A Voyage Through Time:

Coastal whaling in New Bedford began as early as 1690 but not until 1750 was it done on a larger scale.  

In 1756 the first fitted whaler sailed from New Bedford and by 1775, its whaling industry grew to more than 70 ships.  Then the American Revolution ended this period of prosperity.  In 1787 New Bedford became a township.   After the war, in 1793, the town began to rival Nantucket for first place in  American whaling.  By this time, another war took its toll.  It wasn't until after the war of 1812  the township started a remarkable recovery to the Golden Age of Whaling.  In 1847, New Bedford became a city and in 1850 was the homeport for half the whaling fleet; over 300 ships.  By 1857, she peaked with over 400 ships. 1924-25 marked an end to the Whaling Era in New Bedford.  The last active whaler to leave New Bedford was the " Wanderer"  on August 15,1924 never to return.  In 1925 the whaling schooner John R. Manta returned from her final voyage with a very small catch ending a most exciting era in New Bedford's history.

Herman Melville,  sailed out of New Bedford on the whaler "Acushnet" in 1841.  Upon his return from a long voyage, he published his book about the great white whale "MOBY DICK". This book and the first movie about this book made in 1956 starring Mr. Gregory Peck as "Captain Ahab"  is what inspired this "collectible" series of Cup Plates  depicting the "Whaling History" of New Bedford.



The above photo courtesy of the New Bedford Whaling Museum.

Copyright 2002 Whaling History