'Cutting off the Blubber', c 1845.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Vignette from a lithographic plate showing whale hunters cutting off the blubber from a dead whale. Blubber is the layer of fat from under the whale's skin from which whale oil is obtained. Whale oil derived from the melted down blubber can be used as a lubricant, illuminant and motor oil, as well as an ingredient in cosmetics, detergents and vitamins. As much as 40 barrels of oil can be obtained from a single sperm whale. Taken from 'The Whale' in 'Graphic Illustrations of Animals - showing their utility to man in their services during life, and uses after death' (1845), illustrated by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins and R K Thomas and published by Thomas Varty. Printed by J Graf, C Graf, Day and Haghe.