Monday, July 27, 2009

A Shared Story

I frequently check my emails, and a couple of Ebay float sites everyday. This winter, while checking to see if any new emails had arrived, found this one from Todd, the Norsknailpounder:

Hi Tom !
I love going to antique shops. You never know what you will find, and this time was no exception.
I had not been to this particular shop for a couple months, because nothing new had been there the last few times I’d gone to it.
This time, I saw an isle that had been restocked with the seller’s new items from an estate sale.
Instantly, I was head deep in an old wood manufactured ice box in great shape, and as I pulled my head out of it, I was face to face with a NWGC dark brown donut float for sale... for ten bucks.
The owner wasn't there. I'll get the story on it later.

I'll send some pictures as soon as I can hold the camera still enough !

:) :) :) Todd :) :) :)

I couldn’t believe it!

Quickly, answered Todd back, congratulating him, and wrote about how ironic it was that three doughnut hole floats had been found in the Seattle, Wa. area during the last year. Two were found at a garage sale (a clear and an amber) which sold for a bunch of bucks on Ebay auctions. Now, Todd had found one in an antique store, that was also in the Seattle area.

My thoughts were that it was possible that others might be found in the coming years as workers from the glass factory passed on, and their floats were sold by family members. I have read a number of times that only a dozen or so were ever made, and wonder if that is true? Could it be possible that more than that were produced? Some that have been found, seem to have actually been used by fishermen. Maybe two dozen or fifty or a hundred were made? Sure do wish that someone would come forward with the records of glass float production by Northwestern Glass Co.!

I remember telling my wife about Todd’s find, and how incredulous I was. Later, trying to accomplish something in the kitchen, with a mind full of doughnut hole floats, Todd’s amazing luck, and trying to not feel jealous-but happy for Todd, I realized that all of us collectors have some wonderful stories to tell about floats that we have found in one way or another.

As time passes: one comes upon a Hokuyo fisherman’s pile of floats, and there is a cache of, or one incredible rolling pin; a beachcomber on one of the world’s Pacific Ocean beaches, finds a deep purple, or some other great prize; someone on a Gulf of Mexico or Carribean beach finds a beautiful Portugese float; while ‘combing through Ebay auctions, you find one that no one else realizes is there, or win a terrific auction while the competition is away on vacation or asleep; maybe you attend an auction, or get a surprise email, or find something great at a garage, estate or antique sale...we all have our stories. Pass them on!

An hour passed, and I went back to the computer to check my emails for a return from Todd. Sure enough, Todd had quickly written back. We were in sync! And he had sent a photo of his float. No problem with an out-of-focus photo either. Todd’s hands had stopped shaking.

Hi Tom,
The picture really doesn't show it, but the glass is a bit wavy and the float shows very little wear. A small 1/16" rainbowed flake-still attached at the top
of the seal, and a few scratches on the side, are the only marks. On the bottom, very faintly marked in three rows are:

PAT no

I think :)

Also there is a small amount of wood and paint on the bottom, Wet paint on a window sill no doubt. Sounds like something I would do in a hurry, to get things done!
I can't believe the luck!
Take care,

While Per Einar was on his expedition, Todd and I corresponded on numerous occasions. I am always looking for, and thinking about interesting topics concerning glass floats, and thought to ask Todd if he would give me the story of his surprising, and unbelievable find. Todd wasted little time getting back to me with the whole story of that great day.

Hi Tom,
You asked me to tell my tale of my find at the Old Central Antique Mall in Port Orchard. Here is my memory of it :)

It had been almost a month since my last visit to the antique stores of Port Orchard, and things there seemed not to change much.
This was probably because I spent a little more time there than I should have. I love to go to antique stores, and easily, find any reason to venture out.
On a Saturday morning, after checking my Email and going through my searches for new floats on Ebay, I told my wife (asked her nicely) that I was going for a ride to some of my favorite places.
She concurred and away I went, thinking that maybe I might find a beer bottle float mixed in with the old beer bottles on shelves. Maybe a cool looking Herring net I could use for a display. Maybe a cool netted Duraglass or hmmmmmm.

As I opened the antique shop’s door, the bell rang out, and the familiar scent of days gone by and maybe something gone bad, greeted my nose. What is that smell anyway ? Does anyone really know?
I was soon in my old groove and thinking .... I've seen all this stuff before. Rats! This is a little disappointing. I should have gone to Poulsbo, at least they have a great bakery there.
I turned the corner, looked down the hall and suddenly my eyes opened widely ! No way! The thought entered my mind that I have never seen one of these before. Ahead of me, on the ground, was a very old and very uniquely-manufactured ice cooler, with its very cool and very old tin liner that was in unusually great condition. I think it was made of teak wood, however, I might have been wrong. Anyway, the whole thing was so cool, and I thought, "beer must taste the best when grabbing for one from its icy depths "
By now I'm armpit deep in this ol’wooden box, and having a great time looking closely at its details and great workmanship.
I began getting a bit of an uneasy feeling, and knew that I must pull myself out or I'd risk getting sick. I don't do well upside down, or on my back, looking up. Most of the time anyway!
With a big deep breath and a sigh of relief, I focused on what was in front of me, and regained my composure. But only for a second and a short second at that! This can't be true, a NW Doughnut float !!
I began thinking that the two people coming my way, would reach past me, and grab the treasure I’d suddenly discovered.
Things seem to get REAL SLOW here, and I remember thinking "I have to pick this up without breaking it, make my way to the counter, pay for it and for cripes sakes get the receipt. Dummy!
Now, two or three things are entering my mind, and one of them is that this is not happening and it's not for sale. It's really for sale but for thousands, not $9.99 .
I look at it again before setting it down, and .....yes, this is happening and ...yes, it's for sale and ... yes for $9.99.
Now, I've just given the cashier my Visa, and thought: "just my luck, the lady will say,declined or something ".
And just like that...on cue...she says, "that's not right".
#*%!! I knew this was too good to be true.
"Its marked down" she says, "15% to $9.19 . My heart’s thumping now, and I hold the float as she asks "do you want it wrapped?" “No thanks.” I replied, and holding the receipt I ask, "is the seller here?"
"No" she says, "he'll be back in a couple of weeks" . We talk a little bit, and she tells me that this float was on the shelf for a week, and that she thought that the seller probably doesn't have more and "what is it anyway?" she asks .
I told her that it was called a doughnut hole float, and that it was manufactured in Seattle during the 1940's by Northwestern Glass Co.

I drove home very carefully and opened up, BEACHCOMBING FOR JAPANESE GLASS FLOATS by Amos L. Wood, to look for my float. Two days later, I came out of my cloud.

I"ll always remember the first time I caught a sea run Cutthroat Trout, meeting my wife, our firstborn kid and finding my NW Doughnut float.
Todd :)

All collectors have experienced, and I would imagine that all ardent collectors feel, a daily excitement permeating their lives. Each day for me is wonderful because of excitement. I live with the reality of my strong passions. Continually, my spirit swims in the happiness and good fortune found one spring day on the Neah Bay Indian Reservation, when I was first introduced to glass fishing floats. I wish all of you excitement.