Nantucket’s whaling industry began in 1690. At the time, most of the fishing on the Island consisted of Cod and Shellfish. The first whales captured were slow moving, close to shore, and easy to catch. When a sperm whale happened to come ashore in the 1700s, deep-sea whaling began in earnest after the oil from the sperm whale was determined to be of superior quality. Over time and for the next hundred years, Nantucket’s whaling industry grew more and more prosperous. Journeys spanned longer distances and lasted 4 or 5 years at a time. Ships were outfitted to process whale oil on board. Nantucket’s positon in the trade had risen to such heights that it became known as the Whaling Capital of the World. Things changed in the mid-1800s due to the rise of other forms of fuel and a fire that devastated the Island. However, the roots of whaling remain strong on Nantucket with the ever-present and iconic whale image used continually on numerous products ranging from t-shirts, beer, and home décor. Nantucket General Store celebrates the Whale icon, offering many products whose roots (in image) date back to the Island’s rich history from the 1600s.