16 May 2013

Scrimshaw pie crimpers

On a recent Venue visit to the New Bedford Whaling Museum, I was captivated by a gallery filled with scrimshaw items, carved by American nineteenth-century whalemen as gifts for mothers, wives, and sweethearts during their long sea voyages... scrimshanders carved baleen, walrus tusks, and whale teeth into hundreds of thousands of pie crimpers.

Serious pastry chefs today still crimp the edges of their pies using their fingers. Some might go as far as using a fork or spoon to create decorative patterns; and the truly gadget-obsessed, or those with no limitations on their kitchen storage space, might even own a simple stainless steel crimping wheel.

Nineteenth-century scrimshaw pie crimpers, however, are not just useful for sealing pies with an attractive flourish. They incorporate forks for punching air holes, knives for cutting off excess pastry, tart tampers that double as decorative stamps, and, most importantly, two, three, or even four crimping wheels, each of which would imprint a different pattern on your pie crust
More photos at the Edible Geography source. And a new word for me: scrimshander.  Not in my Random House dictionary, but I found it along with scrimshandy, and scrimshoner as a referent under scrimshaw.

Photo credit: New Bedford Whaling Museum/Nicola Twilley.


  1. What a great name for a band.

  2. Pie crimpers are more often used to made decorative cuts of flattened dough. They are very popular item to made lattice tarts and ravioli pasta. They are very seldom on pie crust

  3. I've seen scrimshaw walking sticks, but never anything like this. They're amazing works of art. Thanks for posting.

  4. Scrimshaw is fascinating. I live in a part of the world which had a number of whaling stations in the 19th century, and there are some beautiful scrimshaw works on display in local museums, but I don't recall seeing anything as elaborate or multifunctional as these pieces.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...