The Whale Oil Factory Ships 1903-1955
by Geir Røsset
An excellent book, lavishingly illustrated with fine photographs and beautiful watercolours.
Although whaling is not, quite rightly, the flavour of today, I have always been fascinated by the industry – its ships and men – both tough as teak.
Written in both Norwegian and English this is an exceptional book. At the centre of this industry were of course the small hunting vessels – the catchers and the large factory ships. Many of these ships feature in this book with details, where built, history and end etc. Eventually these factory ships were among the largest ships of their day and packed with the latest technology – the whale hunters / catchers also increased in size in parallel with their mother ships. Eventually the cutting edge technology of the vessels involved decimated whale numbers and in many respects helped kill the industry they had been built for. To realise this is not to diminish the tough nature and vital importance of whaling at one time.
This excellent book is lavishingly illustrated with fine photographs of these factory ships, but also with beautiful watercolour paintings by the Scottish marine artist Jim Rae. They are quite exceptional!
Whatever we now think of the whaling industry in today’s enlightened times, my admiration of the ships and men that sailed to the ends of the earth, hunting whales, remains undiminished – it must have been a tough, bleak demanding life.
Buy this book and savour it in the company of a generous single malt – Scottish of course (a fine Glenfarclas will do nicely!). Highly recommended.