Preserving the Past for Our Future
97.5% of all sales go directly to fund local history lectures and preservation projects in Somerville.
How to Care for Your Scrimshaw
Your scrimshaw is etched or engraved, and the design brought out by rubbing India ink into the recesses of the design. Care must be taken not to get it wet or abrade it. A coat of clear enamel is put items subject to extra wear. Do not rub the surface of scrimshaw if it gets wet.
The art of scrimshaw dates back to the whaling days over 200 years ago. Months at sea stretched into years for sailors aboard the ocean going ships. The sailors would often use the idle hours to create objects for the people back home or to make a bit of money. One of these activities was scrimshaw, the etching of discarded sperm whale teeth and whale bone with scenes of the voyage and pictures found in books. With the disappearance of whaling, scrimshaw almost disappeared.
Today, the intricate hand carvings and engravings done by American whalemen are accepted as one of America's most important folk arts. This nearly forgotten craft is being kept alive by Pierce & Co. of Fairhaven, Massachusetts in the same manner as in by-gone days with one exception: scrimshaw is now created from a renewable resource: genuine shed antler from deer, elk, moose and other animals whose antlers fall off naturally in the spring and regrow through the summer. Using this beautiful and natural material, Pierce & Co.creates treasures of today and heirlooms for tomorrow.