Replica Nocturnal

This replica of a nocturnal was made by a craftsman in Massachusetts. The nocturnal is used to tell the local time at night. When dials are set for the date, one index arm is lined up with the pointer stars in either Ursa Major or Ursa Minor and the other directly towards the zenith. The time can then be read off the dials. These instruments were used in the 17th century and 18th centuries, in an era where portable watches were too expensive for mariners.

Recognition Views along Maine Coast

These recognition views of Mount Desert and other places along Maine's coast help navigators determine their location. These are from The English Pilot, Fourth Book, published in 1767. Online via Boston Public Library.

Pulp Hook

A pulp hook was used to pick up an end of a log.

Portable Chinese Vanity Stand

Portable Chinese vanity stand, made of teakwood, inlaid with mother-of-pearl


The peavey is used to push and roll logs, both on land and in the water, during log drives. The peavey was invented in 1857 by Joseph Peavey, when he came up with this tool to help break out a logjam on the Penobscot River.

Parallel Rules

The parallel rules are used to plot courses, bearings, and celestial lines of position. By “walking” the rules across the chart, the navigator transfers the desired angle from the compass rose on the chart to the part of the chart where the ship is, or vice versa. A pair of triangles can do the same thing, while course plotters are designed to minimize effort in laying out angles.

Palace Foo Dog

Ornamental palace foo dog.


Ship's organ, foot-pumped. According to the donor, this Mason & Hamlin organ was used aboard a schooner and was the first organ on Great Cranberry Island.


Nippers are put around the fisherman's hands to protect them from rope burn and other damage while fishing.

Mount Desert and Penobscot Bay Real Estate Company

Real estate development for summer residents and tourists started in the last quarter of the nineteenth century as steamboats made travel from Boston easy. For the Penobscot bound, overnight boats from Boston stopped in Rockland by dawn after leaving Boston in the evening and were in Bangor by mid day. From the major Penobscot towns of the western shore, travelers transferred to smaller steamers for Mount Desert and smaller towns and islands.


Subscribe to RSS - Artifact