Engraved Sperm Whale Tooth

August 13, 1842

National Park Service, Museum Management Program

National Park Service, Museum Management Program
United States

Scrimshaw pieces were made on board whaling vessels to pass the time. The brig PACIFIC commemorated on this tooth was built in 1842 and left Provincetown, MA on April 12 of the same year for the Atlantic whaling grounds. It returned June 26, 1843 with 253 barrels of sperm oil and 50 barrels of whale oil. Written on the tooth is the following: "Taken on Board of/the Brig Pacific of/Provincetown August/the.13th. 1842/Stephen Cook/Master."

The majority of Cape Cod National Seashore’s scrimshaw collection, including this piece, was donated to the Seashore by the late Col. Eugene S. Clark Jr. of Sandwich, MA. An avid collector, Clark collected over 500 pieces of scrimshaw in the early 20th Century and later became a Seashore supporter, oftentimes presenting programs to the public on whaling and utilizing his collection for props. He died in 1982, leaving his collection to the Seashore. Although this piece is presently in storage, a large number of pieces, including pie crimpers and decorated walrus tusks, are on display at the Seashore’s Salt Pond Visitor Center.


  • Title: Engraved Sperm Whale Tooth
  • Date Created: August 13, 1842
  • Contributor: Cape Cod National Seashore
  • Park Website: Park Website
  • National Park Service Catalog Number: CACO 4045
  • Measurements: H 20.5, W 9.3, Dia 5.8 cm
  • Material: Whale ivory
  • Date: 8/13/1842

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