Animal Parts Wanted

Would you buy baleen (whalebone)? How about tallow (beef or mutton fat) or walrus teeth?

While animal rights activists may balk, in the late 1800s, manufacturers purchase these animal parts to produce goods. Baleen served as materials for corsets, collar stays, buggy whips, toys, and typewriter springs. Tallow served as an ingredient in soap. Walrus teeth served as materials for carvings.

In the mid-1800s, the whaling industry dominated Hawaii’s economy. With the whaling industry came Westerners, who demanded Western goods. To makes them, manufacturers offered money for animal parts, as seen in the newspaper ads below.

Walrus Teeth

Pacific commercial advertiser, October 27, 1859, Image 3

Polynesian, October 15, 1859, Image 3

Tallow for Soap

Daily Bulletin, November 28, 1883, Image 1

Hawaiian gazette, April 24, 1878, Image 1

Animal Bones

Pacific commercial advertiser, June 8, 1867, Image 3

Animal Hides

Polynesian, June 21, 1862, Image 3

Polynesian, June 21, 1862, Image 3

Whale Oil

Polynesian, June 21, 1862, Image 3

Daily Bulletin, March 15, 1883, Image 4

– Alice Kim