Wednesday, July 15, 2009

New Floats in the Collection 1/1/09 to 7/14/09














I should have known better!

The writing for this blog was started in earnest 8 months ago. It was winter, and the slow-business-time of the year for me. I was able to post to the blog on a regular basis. There was a lull in the spring when the growing and plant sales were feverish, then the writing started again, only to come to a screeching halt over the last few weeks.

My summer sales took off, and due to the economy, I've been doing all of the work myself. It's kept me busy from early in the morning until almost dark. My wife Nancy has been terrific. She's cooked almost all of the dinners (we enjoy sharing the cooking), and helping me when the going got rough.

Lately, my free time has been spent on the phone. There have been a number of absolutely great phone calls from collectors, and many stories of collecting glass floats, great floats and the people involved from the 1960's through the '80's.
There have also been some great historical fishing finds on Ebay, as well as some wonderful floats coming my way.

This post is dedicated to the readers who have emailed to ask me to, "write more!" It's always been frustrating to me to find a glass float blog or website that is exciting to read and to look at great floatos (float photos which may be a new word Nancy and I coined last Sunday at dinner), only to have the writing, etc. stop dead. Trust me kind readers, I don't have any plans to stop writing, or requesting other collectors to contribute to this blog. I promise.

Attached are floatos of some great glass balls that have joined the collection this year. I've really enjoyed looking at the float contributions on Vebjorn's and Roger and Marie's float sites, and I wondered if any of the readers would like to send me pics of floats that have joined their collection so far this year? It would be fun to share our happiness with one another. Just email me your floatos, with whatever description you would like to see on the blog, and I'll post them.

The first float(s) to join the collection this year came from a very kind woman who lives in Northern California. After reading a glass float article written forThe Glass Museum, she contacted me to ask for help with floats that she had found at a local antique shop, in the "badlands," of Redding, California. Of all places!

She had found a nice selection of American-made floats which included Northwestern Glass and Cincotta Bros. floats. We later had a very nice telephone conversation, and she concluded our exchange by offering me a truly wonderful and unique 3-float marker buoy made up of three netted Cincotta Bros. floats. This trio is the first buoy of glass floats marked Cincotta Bros that I've seen.

On another day, I received a wonderful email from a good friend. He had found a great European float-an amber JS-in a box that he didn't remember having. Knowing my passion for all floats Euro, he asked me if I would be interested in purchasing the float. Are you kidding! Not only is the collection graced with a float from one of the greatest float collectors and friends in the world, but it is an absolutely wonderful float. There's nothing like getting a great marked float in an uncommon color of glass. The float is heavy from the thickness of the glass. When looked at with backlighting, there are literally waves and undulations of texture reflecting a golden and orange amber light. Thanks Pal!

As reported in an earlier post, my trading buddy Bruce, traded me a beautiful Red Torvald Stranne, and after Per's Expedition we did another trade that reunited my trio of small highly-colored Contemporary Hokuyo Double F's.

During our first attempt at trading, I told Bruce of my trio of Contemporary Hokuyos. Bruce wanted to trade me for one or all of them, but I could not let them go. They had a meaningful story behind them that included Nancy, but Bruce kept trying. After one trading conversation, he offered to send me a couple of Euros to look at. When they arrived, I first unwrapped an amber marked Euro, that just didn't do it for me. Then I unwrapped the second float, and there in my hands was an incredible Orange Anchor-marked two piece float. That float needs a post of it's own, just to show the readers what a unique and wonderful float it is.

The glass was blown into a 2-piece mold, and I think that more glass than necessary was put into the mold before blowing the ball up. During the process, it appears as if glass was forced out of the mold between the flanges. The seams of the float extend away from the body up to 3/16ths. of an inch, and are flat. It's an amazing effect that I've never seen before. The anchor is also a mark that I've never seen, although it looks somewhat like the anchor on the Korean 3-piece mold float in the collection. Inquiring of other collectors if they had ever seen another float like it, one wrote back to tell me that it had originally been his. He had gotten it from Germany. It's an amazing float!

As I held the float in my hands, then excitedly passed it onto Nancy to look at, trading one of the trio entered my mind. How could I not trade for a float like that one! I had been lucky, and had both a beautiful and larger blue Contemporary Hokuyo as well as the smaller blue member of the trio. I told Nancy that I just could not let that float pass without attempting to trade only one of the trio. She gave me a look that said, "I understand." So, the small blue was boxed up, and sent Priority Mail to Bruce. He called a few days later with the news that he would do the trade. Sure! I had to give up a beauty, but I got a beauty in return-a real beaut!

From my good friend Per came the rare and beautiful Flat Ended Alesund float, a beautiful Portugese? Star with a net that still smells of the ocean and fish, a CME with it's original net and a remarkable Orange Norwegian float who's glass may tell another story.

When you look at the glass there is just no mistaking the fact that it is recycled glass. A story that Per shared with me a few years ago came to mind. During WWII, a German ship anchored in the Bergen harbor, blew up. The explosion shattered all of the town's windows. Per told me that the broken glass was picked up in wheelbarrows, and brought to Flesland Glass where it was recycled into floats. This float's glass is orange, but it is not transparent except in a few small spots. It is opaque and filled with swirls and mixes of glass that give it a burnt orange color. There are even areas of what appears to be blackened or charred glass. When I received it, I wrote Per about the thought that perhaps this float was one of those produced from the town's exploded glass. Per wrote back with the following:

I don't know if that orange float is from the explosion from the vessel Voorboode at Bergen Harbor, but you never know. It's a huge possibility that it is! And if you read below, your guess for broken glass from church's etc. was a perfect guess and tip! Two churches were badly damaged and the rest did get all windows blown out!
More information from the explosion:
Explosion accident occurred in Bergen 20.4.1944 in the morning, when the Dutch steam trawlers Voorbode, loaded with over 100 tonnes of German explosives, went in the air. In violation of the rules for transport of explosives, Voorboode was moored at Festningskaien Bergen inner harbor. The explosion led therefore to the large human and material losses. 102 Norwegians lost their lives. The official German loss figure was 56, but the losses were probably greater. Around 5000 people were wounded. 4500 buildings were inflicted damage, including 248 total damage. Historical buildings Håkonshallen, Tower, St. Mary's Church, Nykirken (newchurch directly translated into US) and Tollboden (old custom/tax government building) was badly damaged, some of them so much that the Germans over-weighted to remove them completely. The total damage amount ran up the 63 million 1940-NOK. Disaster coincided with the celebration of Hitler's 55 year anniversary. German claims of sabotage was made, but rejected by fire experts. The accident was due to self-ignition in the ship's coal bunker.
I hope this was interesting reading Tom


Yes! I did find it interesting, and I think the readers do too. Thanks Per.

After Per's trip, Bruce and I did another trade. I have had the good fortune to be in a position to help my friend out a few times with floats, and once helped him obtain one of the rarest colored floats: a large deep purple-not violet-a deep purple Japanese ball with lots of nice wear on it. The float was beachcombed from an isolated Pacific Island in the 1950's. Bruce wanted to return my favors, and being a good friend as well as a man of principals, offered me not only two beautiful Asian Shark Rollers with different noses, but also wanted to send me back my blue Contemporary Hokuyo since he had obtained another in a trade. I could not pass up the offer or his kindness. The wonderful trio is reunited.

From an Australian seller who during a one-month period, put up some wonderful floats, came the dark green ball with the large Starfish embossing. I had a smaller Starfish marked float, and jumped at the chance to add the larger Starfish mark to the collection.

From a very nice British woman who also is a member of Angela Bowey's Glass Message Board, and the site: The Glass Museum, I won her auction for a beautiful Portugese? Star. Per's Star came as a surprise gift from him. Having no knowledge of Per's gift,and always wanting one of those floats, I could not pass up bidding on the auction. As you can see from the pic, the seal exhibits a "pie crust" tooling around it's edges. It's a great seal, and the float's glass has a wonderful light cloudiness within. When I opened the box, inside was the wonderful rendition of "The Seahermit," in all his glory. Another great gift!

Caicos Bob sent me an email with an attachment showing a trio of raised neck Swedish floats that he had purchased. The first time I saw one of those was on an auction from Swedie last summer. I almost let that auction get past me until I realized that the float had a pontil mark, and was really a "goody." It was the first time that I'd ever seen a float with that shape, and wondered if there were others. Then Bob sent me the pic of a trio of them, also from Sweden.

Having two alike, Bob decided to put one of them on Ebay. I could not pass that one up either, wanting to have a mate for the first one, and won his auction. A couple of months later, Swedie Ebay-auctioned three-all differently colored. Had to go for it. They are reported to have been used for Herring nets. All were hand blown, attached to a pontil, the necks were shaped, then the finished float was snapped off the pontil. The first float purchased a year ago, is much larger and a different color than those purchased this year. Each of this year's floats are differently colored glass too. No two raised necks are exactly alike, same shape but different workmanship, and one of them shows definite signs of use. These floats are a new float design in my experience, and worthy of further research.

From Ken Busse came the "S" marked float which belonged to Charles Abernethy. That float with its wonderful history, was written about in the last blog post.

Prior to the "S" float, an Ebay seller from England auctioned off about 6-8 absolutely wonderful floats in a very short period of time. Among the floats was a beautiful "Three Crossed Fish," and the hard-to-find "Shamrock". This mark has also been called an, "Irish Shamrock," float, and some have attributed the float to an Irish glassworks. I have not researched the float or Irish glassworks yet. This is a beautiful European float with a mark that the engraver should have been proud of. Over the years I've seen four of them on Ebay-definitely uncommon.

And recently, I won two beautiful 2.5 inch Euros. One, an F1, from Flesland Glassverks came from Marie and Roger in Norway, the second, a Dotted F, came from Dick Chitty in Britain. I've been looking for the small F1 in order to complete the series of small F1, F2 and F3. If there are other numbers in the 2.5 inch Flesland floats, I do not know of them. Does anyone out there have a differently-numbered small Flesland? The tiny Dotted F is another Norwegian float, made with dark green glass, and both floats have beautiful cap nets.

I'll end here looking forward to the arrival of another 2008 float. Last Saturday at 3:33 P.M. an Ebay auction ended, and I won it. I happened to find a float that was attributed to Japan but in reality, is a Russian float. The marking is a beautiful large "3 with a dot." I've only seen two Russian floats on Ebay since I started. Can't wait until it gets here!

This float road that I've been travelling since 1976, continues to wind around blind curves. Every bend in the road has brought me to bliss. I wish you all the same.

If you wish to see the floats in close-up, and see a bit of the rim around the Orange Anchor, simply click on the photos.

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