Condition: Generally good, commensurate with age and use; typical shrinkage crack to
rim of bowl, original green, and red paint; Masonic compass and square in
black. One hanging cleat missing.
Additional Information: Compass from the Larboard whaleboat of the Whaleship
Robert Edwards of New Bedford. A rare example of an American whaleboat compass
with early painted LB for Larboard boat on chamfered sliding lid; Masonic compass and
square painted of the front of compass box. On the underside of wooden lid is a pencil
written legend stating “Ship Robert Edwards” with several numbers follow which appear
to report barrels of sperm oil taken. There is also a signature at the bottom. This
nautical dry-card compass within a turned wooden bowl gimbal mounted in a wooden
slide lid box.
The Robert Edwards had a long and varied history. Being built in New York in 1817,
and continued in service for much, or possible all, of its career as a New Bedford
Whaler until burned by its crew several hundred miles off Rio Janeiro [sic]. The
Whalemen’s Shipping List first reports on September 13th, 1870 that the Robert
Edwards was burned at sea on July 24th, and the crew rescued by the Mary Rico of
Baltimore. On October 25th, 1870, the same reported the Robert Edwards was set on
fire by 4 of her crew who were taken into custody in Rio to be sent to the United States.
One of the perpetrators, John Jansen, jumped overboard and disappeared while the
rest of the crew fought the blaze. On March 14th of 1871 it was reported that three
remaining seamen had been to trial with one being found guilty, and the jury was unable
to agree on the other 2 defendants. The penalty for the offence is death!
Charles R. Sherman, (flourished 1865-1905) dealer in nautical, mathematical, and
optical instruments, charts, nautical books, patent logs, stationery, &c., no. 49 North
Water Street, New Bedford Charles Sherman was active as an instrument maker in
New Bedford from 1849-1865 thereafter adding ‘& Co’.
Material: Wood, glass bottle, thread, pony beads, paper and polychrome
Condition: Excellent, a few of the yardarms are tipped, else fine
Additional Information: Ship in a bottle, named “William Metcalf”. Rarely are ship’s in
a bottle dated, but this one is with the following inscription written on paper within the
bottle. “Four masted barque William Metcalf of Liverpool presented to him by father
September 8, 1918, hoping he will long sail the sea of prosperity.”
The aqua bottle features a star carved polychromed plug and remains on its original
stand. The fully rigged barque, “William Metcalfe” is displayed within a very active
detailed scene including a pilot boat, two sailboats (bow and stern), and a lighthouse.
Additional Information: The Boston Artistic Carving Company was established in the
1890’s and is mostly known for their eagle plaques. This fully dimensional sculpture
painted in black enamel is quite realistic. The carving is sold with a walnut display stand
which is likely original.
Measurement: Rope length, knot-to-knot: 13.5", staves, 12” x 3.5”
Additional Information: Sailor bucket rope work. Amazing rope work attached to
original wooden bucket staves with large monkey fist knots. The circumference of rope
where piercing stave is wrapped in leather, the seam is stitched. Behind the monkey fist
is a large leather washer with sawtooth edge.
Additional Information: These Closed balls were used to float fishing nets, also used
for covers on pitches, bowls, and store jars, thinner walled balls were produced for
packing, they were placed upon vases as a support for the rims during shipment. This
pair with granny note was bought perhaps 75years ago in Gloucester…the jelly label
states that: “they were old then”.
Additional Information: Seam rubbers were part of a sail maker’s tool bag. They were used to smooth and
flatten the seams of heavy canvas sailcloth, where two pieces were joined, or the edges
were hemmed before they were sewn. This one is made from lignum vitae and features
a wonderful Turk’s knot made of coated or tarred marlin on a turned handle. Scratch
carved initialed “JW” are found on the edge. [Includes custom wood/metal stand]
A competently constructed pond boat having weighted full
keel. Yellow, green, and red paint is original and displays a good patina; mast, jib boom,
and main boom are varnished. Very good condition with minor sail and rigging
imperfections commensurate with age and use.
The Smithsonian owns one of these, they suggest that it may be a trade sign; boot
scraper or sign make more sense than does a doorstop considering screw piercing on
base. (Length: 22.5"; height: 5.5"; width: 2")
The words “BAKER NEW BEDFORD.” appear on the back of this cast-iron sperm
whale, which has two mounting lugs on the bottom for fastening to a flat surface. These
features suggest that it was a shop sign for one of the many stores in New Bedford,
Massachusetts that provided items to whalers needed for their dirty and dangerous
business. In the 1878 New Bedford city directory, the only person listed with the
surname Baker was Ansol Baker, a machinist. New Bedford was the largest American
whaling port in the industry, which flourished until the Civil War and lasted into the early
20th century. [National Museum of American History]
This really needs to be seen to appreciate the detail including glass windows (no losses
and some with a purple hue), two paddle wheels (one has a wooden piece missing that
we can have restored). At one time the boat was powered by a steam engine that was
accessed by the removeable top. Just a few other features are the wheelhouse,
lifeboats, benches, and interior stairways in the interior; the folky, oversized carved
mermaid figurehead. The carved paddlewheel covers feature a hunter and his dog (and
paddle) in a canoe. Minor imperfections displays beautifully.
(Length: 87"; width: 21"; height: 46")
Carved turtle-back bellows featuring hand painted ship flying American flag within rope
border against a painted ground. The handle displays a whaling harpoon and rope.
Original brass nozzle, leather, and brass upholstery tacks. Typical imperfections to
leather; screw added to back facilitating closure; displays well. (18" x 7.5" x 3")
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