Cutting in the Whales

Feb. 21, 1871

It is quite pleasant today. The men are cutting in the whales. They smell dreadfully. We got a whale that made 75 barrels. The whale's head made 20 barrels of oil. The whale's head is as big as four whole rooms and his body as long as one ship. The men have got 5 whales cut in. They have thrown some of the whale over board. It is fun to see them cut the whale in. Mama has just come down stairs, and Prescott I just went up on deck and the men were just getting the last piece. When they get done they all "hurry, hurry and five and forty more." Papa said he would put some whales down in my journal, but I don't think so. Prescott is up on deck. I am going up on deck. The men have just begun to boil out the blubber. Good Bye For Today.


The 'cruise' was successful. Even though Laura reported that the whales smell dreadful, she still enjoyed watching the crew members "cutting in." She described the process as first boiling out the blubber in the large try pots. Then two men "squish" out the blubber up to their knees in oil. With last piece hoisted, the crew shouted "Hurray, Hurray! Five and Forty More!"

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Courtesy of the Trustees of the New Bedford Free Public Library