In an era before the development of plastic or steel, baleen was used frequently in the manufacture of many common products. These items included umbrellas, whips, hooks, fishing rods, carriage springs, tongue scrapers, and shoe horns. The bristles along the ends of the baleen plates were used for brooms and brushes. Some were even used to stuff mattresses.
Other miscellaneous parts of the whale were also sold in lesser quantities. Those sperm whale teeth that had not been used for scrimshaw were used as a substitute for ivory in piano keys, chess pieces, and the handles of walking sticks. White whales’ hides were tanned into leather. Ambergris, sometimes found in lumps in the intestines of sperm whales, was used as a fixative to increase the staying power of the perfumes with which it was mixed.
New Bedford Whaling Museum