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Masonic Scrimshaw Busk
1825-1850
Maker not marked
Place made not marked
Whalebone or baleen
overall: 13-3/4"h x 1-1/2"w x 1/8"d
Museum Purchase
86.18

Scrimshaw busk has Masonic designs of arch, square and compasses, beehive, cornucopia, urn, willow; other designs include flowers and vines, and "E. D. Williams."


To while away time, sailors on years-long whaling voyages handcrafted different kinds of gifts for friends and family at home. A busk, slipped into a pocket in the front of a woman’s corset to correct her posture and to keep her dress bodice smooth, was an intimate gift for a wife or sweetheart. Used every day, a busk served as a constant reminder of the giver. We do not know if E. D. Williams made or received this present.