San Diego Natural History Museum--Your Nature ConnectionHistory of the Museum

Trip to Trinidad Whaling Station, July-August 1926

Processing Whales
July 24

Bray captured another Phenacomys this morning while my line held a half dozen shrews.

Two more Finback Whales were brought in this morning & we spent about half the day making photographs & observing the operations about the factory. One of the managerís nephews showed us all thru the place, giving us full details of the operation of the process of each product made from the whales. Oil of course, is the chief product & is used by Procter & Gamble Co. in manufacturing their finest soaps. The Standard Oil Co. uses some to fuse with mineral oil for making lubricants. Several grades of oil are made. The 1st grade from the blubber, 2nd from the muscles, 3rd & 4th grades from intestines & bones & is graded according to the condition the whale reaches the station. The fresher the animal the better the grade of oil. Oleo margarine is made from the lowest grades.

The meat is made into chicken feed if brought in in fresh condition. It is boiled in large pressure steam cookers & dried in a large drying cylinder. All the oil is extracted while being boiled.

A double floor under the cutting room floor catches all the excrement & blood which is boiled down with the intestines & made into fertilizer.

The bones are run thru pressure cookers where all the oil is extracted & the bones, after being dried, are sent to the sugar refineries to be used in refining sugar.

Chopping Up Baleen
chopping baleen Huey photo


Very little of the whale goes to waste & the terrific odor about the place is caused by the drying of the fertilizer tho the meat cooking does not have such a savory odor and on my first visit to the place I could scarcely enjoy the next few meals but am more used to it now.


Whale Products
whale uses