The Charles W. Morgan
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Whaling History in Connecticut - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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The Charles W. Morgan A Wooden Whaling Ship. By Mary Erin Clem. Whaling History in Connecticut. During the 1800’s Connecticut ranked second in the whaling industry. Whaling provided employment and economic growth to Mystic. Whale products were important to the people of Connecticut.

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The Charles W. Morgan

A Wooden Whaling Ship

By Mary Erin Clem

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Whaling History in Connecticut

  • During the 1800’s Connecticut ranked second in the whaling industry.

  • Whaling provided employment and economic growth to Mystic.

  • Whale products were important to the people of Connecticut.

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Naming of the Ship

The Charles W. Morgan was built in New Bedford, Massachusetts.

She was named after Charles Waln Morgan, a Quaker businessman

who commissioned the ship to be built.

However, it was Morgan’s nephew who named the ship after his uncle.

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Why are boats referred to as “she”?

According to Yarns of the Sea, Legends, Myths, and Superstitions: Although women were considered to bring bad luck at sea, mariners always use the pronoun "she" when referring to their ships. Whether its proper name is masculine, or whether it is a man o'war, a battleship, or a nuclear submarine, a ship is always referred to as "she."

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Why are boats referred to as “she”?

It has been suggested that a ship "was nearer and dearer to the sailor than anyone except his mother." What better reason to call his ship "she"?

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The Charles W. Morgan

Drawing of Ship from Master’s Logbook

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More Ship Facts

  • 133 feet long

  • 27.7 feet wide

  • 12.6 feet depth

  • Weighs 313.75 tons

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The Charles W. Morgan Quick Facts

  • Built in 1841 and took nine months to build

  • 37 voyages

  • 35 crew members

  • 20 different captains

  • Over eighty years

  • 54, 483 barrels of oil

  • 152,934 pound of whalebone

  • Final voyage 1921

  • Last surviving example of 19th century whaling fleet

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Voyage at Sea

The longest voyage was four years and eleven months and the shortest was eight and a half months.

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First Page from

Master’s Logbook

“Journal of a voyage to Pacific

Ocean in the ship Chas W.

Morgan, Thomas A. Norton,

Master. Sept 6th, 1841. May

kind Neptune protect us with

pleasant Gales and may we be

successful in catching

Sperm Whales.”

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Whale Hunting on the Morgan

Ships like the Morgan hunted three different kinds of whales: sperm, right, and bowhead.

Sperm whale

Right whale

Bowhead whale

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Why did people hunt whales?

Whaling supported Connecticut’s economy by providing products that were important to people’s lives.

Whale blubber provided oil for street lights, home lamps and lighthouses.

The oil made from the blubber burned brighter with less smoke and didn’t change in consistency in cold or warm weather.

Whale oil lamps

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Whale Products

  • Before there was steel or plastic, people used whale bone because it was light and flexible.

  • When heated, the whalebone could retain any shape when cooled.

Pie crimper

Eye glasses

Clothes pins

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Other Whale Products

  • The sperm whale was also hunted for a waxy substance called ambergris.

  • The ambergris was used to make candles and perfume.


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Catching a Whale

Ships like the Morgan carried five whale boats with each one having six crew members. The crew would row out to the whale to harpoon it and then kill it with a sword or gun.

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Visit the Morgan

To take a tour of the Charles W. Morgan visit Mystic Seaport.

For more information about the Charles W. Morgan:

For more information about whaling in Connecticut: