Stop 5: Rodman Candleworks

Historic black and white photo of Rodman Candleworks building.

Stop 5: Rodman Candleworks

72 North Water Street
New Bedford, MA 02740

The City That Lit the World

To the left of the Double Bank Building, you see Rodman Candleworks. For 80 years it produced spermaceti candles, a luxury item made of the “top tier” oil from the sperm whales head. These candles which gave rise to the term “candle power” were touted as the brightest, cleanest, and most expensive illumination choice of the 19th century. The oil from the sperm whale used in street lamps made for safer streets and longer more productive days in homes and businesses. These spermaceti candles are one example of the myriad of products produced from the whale from soap and detergent, to fine ladies fans.


Last updated: December 10, 2020

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Mailing Address:

33 William Street
New Bedford , MA 02740



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