Upcoming Black History Posts
  • Watts Riots
  • SS Leonard Roy Harom
  • Shaw University
  • William Sill
  • Alexander Miles
  • E. Franklin Frazier
  • John W Cromwell
  • Blind Tom Bethune
  • Andrew Bryan
  • James A Healy
  • Charles W. Buggs
  • NAACP Youth Council
  • Fredrick Gregory
  • Xavier University
Categories

Lewis Temple

Lewis Temple

Lewis Temple

Lewis Temple was the inventor of a whaling harpoon, known as “Temple’s Toggle” and “Temple’s Iron” that became the standard harpoon of the whaling industry in the middle of the 19th century. Lewis Temple was a skilled blacksmith, not a whaler. He had never even been to sea. Temple was born a slave in Richmond, Virginia, in 1800, and arrived in New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1829.

By 1836, Temple was one of the 315,000 free black people in the United States and a successful businessman who operated a whale craft shop on the New Bedford waterfront. Temple, a well-known citizen of New Bedford, was working as a blacksmith to support his wife, Mary Clark, whom he married in 1829, and their three children. In 1845, Temple was able to open a larger store.

The procuring of whale oil, whale meat and by-products was a leading industry in Massachusetts and New England. Whaling also provided thousands of jobs for seamen, many of whom were black. Based on conversations with the whalers who came to his shop to have their whaling tools made and to buy harpoons, Temple probably learned that many whales escaped, since the harpoons used at the time were not particularly effective in holding a struggling whale.

In 1848, Lewis Temple invented a new type of harpoon, with a moveable head that prevented the whale from slipping loose. The Temple Iron was more effective than any other harpoon that had ever been manufactured. The head on Temple’s harpoon became locked in the whale’s flesh, and the only way to free the harpoon was to cut it loose after the whale was killed.

Initially, whalers did not accept Temple’s harpoon. However, after some trials, most whaling captains were convinced that Temple’s “Toggle Iron” was far superior to the ordinary barbed head harpoon. Lewis Temple never patented his invention, but was able to make a fairly good living from his harpoon sales. This sum, of course, was nowhere near the fortune he could have made if he had patented his invention. Temple was able to buy the building next to his shop and, in 1854, arranged for construction of a blacksmith shop near Steamboat Wharf.

Temple accidentally fell one night while walking near his new shop construction site. He never fully recovered from his injuries. Temple was unable to return to work and money became scarce for his family. He died destitute in May 1854, at the age of 54. When his estate was settled, practically everything he owned was used to pay off his debts. Clifford Ashley said in his book, The Yankee Whaler, that Temple’s harpoon was “the single most important invention in the whole history of whaling.”

Black AMerica News

$215M Settlement Proposed In Alleged USC Gynecologist AbuseLOS ANGELES (AP) — The University of Southern California on Friday announced an agreement in principle for a $215 million class-action settlement of claims involving alleged sexual harassment and abus [...]

PAC Won’t Pull Ad Suggesting ‘Lynching’ If Democrats WinLITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A political action committee said Friday that it won’t pull a widely condemned radio ad that suggests white Democrats will lynch African-Americans if they win in midterm elect [...]

This Is the Police Interaction Video Texas Students Must Watch to Graduate High SchoolStarting this school year, High School students in Texas will receive a class, paired with a 16-minute video, that aims to teach them how to deal with law enforcement during a traffic stop. CNN report [...]

Iowa Basketball Coach Admits To Sexually Exploiting 400 Boys  IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A prominent Iowa youth basketball coach faces potentially decades in prison after admitting to a yearslong pattern of sexually exploiting and abusing at least 400 minor boys, [...]

Mega Millions Jackpot Reaches $1B As Drawing NearsDES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Mega Millions jackpot has soared to an estimated $1 billion, as the second-largest lottery prize in U.S. lottery history gets even bigger. Lottery officials increased the g [...]

Tarana Burke: #Metoo Creator ‘Deeply Offended’ By Lee Daniels’ Plan To Create A Comedy Based On The MovementThe founder of the #MeToo movement says she’s ‘deeply offended’ by Lee Daniels’ plan to create a comedy that’s reportedly inspired by the movement. Tarana Burke created the #MeToo movement more than 1 [...]

Mother Caught Inside Prison Using Child As Drug Mule [Watch]A mother was caught on camera inside a prison using her child as a drug mule! The woman reportedly hid drugs in her daughter’s underwear while visiting a male prisoner. Surveillance footage shows her [...]

Elementary School Principal Apologizes For Warning Parents About Black ManThe principal of a San Diego elementary school sent out an email warning parents of a Black man who was inside of a nearby Starbucks. Now she’s sent an email apology for being racist. The San Diego Tr [...]

Savannah State Eyes Layoffs Amid Decline In Student EnrollmentSavannah State University may be forced to downsize due to lack of funds. According to savannahnow.com enrollment has been down for the past two years. “As you may know, our enrollment has declined fo [...]

Ex-FBI Agent Gets 4 Years In Prison For Leaking DocumentsST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A former FBI agent in Minnesota who admitted leaking classified internal documents to a reporter was sentenced Thursday to four years in prison. Terry James Albury, 39, pleaded [...]

Fishy Finances: Star-Kist Fined $100M In Tuna Price-FixingSAN FRANCISCO (AP) — StarKist Co. agreed to plead guilty to a felony price fixing charge as part of a broad collusion investigation of the canned tuna industry, the U.S. Department of Justice announce [...]

Cory Booker Feels Out South Carolina With Eye To 2020 ElectionCOLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Cory Booker had hundreds of Democratic activists nodding, applauding and eventually roaring — complete with a sermon-style call-and-response — as he entertained the Orangeburg Co [...]

Beto O’Rourke Uses Town Hall To Try To Unseat Ted Cruz In Texas SenateAUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Democratic Senate hopeful Beto O’Rourke told a national television audience Thursday night that he’d vote to impeach President Donald Trump and believes Texas can lead the way to [...]

NTSB Blocked From Examining Limo In Crash That Killed 20WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal safety investigators have been unable to conduct a full examination of the limousine involved in a crash that killed 20 people nearly two weeks ago in upstate New York becaus [...]

Trump Now Says Saudi Journalist Is Likely Dead, Threatens ConsequencesWASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump said Thursday it “certainly looks” as though Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi is dead, and he threatened “very severe” consequences if the Saudis are found to [...]

Woman Arrested For Leaving 2-Year-Old Boy On Strangers PorchUPDATE:  CBS 11 in Dallas reports that the woman, who dropped the toddler off at the wrong front door and then left, has been arrested. “The suspect in the video dropped the child off after the father [...]

Mom Tracks Down and Spanks 14-Year-Old After He Took Off In Her New BMW [Video]In a series of now viral tweets Liza Campero details the drama that unfolded as her mother tracked down her 14-year-old brother who went joy riding in her BMW. Campero told KTRK that her brother disco [...]

4 Tax Breaks For TeachersThe flood of education-related tax advice that seems to crest during back-to-school season often centers on students or their parents. But teachers can score a few tax breaks, too — if they do their h [...]