By my brilliant buddy, Randy Enos –Daryl
When you were born and raised in New Bedford, Massachusetts, as I was, you grow up in an atmosphere of whaling history. At one time back in the late 1840’s, New Bedford was the richest city in the world. That’s right –not the country but, the world! It all came from a Quaker business, the collection of whale oil. The oil generated by the New Bedford (and earlier the Nantucket) fleets of whaling ships supplied the street lights of the world, the lamps of Italy’s opera houses, buggy whips, canes, perfume enhancers, candles and hundreds and hundreds of other products. The oil from the Sperm whale is the finest machine oil that has ever appeared on this planet.
So, when you’re a kid in New Bedford and you go to the library or you accompany your parent to the bank or you go to a municipal building or go to school, you see all around you, paintings of the whale chase. Whales heeled over snapping whaleboats in their mighty jaws, hapless seamen falling through the air, mighty ships plowing through rampaging seas. Out in front of the New Bedford Public Library is the symbol of New Bedford, a sculpture of a strong whale man in the prow of a whaleboat, with his sharp harpoon in hand, ready to dart it. Now, on the other side of the library, stands a statue of a black harpoon maker named Lewis Temple. There are no existing pictures of Temple so the sculptor used a picture of his son as the model. This man invented a harpoon that revolutionized the whaling industry because it was designed in such a way that once thrust into a whale’s hide it stuck and didn’t pull out which was the problem with the harpoons that preceded it. It’s called the “Temple Toggle.” I own two 1800’s examples of this iron.