Ulu (knife)

An ulu knife with a European blade and horn handle as used by the Inuit for flaying carcasses.

Obtained by the Franklin Search Expedition 1864-69, lead by Captain C.F. Hall. The blade may be associated with the Franklin expedition of 1845. Four ulu are listed in the 1913 draft Royal Naval Museum Catalogue Franklin Room, case 4, number 3. A Royal Naval Museum number '3' is painted on this item. All four were obtained from various sites in the Arctic by the American explorer Charles Hall. Two originated on King William Island, one came from Pelly Bay and one was associated with Edward Parry's winter camp during 1822-23 at Iglulik. They were presented to the Royal Naval Museum by Sophia Cracroft, Lady Franklin's niece.

A pattern book for R. Timmins & Son, Birmingham, published 1845-50, shows a knife with a similar blade set in a turned wooden handle amongst illustrations of 'Sadlers and Harness Tools', reference number 301A. These knives, in various sizes were priced at 18 shillings, twenty-one shillings and twenty-four shillings per dozen.

Object Details

ID: AAA2615
Collection: World Cultures
Type: Ulu (knife)
Display location: Display - Atlantic Gallery
Creator: Timmins, R & Sons; Timmins & Sons
Events: Arctic Exploration: Franklin Search Expedition, Hall, 1864-1869
Date made: Early 19th century; circa 1821
Exhibition: North-West Passage
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Measurements: Overall: 90 x 100 x 30 mm
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