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Before Petroleum and Plastics . . . Arctic Whaling
The season was short - whaling ships entered the Arctic as soon as the ice had melted enough to permit passage, but they had to sail out in late summer to avoid getting trapped. Many ships were lost as ice closed in around them, so by the late 1800s, a number of whaleships were wintering in the Arctic.
Baleen is an elastic, horny material forming fringed plates that hang from the upper jaw of baleen whales and strain plankton from the water. Before the invention of plastics, this flexible and incredibly strong "whalebone" was used to make parasol frames, whips, fishing rods, corsets and hoop skirts.
If it hadn't been for petroleum and changes in fashion, it's very likely that many whale species would have been completely wiped out.
Click pictures for more information and credits.
Library: Whales & Fish, Animals
Boats & Ships, Arctic
Links: Animals, Boats & Ships, Arctic
Arctic Maps & Weather Reports
DICTIONARY: Just "double-click" any unlinked word on this page for the definition from Merriam-Webster's Student Electronic Dictionary at Word Central.
ARCTIC LIBRARY & GLOSSARY: Check this section for an index of the rest of the things you really need to know about the Arctic.
ARCTIC MAPS & WEATHER REPORTS: Maps of the Northwest Passage, explorers' routes, iceberg sources, Nunavut, the Arctic by treeline, temperature...
ARCTIC LINKS: Even more information! Links to sites related to the Arctic and "Iceberg: the Story of the Throps and the Squallhoots".
GUIDE TO ARCTIC SUNRISE & SUNSET: How much sunlight or darkness is there in the Arctic on each day of the year?