Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Whale Oil Cauldron

Why is it that whenever I am smitten with an artifact that they tend to be really large, heavy metal objects. Another thing that they have in common is that many of the items are remnants of the age of sail. While it is odd, I will freely admit that I have admired a number of different anchors through the years. While there is something about the durability of these objects that appeals to me, it is probably more the romance of the age of sail. These are tangible links to the sailing ships which once frequented the waters around Nova Scotia. Knowing this, I was not at all surprised that a large metal cauldron caught my attention.

A few weeks ago the metal cauldron shown in this post appeared in front of the Traditional Marine Outfitters store on St George Street in Annapolis Royal. While it may not appear to be particularly large in the photograph, the cauldron has about a five foot diameter. This is a large pot that would be an excellent prop in any production of Macbeth. Immediately as I drove by I knew what this was not a cauldron used for on stage witchcraft but a very different sort of vessel. I Stopped into the store to confirm my thoughts.

While Nova Scotia currently has an active eco-tourism market in whale watching, we have not always been so friendly to these aquatic mammals. The lady at the store confirmed that this was a cauldron used in the whaling industry on the south shore of Nova Scotia. Large chunks of blubber were put into pots like these so the fat could be rendered into whale oil. While I am sure that the whale population is happiest that this type of pot is a thing of the past, it still makes for a fascinating artifact.

All for now,

1 comment:

  1. I wondered what that was for!! I put Gwynnie in there a few weeks ago...threatened to boil her if she didn't behave herself! ;-)