Why was whale oil so valuable?

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asked Sep 3, 2023 in Fish by Allograft (4,000 points)
Why was whale oil so valuable?

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answered Sep 24, 2023 by Q766s (22,770 points)
Whale oil was so valuable because it was a high quality lubricant that was thin, didn't corrode metals, and also remained liquid when in freezing temperatures.

The qualities of whale oil made the whale oil an ideal choice of oil for use in watches, marine chronometers, military instruments and machines and in rifles.

You cannot still buy whale oil today as the sale and use of whale oil has ceased as most countries banned whaling.

Whale oil was obtained from the whale by boiling strips of the whales blubber that was harvested from the whale.

Whale oil is still used today but mostly by NASA to lubricate spacecraft which include the Hubble space telescope and the Voyager space probe.

Whale oil was traditionally and first used for making paint, explosives, varnish, jute, textiles, soap, lubrication and for lighting such as for lamp oil.

Whale oil was used for these things mostly from the 16th to the 19th century.

In modern times whale oil was hardened and then used for margarine.

Whale oil is oil obtained from the blubber of whales.

The oil from the bowhead whale was sometimes known as train-oil, which comes from the Dutch word traan.

Sperm oil, a special kind of oil obtained from the head cavities of sperm whales, differs chemically from ordinary whale oil: it is composed mostly of liquid wax.

Marine mammal oils have potentially beneficial effects on several diseases and symptoms, such as general and specific pain reducing effects, reducing symptoms in food hypersensitivity, reducing the reactivity of blood cells and the activation of coagulation.

In the 21st century, with most countries having banned whaling, the sale and use of whale oil has practically ceased.

Whale oil was obtained by boiling strips of blubber harvested from whales.

The oil from a right whale would operate an average American car for 8 years.

Whaling for energy was only profitable when whaling vessels used wind, which is free.

A right whale's body has about 4,200 gallons of whale oil after the whale is killed, processed, and the oil is refined.

Back in the day, NASA used whale oil as a lubricant in their space program, including the ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) for expeditions to the Moon and Mars.

Fast forward to the future and whale oil is still being used to lubricate spacecraft such as the Hubble space telescope and the Voyager space probe.

Inside the trenches, British soldiers covered their feet in whale oil to protect them from trench foot and they warmed themselves around whale oil stoves.

Above the trenches, British pilots smeared whale grease on their faces to protect them from the cold.

Case oil also contained Spermaceti, a solid, white, crystalline wax that congeals on contact with air.

Spermaceti was named from the Latin sperma, sperm, and cetus, whale, in the mis-belief that it was the coagulated semen of the whale.

Spermaceti is created in the spermaceti organ inside the whale's head.

This organ may contain as much as 1,900 liters (500 US gal) of spermaceti.

It has been extracted by whalers since the 17th century for human use in cosmetics, textiles, and candles.

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