Spermaceti er et voksaktig stoff som finnes i hodehulene til spermhvalen. Spermaceti lages i spermaceti-organet inne i hvalens hode. Dette organet kan inneholde så mye som 1900 liter spermaceti. Hvalfangstindustrien på 1600- og 1700-tallet ble utviklet for å finne, høste og foredle innholdet i hodet til en spermhval.

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Spermaceti is a waxy substance found in the head cavities of the sperm whale (and, in smaller quantities, in the oils of other whales). Spermaceti is created in the spermaceti organ inside the whale's head. This organ may contain as much as 1,900 litres (500 US gal) of spermaceti.[1]

The whaling industry in the 17th and 18th centuries was developed to find, harvest and refine the contents of the head of a sperm whale. The crews seeking spermaceti routinely left on three-year tours on several oceans. Cetaceous lamp oil was a commodity that created many maritime fortunes. Measurement of the proportion of wax esters retained by a harvested sperm whale accurately described the age and future life expectancy of a given individual. The light produced by a single pure spermaceti source (candle) became the standard measurement of "candlepower" for another century.

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