Monday, August 09, 2010

Now, There are 5

On June 10th. 2010, the fourth example of a Ship's Wheel float was won on an Ebay auction. The float was found in France, as was the third example, also sold on Ebay.

As you may remember, in the February '09 post "How Does It Make You Feel?", the first evidence of a float with this rare mark was found by Richard Carlson, while beachcombing a Carribean Island. That float is a sun turned, partial float, with the seal, and one side of the ball intact. The top of the float and the other side of the ball were broken off, and missing. Rich's find was very exciting. For the first time, readers saw the photos, and were treated to a previously unknown Euro float marking.

In June '09, Clint-another Carribean beachcomber, was featured on the blog together with his find of the first whole example of a Ship's Wheel. It too was sunturned.

In September '09, Odev put up for auction on Ebay, the third. Paul is a collector of wonderful art glass.

Keir Lewis-a rare bottle collector, followed that auction in June 2010, with the second Ship's Wheel found in France. Both of those auction floats were sunturned too.

The Odev find was won by Todd, the "Norsknailpounder". The Keir Lewis auction float now resides in the colletion of the "Sea Hermit". During the June auction, email information concerned an effort being made to obtain a 5th. Ship's Wheel arrived. The story was that it was being pursued in England.

Amazing. A previously unknown European float suddenly appears, and in the space of 16 months, four more are found. When I saw the first one, thoughts of it being in the same category of rare floats as the Whale and the Lighthouse floats, came to mind. I believe that it is still a rare float, and wonder if and when another will be found?

As you look at the photos above, the 5th. example is definitely interesting. In the photos I've received of it, the float appears to be colorless. If there is sunturning in the color, it is very faint. Without proof, my feeling is that this marking was done by a French glassworks.

In the collections of those who comb the beaches of the Carribean, are many floats made in Portugal, Spain and France. There are also a few that I know of, from Great Britain, Czechoslovakia, Italy, Germany, one American-made Duraglas and some Benthos Deep Sea Research Balls. I do not know of floats from Norway having been found from the islands in those waters.

If there are glassballs from other countries found there, kindly leave a comment below. Tracking finds, is a very useful tool of glassfloat research.

One thing that I am convinced of...the floats that are commonly found in the Carribean were lost by Portugese fishermen. There are also "Great Ones," or Japanese Tuna longline floats found there as well. Those "Great Ones," may have been used by Russian fishermen working those waters, and there is a story of a Japanese fishing company having worked from a South American port.

I have not been able to verify either the Russian or Japanese connection. Both stories have come to me via "word of mouth". The Portugese link also comes from word of mouth, but the teller of that history is a very trusted individual who knows his local history, having grown up in the Carribean, and who said that he witnessed the Portugese fishermen there when he was a boy.

By the end of this week, my friends from last October's Carribean beachcombing adventure, will be back in the brush hunting floats. Will they find another Ship's Wheel? I'm hoping they do, and I'm also hoping they find the first Lighthouse or Whale down there. I am guessing that those floats were either Portugese, Spanish or French-made, and have thought that it was the Portugese fishermen who used them. Only time will tell. The excitement to see the first ones, and other rarities from those islands is always with me.

The Floatos starting at the top of the post:

1. Todd's photo of the Marked seal of the 5th.;
2. Author's photo of the Ship's Wheel mark on the 4th.;
3. Todd's photo of the Mark of the 3rd. Ship's Wheel;
4. Bob's photo of the 2nd. Ship's Wheel with dried debris;
5. Richard's photo of the 1st. Ship's Wheel and
6. Todd's photo of the Ship's Wheel Comparison showing the English-found float on
the right.


  1. Hi Tom,

    I would like one of these, a lighthouse & a whale!!! These are great!! I haven't added any Euro's to my collection for a while. SOMEONE always outbids me!!! :)

    BTW...I have a Glass Fishing Float Collectors page on Facebook. I will post a link to your blog. I have 130 + members. Maybe someone will come out of the woodwork with some info??

    Kamichia :)

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  3. Anonymous5:17 AM

    Great post Tom!

    Per E.

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