Imagine that you bake so many pies that you need a special tool for crimping the top and bottom crust together -one that makes different patterns to keep things interesting. Then imagine that yours was custom-carved from whalebone or walrus tusk by someone who loves you. The New Bedford Whaling Museum has many, many scrimshaw pie crimpers.
The exhibit attributes this functional extravagance to many hours of boredom at sea, but also to the American diet in the nineteenth century. A typical New England meal of the era would involve not just pie, but pies, in both savoury and sweet form. Armed with a crimping multi-tool, a lucky whaler’s spouse or mother need never fear a moment’s confusion differentiating between her cherry and chicken pies.