WHALE OIL. Oil obtained from a whale's blubber by trying out. (See Wu/sty.). It is light yellow to dark brown. The variety known as sperm oil comes from the head of the sperm whale. The use of whale oil appears to be of ancient origin. It was doubtless first obtained from whales accidentally stranded on the shores, a more frequent occurrence during the early abundance of the cetaceans than at present, when their numbers have been so greatly reduced by excessive fisheries. As the demand for the oil increased beyond the supply available from stranded whales, individuals sighted from the shore were attacked and beached. Owing to the frailty of the boats and equipment, this was a more daring attempt than might be supposed. Just prior to the Revolu tionary War there were 183 American vessels in the right-whale fishery of the North Atlantic waters and 125 were engaged in cruising for sperm whales from Newfoundland to the coast of Brazil. The Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 interfered with the fisheries; but dur ing the period of peace following 1815 they in creased greatly in extent until 1846, when the fleet numbered 678 ships and barks, 35 brigs and 22 schooners, a total of 735 vessels, with an aggregate tonnage of 233,189 tons and a value of $21,075,000, exclusive of outfits and supplies. The entire capital invested in the fishery and its associated industries at that time approximated $40,000,000 and 40,000 persons derived from it their chief support. During the same year the whaling fleet of all Europe numbered but 230 vessels. Large whales have been known to yield 250 barrels of 32 gallons, but probably an aver age for a large whale was 75 barrels and down to 12 barrels for a small bottle-nose whale.
The crude value of the American catch from 1840 to 1860 averaged about 48,coocoo nually. The greatest value was in 1854, when 2,315,924 gallons of sperm oil worth $1.41:1K per gallon, 10,074,866 gallons of whale oil worth 59)i cents per gallon and 3,445,200 pounds of whalebone worth 39),i cents per pound were secured, the total value being $10,802,594.
In the preceding year, 1853, the total product was 3,246,925 gallons of sperm oil, 8,193,591 gallons of whale oil and 5,652,300 pounds of whalebone, the whole valued at $10,766,521. Sperm oil and whale oil then served nearly all the diversified uses for which oil was required, the chief exception being leather-dressing, for which neatsfoot and cod oils were largely em ployed. The principal uses were as illtmnant, lubricator, in cordage manufacture, screw-cut ting and steel-tempering. The streets of the principal cities were lighted with the oil and theatres and public buildings were lighted with gas made from the oil In 1902 the whaling fleet of the United States consisted of eight steamers, 18 barques and brigs and 12 schooners, aggregating 8,366 tons. Of these, 11 barques and 10 schooners were sperm-whale fishing in the Atlantic Ocean, eight steamers in the Arctic, six barques in Okhotsk Sea and off the coast of Japan two schooners in Hudson Bay and one brig at Desolation Island_ The total whale-oil prod uct of the world in 1902 approximated 3,000.000 gallons of which 750,000 gallons were produced the United States fish eries, 900,000 by those of Norway and the remainder by Scotland, Russia, japan. New foundland, etc. Since that date the product has steadily reduced.