Whaling boat Spes et Fides. This model of the Spes et Fides was built by Raymond Hampel in a scale of 1:48 and is part of our exhibit on the history of whaling on deck 7 of the museum.
By the middle of the 19th century whaling was in decay in the North Atlantic and Arctic waters. On one hand, fossil oil was sinking the demand for whale oil as a lubricant and fuel, on the other, centuries of hunting the sperm whale had diminished their populations, making a successful hunt less probable. Most whalers needed to turn to the hunt of seals to make their voyages financially viable. In this situation, the entrepreneur Sven Foynd (1809-1894) from Tønsberg, Norway, will invent modern whaling. It started with a new type of whaling boat: the Spes et Fides.
She was revolutionary due to her steam engine and, later, bow harpoon gun. The auxiliary sails extended the radius of action and served as a safety feature for the steam operation, which was still prone to failure at the time. The whaler was built by Nylands Mekaniske Verksted in Oslo, 1863. In 1870, Foynd patented his whaling cannon, throwing harpoons armed with a grenade timed to explode inside the body of the animal. A Further invention was the procedure by which the body of the whale was pumped with compressed air to avoid it from sinking. The power of the steam engine could take the boat up to 7 knots of speed, and was also used to power the equipment to handle the carcasses. With this new boat, the rorquals (larger and faster whales) could finally be hunted too. Foynd also developed a rationalized processing of the whales carcasses so all parts, including their bones, could be turned into useful products.
Norway became the leading pioneer in whaling, followed by the UK, and later Russia and Japan. By the end of the 19th Century, with the invention of the hydrogenation process, whale oil became a basic ingredient in the production of soap and margarine. This intensified the hunt for whales worldwide. The development of the whaling factory motherships in the first half of the 1910s was the last step to the high performing industrialized whaling, that has brought many of this species to the brink of extinction during the 20th Century.
This model of the Spes et Fides was built by Raymond Hampel in a scale of 1:48 and is part of our exhibit on the history of whaling on deck 7 of the museum.