Saturday, January 08, 2011

2010 Collector's Favorites

In the last blog post, Bruce Gidoll asked if other collectors might submit 5-6 of their favorite floats collected during the year. I emailed all of the collectors on my email list, a request for submissions. These are the first three to arrive.

From Kelly James:

Hi there,

As I mentioned in my comment on your blog, I've only been collecting glass floats for a short time. I first discovered them on the blog: Completely Coastal, and from there I found Kamichia at Glass Float Junkie.

I've purchased floats from Kamichia, an Etsy seller called "Lightinawormhole", and a few from EBay. I got a great deal on EBay a couple of months ago - 3 floats for 0.99! Unfortunately, one of them broke in transit, but the seller sent me a replacement for it (my only Korean float).

And that's my little float collection,

From Frank Wheaton:

Hi Tom....

I'm not set up to send photos, but here's a photo of floats from around the Bahamas on my lawn in Exuma. I'm partial to large floats (Great Ones) as you know. My favorite day in the past few years occurred when two fellas showed up at my boat in Cat Island with two pickup trucks full of large floats. I spent the day cleaning them.

Frank, his partner Liz have also been hiking in the dunes on some hard-to-reach Bahama islands. Last summer, Frank sent some photos of floats beachcombed there.

Last October, Nancy and I were invited to join Gay and Barry Taylor together with Frank and Liz for Sunday brunch at Frank's wonderful home. Before the other guests arrived, Frank took the time to show me many of the floats he's found in the Bahamas.

He had asked me to bring some American glassfloats with me for discussion. The six of us had a great time discussing Eastern glassblowing companies. The discussion was greatly enhanced by the combined perspective of Gay and Frank's knowledge. Frank's personal experience working in his family's glassworks gave me a rare insight too. He is the past president of Wheaton Glassworks, and Gaye is the past president of the American Glass Museum. I've never enjoyed a brunch more than that one. Great company and excellent discussions throughout the morning and early afternoon.

Richard Carlson and I shared a couple of fun hours trading emails. Richard wanted to share his 5 favorites. He would send me one short story, and a photo or two of each favorite. I would copy his photos to my files, then cut and paste his narrative to the blog. After finishing, and returning to my emails, another batch would arrive from Richard. It went on like that until early in the afternoon. Thanks for the fun Rich!

From Richard Carlson:

For my first float I would choose a mirrored S and V.

For many years my good friend Bob has invited me to join him and some other friends for 10 days of working and playing at his home in the Caribbean. Over the years, Bob started my glass float passion' and together we have learned to hunt glass floats in some spectacularly remote places.

This year the target was a small cay about 1/4 mile long he called the Hot Dog. The plan was for Bob, Jim, Kenny, and myself to use two inflatable boats to paddle about a mile and a half to the Hot Dog Cay. For those of you who have powered a small inflatable boat with a plastic paddle-you know the meaning of frustration. It was July and the temperature was in the 90's. The humidity was about the same. As we pulled in to the cay we all had good healthy heart rates. No sooner had we switched to dry shoes than Jim found a float. Rocks, sticks, junk, sticks, cactus, spiders, vines, mangroves, BALL. There's a lot more to this story, but this is one of my favorite floats of the year. Anyone know where it is from or recognize the mark? Looks French to me, but I would appreciate anyone with true knowledge.

For my second favorite of the year, I would choose this large Norwegian egg.

The writer of this blog has been quite kind in introducing me to long time collectors with long time experience to match. Early last year, he introduced me to a very good man in Norway with a tremendous collection. To my amazement, I possessed a few floats that he did not, and we were able to make some trades. It was very hard to pick a favorite from the many floats he sent my way. He improved my collection greatly in 2010, and I thank him.

This float may be an anathema to you glass purists out there, but it's one of my favorites. It's a Neversink GB8 used as a lobster float in New England. I know the glass is perfect underneath-protected by the paint for decades. I know with some paint stripper and a power washer it would be brand new, but I just can't do it.

So dark a brown that it takes full sun to see through this float.

This is the first dark brown Wilhelmshutte float that the author had seen. Many years ago, I was fortunate to have acquired an 8" dia. "W In The House," which is a golden brown with streaks of dark brown in the glass. Later this fall, I was offered an identical float to Richard's dark brown Wilhelmshutte. It too came directly from Germany. Normally, this float is found in green glass, but Richard has also had the great luck to have collected a beautiful aqua marine example to go along with his dark brown beauty. Rich's photo of the aqua marine example can be seen on the website: On the right hand side of the page is a column of float markings. Click on Wilhelmshutte, and you will find many fine floatos there.

My last favorite float acquired in 2010, is this "traveling brown."

No pedigree here, but I found it on the beach-buried in pine needles with only a disk the size of a half dollar showing. Perhaps having landed there after a ride across the ocean from a torn net in Portugal? It was found the first year Bob and I got far enough away from civilization to find floats.

Tom introduced me to Bruce Gidoll last year, and over the course of several months-a friendship formed. So did a massive trade involving many floats, a display case, and a drive to Vermont. In the midst of all this excitement I traded my float away.

A strange thing happened. I really missed that float. It so happened, that in the same excitement, Bruce traded me one of his favorites-a beautifully swirled 5" Japanese float. It was so heavy that I put it in the sink to see if in fact it did float.

Late in 2010, Bruce and I intimated that we both missed our traded floats, so traded back. Reacquired in 2010-it's done traveling for a while.

P.S. If you wish to see the float photos in greater detail, put your cursor on the photo you wish to see, left click and the photo will enlarge.


  1. Thanks for including my little float collection in your round-up :-) One of these days, I hope to actually find a float myself washed up on a beach somewhere, so I'll have a cool story to go along with the float.

    Enjoyed reading Frank & Richard's float stories - I guess Richard was meant to have that traveling brown float :-)

  2. Anonymous1:45 PM

    Another interesting blog-post, pictures and floats. My favorite is the old Norwegian egg float, very hard to find and heavy weight glass float approx year 1800 I guess.


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