No known basketry style is as unique to its place of birth as the lightship basket. The style originated more than 150 years ago by crews manning the lightships off the eastern U.S. coast near Nantucket Island, Massachusetts.The whaling industry sent sailors ‘round the world and introduced them to rattan cane, exotic wood, dyes and reed. On their return voyages, whalers would give gifts to the lightship sailors who guided their ships over the dangerous shoals. The lightship crews used North American hardwoods like cherry, maple, hickory, walnut and oak or exotic woods like ebony, tamarind, bublinga and ipe which they wove with reed or pounded ash, using ash or rattan cane staves and trimmed with leather and brass nails. The result is both strong and beautiful.