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Whale Oil
Whale Oil Versus the Others
Whale Oil Uses
The Size of the Sperm Whale
Sperm Whale Head Anatomy
Sperm Whale Oil
Whale Oil Barrel
Historic Prices
Whalemen in the Oilfields
Whaling Control
Cia. Ballenera del Norte S.A.

Sperm Whale Oil

Oil of the first quality (spermaceti) is found in the case and junk chambers in the head and was sometimes stored separately from oil rendered from blubber.  Case and junk oil is straw colored and hardens into a white wax when air reaches it.  It has to be reheated (tried) in try-pots before running it into containers.  The quantity of this head oil ranges from 6 to 8 barrels.  One source says ten barrels, but this was from a very large bull.  The average oil content of the case and junk is estimated to be on the order of seven barrels.

Second quality oil was recovered from the thick blubber, but Rose (1958) points out that the blubber oil was mixed with case and junk oil in Peru and all of it was considered first quality.  More oil was obtained from the blubber and other parts than from the case and junk in the massive head.  The blubber can be as much as 18 inches thick on the shoulder and back.

About 25 to 40 barrels of whale oil could be had from a sperm whale in the average size range, but extremes of over 100 barrels are found in legend.  Such questionable high yields would have had to be from very rare bull whales in populous seas before much hunting had lessened the average size of the survivors.

In an efficient operation practically all of the whale was used for one purpose or another.  There was very little grax.


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