Whalebone busks were inserted into a channel running down the front of a corset to give a lady perfect posture….and some discomfort!
Washing underwear at this time consisted of putting the whole family’s whites into a large tub of boiling water and lye soap. These busks would be removed prior to washing and were marked to tell which belonged to which family member. Two of these are nicely initialed, while the third has initials crudely scratched into it.
Sailors who went to sea often spent their spare time carving whalebone items (scrimshaw) and the two nicer busks may have been done in this way. They measure 1 inch by 8 and 9 inches.

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