Lewis Temple Statue

Inventor of the "temple toggle iron", a tool which revolutionized the whaling industry

613 Pleasant Street, New Bedford, MA 02740

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Lewis Temple (1800-1854), a free black man and proprietor of a local blacksmith shop by 1836, invented the "Temple Toggle Iron" in 1848, a pivot-head harpoon which revolutionized the whaling industry. Commissioned in 1985 by the City of New Bedford to create a memorial to Lewis Temple, local African-American sculptor Jim Toatley died after completing a maquette of the memorial. His design was mechanically enlarged to a six-foot figure as originally created, and conveys Lewis Temple, clad in a working-man's apron, looking at a harpoon that he has been working on.

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