Bench for weaving eel traps
Overall: 42 1/2 x 60 x 28 in. ( 108 x 152.4 x 71.1 cm )
Wooden bench for weaving eel traps; rectangular seat with carved star mounted on plank with horizontal side supports; curved wooden section projects from end opposite seat to support one end of trap mold; other end of mold is lodged in pierced projection mounted on seat.
This bench enabled an eel fisherman to weave consistently-shaped traps through the use of a mold. Eel traps combine a long woven cone-shaped tunnel that is used to draw the eel into a larger woven basket. Once in, the eel frequently could not find its way back out. Eels were lured into the traps by bait or by their own natural instinct to seek dark enclaves in which to hide. Native to the bays and estuaries around New York City, eels were a staple among nineteenth century fishermen. Although eels inhabit the waters of New York year-round, fishermen often trapped them during the winter months when venturing out to open water proved too risky.
Gift of Professor Gustave Noback
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.