Sunday, May 30, 2010

Bi-Polar Floats From The Norsknailpounder

Over the course of the last couple of years, a discussion took place between Todd, the "Norsknailpounder," and myself, that eventually included Olaf, the "float collector extraordinaire," Roger Brun owner of the website, ", and Per Einar, the "great Fish Eagle photographer."

The discussion started with an email from Todd describing a strange float he had purchased from Norway, which had two seal buttons, together with photographs. The speculation began:

Hi Todd,
Don't know what exactly to say about that float. It's odd because it appears to have a definite seal button at the top, and a seal on the bottom. I wish that I could have it in my hand to tell you what I see. The indentation around the bottom does look like a pontil mark, but I cannot be certain. Normally, a float was constructed on a pontil because it had special features added to it, such as a pulled neck or applied shaped neck and seal. I am not seeing that on this float. Maybe one day I will see it in person.

Thanks for thinking of me,


Todd sent me the float to look at. I took photos of it, looked closely at it, and thought that perhaps it was a float made by an apprentice. Maybe the apprentice was being taught different blowing techniques, and had not only put two seal buttons on the float, but had also mounted it on a pontil rod. The discussion ended there until I received the following email last winter:

Hi Tom!

Say, I was wondering about the two pontiled float I have. I've sent you pictures of it before, and as I recall, you thought that maybe they were made by an apprentice blower, who was learning the craft. The reason for two seals might have been to have better control of the float for other tooling such applied necks, etc.

I'm wondering if maybe you could ask Olaf about this, and see if maybe he has the same double pontiled style of float? I'm curious about the numbers of these floats. Maybe during the course of his extensive collecting in Norway, he has come across a few of these?

Best regards,

I wrote Olaf with Todd's question, included Todd's latest photos of the float, and received his reply, which was then sent to Todd:

Hello Tom,

I don't think the photo shows a Norwegian glass float.
The color is almost right aqua/blue but not 100% accurate.
And the seal looks too nice. Japanese ??
I would have liked to see both seals.
But it is an intersting glass float, and if Norwegian, it would be a unique one.


Todd replied:

Hey Tom!

So that was completely my thoughts when Per offered me this float-it's Japanese! The color and the two seals! But I bought it anyway, and thought it may be a small Pear float. It had the pearish shape.

The color of this float is very much like Flesland glass. There are two more double-sealed floats in two small marker bouys I purchased from Roger and Marie. Their color is one blue and one green, which also look like the Flesland glass colors. I also think that the Aalesund floats you Kurt and I have are similar in color to Flesland colors.

I'll try and send a picture of the other two in the marker bouys, and a shot of each two seals. I'm awaiting Roger and Marie's response. I've asked them if they can remember where they found the marker bouys. And I'm going to ask Per if he remembers where he found the 5'' pear-shaped float.


Todd received a reply, and forwarded the information to me:

Hi Tom,

I've just finished the email from Roger, he says the buoys were from north of Trondelag, in a place called Ottersoy. He also told me that another collector was there before him, possibly Per.

Per also wrote, and told me that in fact he was there, and most likely, all three floats were from there. So there we are. I wonder which glassworks they come from?
I can't help the feeling that someone else has one of these and doesn't know it.
Per also said that the guy selling the floats had a pile of marker bouys.

I know that two of these came in seperate marker buoys. One was found most likely at the same boathouse that Per visited and from the same seller. Per sold a few more of these marker bouys to other collectors.

I had to really look hard to see the second seal. After seeing there was no maker's mark on the first buoy floats, I didn't give it a real good look.

I believe that Roger never saw these extra seals on the floats in either marker buoy.
One of the floats in the buoys had water in it. This was never described either. It is hard to see through the netting.

Hopefully there are a couple of collectors who have a marker bouy from this seller and that there are more of these double-sealed floats. Per did say that he saw two of these double-sealed floats, the same color, but can not remember many details.

Do you know any buyer who might have this float in their collection ? I'll also ask Per if he remembers who he sold them to.

This is fun,

Take care...Todd.

I next received the following email from Todd, which included photos of the two floats from the marker buoys:

Hi Tom,

My curiosity peaked, and I couldn't help myself, so opened the netting on the buoys.
I can always put them back. Very interesting and unique.

Talk to you soon,

Three of them. The photos show unique floats, that I did not believe were Japanese. The colors and the style looked Norwegian to me. Wrote Todd with another thought:

Hey Todd,

A thought just occurred to me-is there evidence of holes left from two blowpipes, or was the second seal just applied for effect? It's hard to imagine why two blowers would blow up a single float, but it is a consideration if there are two blowpipe holes. That green one sure is pretty, but in reality they are all beautiful.


Todd's reply:

Hi Tom

On all floats there is but one blowpipe hole. The other seal was maybe for handling? Per is looking for others in the bouys he has.


I am convinced that Todd's three double-sealed floats are Norwegian-made, and are quite unique. Olaf, Per Einar and Roger are also convinced that they are Norwegian, and are now searching for more of them.

Only one of Todd's "double-enders," has a pontil mark. The float was broken off the blowpipe, sealed, then applied to a pontil rod. Very different technique. Why was that done, other than another method to apply the second seal?

Here, thanks to Todd, are a trio of strange and beautiful Norwegian floats!


  1. Anonymous4:37 AM

    Hi Tom
    Thanks for the great post !
    I hope maybe someone reading this might find another two pontiled float in their collection.

    Congrats on the Ships Wheel !!! Todd.

  2. Anonymous12:31 PM

    Great post Tom and hello to everyone!

    I will look into and maybe open a couple of my marker buoys hanging at my firewood house...My doughter also have one from the same seller for decoration and I will take a closer look at it.

    Some rumours about a ships weel float...congrats Tom!


  3. Thanks for writing, I very much liked your newest post. I think you should post more frequently. you evidently have natural ability for blogging!