Curiosities From Renwick Museum
Shoelace

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Record 289/765
Copyright Renwick Museum and Watson Memorial Library
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Collection RML (unaccessioned) General
Date circa 1900
Description One pair of black hand-cut Dawbarn's White Whale shoe laces, made in England. There is also a brown loose lace.

From Te Papa: These shoe laces are an unusual example of the many products made from whales in the nineteenth century. They are marketed as 'Genuine White Whale Shoe Laces'. The white whale or beluga is an Arctic and sub-Arctic species. Beluga whales are easily distinguished by their pure white skin, their small size and their lack of dorsal fin. They are toothed whales and therefore do not have baleen (which was in great demand in the 1800s for products which required flexibility).

Product advertising, such as the packaging of this object, often proudly proclaimed that only real or genuine whale products were used. However it is unknown which part of the white whale was used to make these laces.

Object ID RML0.800.0324
Object Name Shoelace
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Last modified on: December 19, 2014