Harpoon?

Just got photos of this “Canadian toothpick”. I think I’ve seen pictures before (possibly on this forum) but can’t find them now. Any info appreciated, including its use.

O/a = 16-7/8 inches (43cm).
Body dia. 0.88 ins (22.35mm)
Wad dia. 0.925 ins (23.5mm)

Brass tube body, cast non-magnetic bronze pointed end with odd copper tube protruding from rear of point assembly, hole just below “barbs” goes all the way through – connecting to a cavity in the bronze head which appears to have some sort of plunger or moving cylinder inside. 4 copper sprung fins, fiber wad on base. Further disassembly of pointed end not attempted due to concern about damage. No visible markings anywhere.

Chris P.

Chris, very nice item, thanks for sharing. It is a 1" Pierce explosive lance for the Egger’s whale gun.

Regards,

Fede

From: “The fisheries and fishery industries of the United States”, 1887.

Probably a “bomb lance” developed by Ebenezer Pierce in 1879 and made by Frank Brown in New Bedford, Massachusetts. One example is described:
"Explosive lances were designed to kill a whale by exploding inside its body. Many different types were invented in the late 19th century. When they worked properly, they were extremely efficient.
They could either be shot out of guns or set at the end of darting guns [which] … resembled harpoon handles, to which the explosive lances were fixed. Once a plunger touching the whale’s skin moved a specific length, it triggered an explosive charge that shot the lance into the whale’s body. "


For information on many different types of harpoons and lances and bomb lances see Bulletin - United States National Museum, Issue 27, Part 1
DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUES OF THE COLLECTIONS SENT FROM THE UNITED STATES TO THE INTERNATIONAL FISHERIES EXHIBITION,
LONDON, 1883,
CONSTITUTING A REPORT UPON THE AMERICAN SECTION.
PREPARED UNDER THE DIRECTION OF G. BROWN GOODE, U. S. Commissioner,
1884

Fede, John,

Thanks for the rapid and comprehensive answer. So, works on whales but probably underpowered for our muskrats?

Chris P.

What propels it?
A blank, perhaps?