Ship Lanterns and Lamps

Some of the earliest ship lamps burned whale oil, either refined from the blubber of a right whale or harvested from the head of a sperm whale. In the 18th and 19th centuries, sperm oil was particularly prized because it burned longer than blubber. That combined with its relative scarcity made it more expensive, which is why sperm whale was mostly used at sea by naval vessels whose governments could afford the additional cost. Whale oil...Continue Reading