Sperm oil is dominantly used because it makes smokeless and odorless candles which were a main production of whale oil in that period.The whale oil obtained from its blubber by boiling in large vats. All the process for oil extracting was processed on the ship because of its difficulty of transportation. The extracted oil was transported to the whaling ship’s port such as New Bedford, Massachusetts.


Whaling process can be divided into floating factory which produces whale oil and whale ship’s port which is developed based on whaling industry.  Due to the difficulty of transportation of whales, the whale ship was a main factory and the port was a subsidiary factory organizing and transport to the other town.

How the whale port town formed as a mediator between floating factory and off shore town factory. What was their role as a mediator?