Thursday, January 01, 2009

The Tragic Story of Torvald Stranne

Before I forget, here is a bit of additional information. To date, I know of three sizes that the Torvald Stranne floats are found in: 3.5" diameter; 4.5" diameter and 5.0"diameter.

And there is also the Tragic Story of Torvald Stranne, originally conceived by fellow glass float collector, Greg aka Gregsboat1.

Dear Tom,

Here is the most current Torvald Stranne research to date.

I think I mentioned to you before that I bought a "Torvald Stranne".

This float is almost "lime" green in color and about 4 and 1/2 inches across. It is also strikingly "lightweight."

I wonder if this lack of "ruggedness" is what makes these floats so scarce?

In fact, they are so fragile that I can actually picture Torvald Stranne himself; proudly standing at the helm of his fishing boat heading out to sea having just taken delivery of his new shipment of "personalized" fishing floats.

Unfortunately, Torvald's newly found pride quickly evaporates into mind numbing disappointment as his brand-new glass fishing floats immediately begin "popping" like lightbulbs every time one of them hits the deck of his boat.

In fact, he becomes so pissed off with his shipment of "vanity" floats that he never orders custom fishing floats again; Hence their rarity.

Driven insane and bankrupt by these personalized but, highly fragile fish floats, Torvald immediately quits his life at sea and spends the remainder of his years as a foul-tempered hermit raising sheep in the Swedish highlands.

To make matters even worse; Immediately after Torvald's financial and mental collapse, Oresten Stranne, Torvald's cousin, was caught, red-handed, stealing Torvald's now all but floatless fishing nets, Through out the trial, Oresten viemmently denied the accusations against him claiming that he was merely "borrowing" all of Torvald's nets.

According to the original court transcripts, Oresten Stranne's sole defense was..."Just because Oresten Stranne floats are stronger than those "girly-man" Torvald Stranne floats doesn't mean I "stold" his stupid fishing nets"

Apparently, in an effort to cover up the crime and learning from Torvald's flimsy float mistake, Oresten secretly ordered his own batch of much sturdier "personalized" floats and attached them to Torvald's nets in an effort to pass them off as his own.

Since Torvald bitterly refused to leave the solitude of sheep farming to testify against his cousin, Oresten was acquitted of the accusations against him.

Oresten Stranne eventually died a very rich man. but, to this day, everyone in the village knows it was certainly not because he had sturdy fishing floats.



* * * * *

Hi! Greg,

Right now there is a lot of controversy concerning whether or not a woman actually caught a world record summer flounder. It is quite a read should you be interested enough to go to one of the blogs like: the Bass Barn. It made me think of the story that you sent me the other day. It's funny how things can get so twisted.

Now, I'm not saying that your story is right or wrong, but this is the way that I heard it:

Oresten and Torvald were not cousins, they were brothers. Torvald was the oldest, and there were 11 other siblings, with Oresten being the 13th. born. I guess one could take that as being born under a bad sign, or if you are a religous-minded person, being born under a good sign, because 13 is a very pure and symbolic number.

Anyway, being the youngest, and the baby, caused Oresten to be very competetive with his siblings, and as he got older, especially with Stranne. Stranne was a commercial fisherman, having started out helping his father on the family boat. Stranne was a go-getter, and soon excelled at all types of fishing for all types of fish. He eventually specialized in catching salmon. He was very adept at driftnetting. He caught enough fish to actually be able to afford having his own custom-embossed glass floats made for him. A wonderful and time-saving acquisition. Trying to keep stoppered bottles afloat was difficult, and sometimes took away from prime fishing time by sinking the net. It could be almost impossible to locate a sinking net after dark, as you drifted.

Well, you know, Torvald was the apple of his father's eye, as well as many of the local girls, who Torvald was glad to give a tour of his boat house to.

It is said that his nets had a fish-catching scent that no one else could duplicate, and was the reason for his success with Salmon--especially those large hookjaws. Everywhere he went, his reputation followed him.

Oresten, also became a fisherman, and he became particularly adept at catching cod with set nets. He worked hard, and learned the migratory patterns and routes that the cod traveled, and set his gillnets to capture those moving fish.

Oresten was always proud of his big balls, and it was a family joke that he had bigger balls then Torvald. Which was a fact. He needed those bigger glass balls to mark his nets, while Torvald only needed small balls to keep his drift nets on the surface. But I digress.

As the years went by, and the fishing populations began to change due to fishing pressure from the Norwegians, British, French and Romance peoples, the codfish began disappearing. Oresten came back with little or nothing to show for most of his efforts, and knew that he needed to make a change. Stranne knew this as well.

Being the big brother that he was, he tried to help his little brother learn to catch Salmon. The populations of Salmon also decreased, but the love of Salmon to the world's diners kept the wholesale prices always on the rise. Small balls or not, Torvald continued to be the "cock of the fishing walk," and his little brother knew it.

Once Torvald learned some of his brother's tricks, he hungered to get his own drift nets. His brother, being the kind of guy he was, helped Torvald out, and for Noel, gave him a brand new handmade drift net fitted with his specially embossed floats for his nets. Well, Torvald, after all of the ridicule about having tiny balls, one-upped Oresten, with that bunch of balls. One can only imagine Oresten's chagrin when he started drifting his nets in his "secret spot" in one of the large feeder creeks that the big hook jaws used for spawning. Those thin-glassed small balls that Torvald lovingly macramed and tied to the drift net that he made for Oresten, broke like crackle glass on all of the rocks that Oresten's nets encountered in his secret spot.

It is truly amazing that one survived, and that you now have it.

[contributed by Tom aka Sea Hermit]

* * * * *

So.........There's bound to be a major revolt in Sweden from this , but I've taken the necessary precautions and have had the herring pens of Norway rushed into relax! I take the honorary position of Stranne float family history very seriously. And will tell the trueth now.... The Stranne family roots come not from Denmark and certainly not from Sweden, although Sweden was the OBVIOUS choice! In olden times, before even Lutefish was invented, The Stranne family sagga was just starting....and Torvald was the first! followed by his brother Olaf. There was no egg, no chicken.... just Torvald and his brother Olaf. Divine intervention or something! And all this happened on sacred Norway. Now I can tell you some things and somethings I can't. And if your Norwegian or even a little bit Norwegian...........I can't tell you nothin........because we know everything! and for the most part are tight lipped on the Stranne family secret. You see the Strannes were setting out to be THE Glassblowers of none! Hell! Bar none? These boys were fullblown alcoholics and the very worst kind....Norwegian! It seems that they drank so much that when the end of the day came, any floats that did survive were quickly traded away for more grog that very night. Needless to say the Norwegian fishermen were loosing lots of nets and had to do something about it. So they kicked the two out of Norway. The two settled in Sweden and split up. Olaf changed his name, and Torvald, being the cheap Norwegian, used half the glass most glassblowers used, and finally with so many broken floats went broke. The two now can be found in Greenland....making curio floats for the Chineese.

[Contributed by Todd aka Norsknailpounder]


  1. Anonymous6:13 PM

    Superb stories, made me laugh....Thanks !!


  2. Anonymous5:10 PM

    Here is another interesting url from someone who still blow glas in Sweden. And we all know the Björkshult glass float from Sweden.
    Go into this url

    Maybe someone will send an email and ask for Historical information.

  3. Anonymous11:09 AM

    Hi, my name is Fredrik Stranne.
    I saw that you have my grandfathers glass fishing float (Torvald Stranne)!
    I have alot of thoose in different colors and sizes. I will ask my father about the stories you have written about my grandfather, don't think everything is true...
    Take care!