Page:Journal of a Voyage to Greenland, in the Year 1821.djvu/258

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their going freely into the caliber of the piece; the withers were of iron, highly tempered to give them the most resisting strength.

It is here necessary to observe, that, in the construction of the harpoons in use, the greatest attention is paid to making those instruments of the softest and most pliable iron, to prevent the liability of that important part, the shank, breaking, and to admit of its twisting, or bending readily; for which purpose, the harpoons undergo the process of softening, by very gradual or protracted cooling; a process, which, however advantageous to render the shank yielding, must no doubt be injurious to the withers, to which cause, it is probable that the bending or upsetting of the withers of many is to be ascribed.

This is completely obviated in the harpoon shown above, for the withers being detached, admit of the most powerful hardening, and the combined lockings, when united, supply it with all the strength that can be required.

The harpoon is given below with its conical end, and screw point, prepared to enter into the wooden cap, which is hollowed out to receive that extremity.

Journal of a Voyage to Greenland, in the Year 1821, page 204.png

The worm of the screw entering into the wood, firmly secures it to the harpoon, and forms one compact body. The design of the cap is to remove the loss of that power that would otherwise be caused, by leaving a space between the gunpowder and the point of the instrument. It also keeps the harpoon centrifugally in the gun to receive the