Lewis Temple

Lewis Temple, a man of color, invented the toggle harpoon in 1848. This device increased the efficiency of the whaling industry.
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Updated on: January 30, 2001

Lewis Temple

Lewis TempleLewis TempleLewis Temple

Born in Richmond, Virginia, perhaps into slavery, Lewis Temple had settled in New Bedford by 1829. He was vice president of New Bedford Union Society, an antislavery society formed by people of color in 1833. In his hand he carries the toggle harpoon that he invented in 1848. This device vastly increased the efficiency of whale hunting.

Excerpted from "The Underground Railroad: New Bedford," published by the National Park Service.

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