Details on the Whale Oil Trade in New Bedford, 1889

New Bedford’s whaling fleet peaked in 1856 with 329 of a total American fleet of 593 vessels. But the hunt for whales continued after the successful petroleum well in Pennsylvania in 1859. Whale oil continued to be used for a variety of industrial and commercial purposes well into the late 19th century.

What were some of the uses of whale oil described in this 1889 account of the trade? What was the relationship between whale oil and industrialization? 


Pease, Zephaniah and George Hough. New Bedford Massachusetts: Its History, Industry, Institutions and Attractions. 181- 182. New Bedford: New Bedford Board of Trade, 1889.

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