Friday, January 15, 2010

First Float of the New Year

This morning I received the following email from Olaf:

Hi Tom

Your AT has already arrived - today.
It is perfect, I liked it very much.
Wondering where to put it in the collection - together with the LT ??
German or British ? Difficult to say.

Hope you get the small Hovik soon,
and that you are as happy as I am for the trade.

all the best

Quickly took a few moments to write back that I was glad that Olaf received the float, and that he was happy with it. Also, thought that the float might have been German-made, but there was no way to know for certain. The look of the glass, together with the striations reminded me of no glass floats other than German-made. Yet, the color was atypical German glassfloat coloring. It appears colorless until held to a light. The glass then captures a light aqua blue along the edges. It's a beautiful float.

Later this morning, I heard the mail truck go by. Checked the front porch, and there were two boxes. One box held a fine old research book: PARIS UNIVERSAL EXPOSITION 1878 vol 5 REPORTS of the UNITED STATES COMMISSIONERS Washington 1880.

The book was found on an Ebay auction. I had to try for it. The old exposition literature often has excellent glass float history of the makers and sellers. The auction description listed drawings of Norwegian fishing boats. So far, I have not gotten into the book in depth, but plan to do so right away.

The second box was from Olaf. The box was cold. I did not want to take any chances, so let the glass acclimate to the indoor temperatures before opening the box. Finally, as the afternoon sun filtered through the south-facing window of my float room, I opened the box, to find another box. Good Olaf. He double boxed the float. If you want to make certain that a float will not be damaged in transit, request that the float be well-wrapped inside of one box, then inserted into another with padding on all four sides. No problems with receiving a broken float when packed that way.

Before opening either box, I started taking floatos. I love to have a floato record in my files of the opening. Cut open the taping on box #2 to find the float was wrapped in bubble wrap. Began to carefully cut the tape, and even though the float was securely wrapped, hoped that I would not find it in a 100 pieces. As I unwrapped it, the bundle got smaller and smaller, until the wrap was fully opened, and there in the palm of my hand was the smallest Knobbed Egg that I've ever seen. Even the smallest Japanese rollers are much larger that that little beauty.

Must have taken 20 pics. Above are some of them. Hope that you enjoy the comparison of the little one with the other Norwegian float shapes in the collection. During the last two years, thanks to the diligent pursuits of collectors, searchers and sellers, a number of new Euro shapes have come foreward.

I have to take another picture showing the above shapes together with the normal egg float, and the little pontil-marked-applied-neck Swedish floats that David Neff first found two years ago. Are there other shapes to be discovered? The one that Olaf has, which is similar to the plumb bob float in the S.H. Davis patent, is another variation. That is a float that will take a bunch of good fortune to add to the collection. They are super rare. I've included one of Olaf's photos of his example for your pleasure.

Do any of the readers have some favorite floats to share? I would love to show some of your favorites if you will send them to me through my email address.

Later, I wrote Olaf to tell him of the Hovik's arrival, and my happiness. Amazing! Our trade floats were mailed from two different countries, passed eachother during the Atlantic crossing, made it through each country's customs deptartments, turned over to the postal services and were received just about the sametime on the sameday-allowing for the 6-hour time difference. Now that's service!

I've been very fortunate to have shared experiences and collections with so many kind, interesting and passionate float collectors. Fortunate to have so many email friends around the world. And fortunate to have good trading partners, who have expressed their happiness with the trades we've made. Nothing like sharing happiness.

P.S. Had a bit of time to look at the Paris Universal Exposition 1878 book this morning, and found one piece of information that is definitely worth sharing with all of those collectors wanting to know more about the Vallo floats.

In the Norwegian displays there is mention of: an exhibit by Vallo Glass Works of glass floats for fishing nets. The notation is found on page 445.

Now we know that in 1878, Vallo was displaying their floats. Questions come to mind, was Vebjorn's find a display float? Are there other marked Vallo floats still to be found and added to our collections? Did Vallo produce unmarked floats, or floats with markings other than the only known example? What will the future bring in the way of knowledge about the company and their wonderful floats?


  1. Great news Tom and Congrats. Interesting reading and I love the pictures from those outstanding and beautiful glass floats.
    Vallø news are a great find, tell us more about it.


  2. It is written in a couple of sources that Vallø got medals of gold and silver at the world exhibition in Paris 1878. It is great news that they brought their floats to Paris. It would also be great to find out if they got any prize for their floats.
    Nice photos, Tom, and congratulation with a new addition to your collection.

  3. Sorry, these were bronze and silver medals that Vallø got at the exhibition in Paris.

  4. 若對自己誠實,日積月累,就無法對別人不忠了。..................................................