Shore processing of spermaceti
Whales and whaling pictures

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Whales and whaling

Grinding and pressing crude spermaceti for removal of taut-pressed oil. Interior view of oil refinery. Filling bottles with sperm whale oil 1902.

Sperm whales have a particular kind of oil called "spermaceti" in their massive heads. This is different to the normal kind of whale oil from blubber that is used by the whale for insulation and also for food storage, it therefore has different properties.

Spermaceti is a liquid when warm (when obtained from the whale) and turns to a white solid on contact with air and when it cools. This are pictures of a shore processing factory where the spermaceti brought back in barrels by whaling ships is being turned into whale oil products - mainly high quality candles.

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Picture used courtesy NOAA