locked Re: Whale Oil and Southern Railway shipment information in the Fairfax Harrison period



Fascinating stuff. I did find several versions of the SS Pythia and whale oil shipping on this list, including an SS Pythia that supposedly ran from 1915 to 1928 under the A/S Dominion Whaling Ltd, Sandefjord. In service as cargo ship.... Link is here, although this looks like someone's personally built timeline that would need more verification. https://www.preceden.com/timelines/235552-the-whale-oil-factory-ships

Now this IS a verified source. The only buyer of consequence in the U.S. of whale oil from Norway was P&G in 1934 according to a Norwegian letter to the U.S. Secretary of State from that year. Interesting. https://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1934v02/d553

You can find papers and links about P&G's use of whale oil in the hydrogenation of whale oils (and other types of oils) for products including margarine and cosmetics (Both of which P&G made and still makes). I've seen an unverified source on whale oil being a minor ingredient (less than half of one percent) in the original Ivory Soap (one of P&G's flagship brands). A P&G expert I am not though. So, that bears some more proper research if anything is to be done with the information.

But, one thing is clear, P&G brought in thousands of shipments of whale oil to the U.S., including to its Ivorydale/Cincinnati plant from Port Ivory on Staten Island. The Port Ivory plant was owned by P&G. You can find references to the trade in an ICC petition P&G filed against the B&O in 1926 about the whale oil shipment rates based on the shipment of 160 whale oil cars. Link here: https://books.google.com/books?id=zZbHY9_LWKkC&pg=PA177&lpg=PA177&dq=%22port+ivory%22+Procter+and+gamble+%22whale+oil%22&source=bl&ots=SJofjsn7ft&sig=ACfU3U0RN8gyIquFiBYLZ30oe3xCmOh4BA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjWmpjc9bztAhVFWqwKHfaHAxMQ6AEwD3oECBEQAg#v=onepage&q=%22port%20ivory%22%20Procter%20and%20gamble%20%22whale%20oil%22&f=false

If the Southern was involved in shipping whale oil too...I wonder what the routing was. Interesting. The SRHA archives deliver a fine mystery here that can be solved. I'll keep looking into this one a bit.

-Chris Mayhew
SRHA member
Cincinnati, Ohio

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