'Sperm Whale Fishery', c 1845.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Vignette from a lithographic plate showing whale hunting. Whales are hunted for their meat and for their blubber - a thick layer of fat under the whale's skin. 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.