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Bottle 858 - Charles W Morgan
Date Added: 07 September 2010

The inspiration for this model came from the piece of scrimshaw mounted right next to it. I had purchased the scrimshaw in Boston, Massachusetts over 25 years ago and always had visions of making a model of that scene. To make it all work, I needed the right size bottle and opening. I finally found the perfect empty bottle in an antique store in Putnam, CT. By it’s construction it appears to have been made around 1870. It is embossed with the following label: Robert Gibson, Manchester, England / E.C. Rich New York, US Agent. The glass is clearly hand blown with numerous defects and imperfections but it is clear enough for viewing the objects inside. I am not sure what it was supposed to hold, but it appears to be some sort of food or beverage bottle as opposed to a medicine or soap container. The scene, in both the scrimshaw and the model, depicts a whale hunt with a flurry of activity by both men and whales. In the foreground, a whaleboat and crew have harpooned a whale and are ready for the final kill. In the background, a whale is sounding (diving back into the water) and you can see its tail rise out of the water, while another whaleboat is still under chase. The boat depicted in the model is the Charles W. Morgan, which is the last surviving whale ship from that era and is permanently docked at Mystic, CT. You can see several crewmembers on the rail of the Morgan, waving and shouting to those in the boats. The model has some details uniquely found on whaling ships namely a brick oven in the middle of the deck specifically designed to boil down whale blubber into oil. The following web site http://www.newbedford-ma.gov/Library/Whaling/Whaling.html has an abundance of information about the whaling industry. One can find information about the ships, men and voyages of New Bedford whalers from the mid to late 1800’s. The model has an aspen hull with basswood and mahogany trim. The sails are cotton rag paper stained dark. The sea is made of air hardening clay (Plasticine). Detail trim pieces are wood or brass wire strips.
Type: Whaling Scene   Maker's Name: Sheridan, Bill
Category: Sailing Ships   Made Where: Southington, Connecticut
Bottle Size: 2 liter   Year Made: 2010
Bottle Type: Antique Bottle circa 1870’s