1973.10.97 | Pitch ladle

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Pitch ladle
1875, 19th century
55.1 cm
New Brunswick Museum
This artefact belongs to: © New Brunswick Museum
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Keys to History

To make the ship watertight, caulkers sealed, or caulked, the seams between the planks with hemp fibres called oakum. The oakum-packed seams were then covered with hot tar, or pitch. The pitch was poured into the deck seams with a ladle, while it was "rolled" onto the hull with mops, often spattering workers with sticky drops that burned their faces and hands.

  • What

    This pitch ladle is made of iron.

  • Where

    Iron tools for shipbuilding might have been imported, but the local blacksmith often made them.

  • When

    This pitch ladle was used in the New Brunswick shipbuilding industry in the late 1800s.

  • Who

    John Ring, the donor's grandfather, used this pitch ladle.