Sunday, January 08, 2012

Collectors' Favorites 2011 From Richard Carlson

Another good friend and glass float collector, is Richard Carlson. "Hammerclaw" Rich, his best friend "Buff", together with "Grape Jumpin" Jim, were my companions when we were on a Caribbean island beachcombing during 8 fun-filled days in my life. Rich is a very good photographer, and if you are interested in seeing more of his float photos, go to Roger & Maria Brun's website:, and look at the floats listed by markings and varieties.

Rich has been sharing his float finds over the years via emails. It's always a pleasure finding one of his emails waiting for me to open.

Hi Tom,
I'm glad you are doing a top 5 again this year. Bruce told me I better get ready, but I didn't want to send anything in when he did, I worried I might jinx myself before the year ended. They're in no particular order but I will start with this one:

not a rare float, in fact it's a rather common float, a green SB 10cm. For many years I have been fortunate to be invited by my very close friend to actually beach comb floats in the Caribbean islands. Hot, sometimes buggy, bodily abusive, beautiful, stupid amazing fun is the only way I can describe it.

Anyway, on this one particular shore there was a mangrove bush, and in this mangrove bush there was a glint of glass showing in the sun. Now branches on tropical bushes don't bend, they poke you and hang you up with their sharp stiffness. You can't just push a branch to one side and wade in for your treasure. Rather you crawl, wiggle and worm toward your goal. On top of that, 99% of the time your goal turns out to be a beer bottle or a light bulb. Not so this time, the glint of glass was a float. Bob took the picture as we both cracked up at the sheer craziness of this hobby. A great float and a great memory.

When I was first introduced to Bruce Gidoll, he was trying to work a trade for a "yellow" float that I had beach combed with Bob. He really liked the float but "it's not yellow" he said. "You come to visit me and I'll show you yellow. Your float is light amber, or gold, or something but not yellow" No one knows color like Bruce, but I still thought I had a yellow float. When I finally did visit Bruce I saw that he was right - of course, and I did not in fact have a yellow float. E bay solved that for me this year with this yellow Hokuyo FF I found listed as a Blenko glassball.

When I first saw this Stokksund Egg it reminded me of a Japanese Torpedo. I had just purchased a house, and when I was offered this float I "cheaped out". I looked at the pictures posted on this blog, and said to myself "nah, too much like a Japanese torpedo, I don't want to travel that road". Four times I was offered one of these eggs, and four times I declined. What was I thinking? Fortunately someone much smarter than I am took a different attitude. You need this in your collection he decided. He was right, it is a unique beauty, always to remain near the front of my showcase where I can see it well.

Being newer to collecting than several readers, I've spent a lot of time referring to Stu's and Alan's book "Glass Fishing Floats of the World", learning the various marks. In the back of the 2nd. edition, is the "West Coast Collection" which I wrote off as "never will I find one of those". I pictured years of dedication to Oregon antique stores and bars would be required to find just one. Fortunately this fall I came in contact with a great guy in Virginia who was selling some of his collection. In the ones he was selling was this Hank. Now, if I go to Oregon I can visit the bars for recreation.

Tom said the more the merrier so I've included a couple more. I finally was able to get a descent picture of my NEVERSINK GB5 which I purchased this year from Ken. Man clear floats are tough. I was told they may be US made, but I don't know. Has anyone ever found one in Europe? Is it Great Britain 5 or Glass Ball 5? Don't know. It's quite heavy, but maybe not that rare, I just love the name. Put it out there! NEVERSINK, never, never, never, never! Sounds like Churchill in his never surrender speech. Think if we could all buy cars named NEVERBREAK or fly on an airline NEVERLATE, wow would that be cool. I bet these floats came with a lifetime warranty.

Rich, GB may stand for Gunderson/Babbit. Gunderson Glassworks was reorganized in 1939 in New Bedford, Mass. Issac Babbit was Gunderson's partner. Babbit was a metal worker, and may have designed their molds. I've been trying to find out if that company produced the Neversink GB5 and GB8, as well as the Pat. Pending Colorless Teardrop. They were producing glass just before, and during WWII, becoming Gunderson-Pierpoint Glassworks after the war ended. The company produced a line of utilitarian products during the early years. The timing of production, and the place are right, but I haven't found the proof of the company making floats...yet.

Iridescent green, this float has to make my list for the year. I love the color, the shape, and the little bit of remaining treated rope that shows this float caught some salmon in its day. Swedish

For my last floats I would choose this pair of LT5s. Both lost at sea, drifting all the way from Europe (maybe France) to end up on a Caribbean shore. The float on the left is my final beach find of 2011 shown just as it was when I found it. Where is the top of the net? It must have sat on the shore in the sun so long that the ropes finally gave up and evaporated! Found 6' from the water's edge. How many people had passed it by over the decades? The float on the right is a trade from Bob, which was given to him by a mutual friend - one of my favorite people on the island. This float will always bring good memories. Worth little, beat to crap, bruised, maybe even no longer able to float, they're both full of history and stories and they complete my favorites of 2012. I was a lucky man in 2011 and if I am only half as lucky in 2012 I am still a very lucky man.

Thanks for sharing your great finds with the readers Rich.

It's been amazing seeing the growth of Rich's collection over the last two years. When we first got together via Ebay auctions, Rich's collection was mostly made up of Caribbean beachcombed finds. Not a bad thing at all. A lot of pleasure came my way via Buff and Rich's beachcombing stories. Now, his collection is comprised of rare colors, very hard to find and rare maker's markings, as well as beautiful float shapes such as the Stokksund Egg and Dog Necks.

I've been fortunate to watch the "blow up" of his collection, and have marveled at the incredible beauty of his woodworking craftsmanship. Rich builds the most beautiful and imaginative display cases I've ever seen. It's a pleasure knowing him. Thank goodness for glass balls!

P.S. If you click on the photos, they will enlarge. Seeing the enlarged photos of Rich in the Mangroves reaching into the brush for his float, enhances Rich's "Caribbean beachcombing" description very well.

1 comment:

  1. Wow.... you are right...amazing craftsmanship on the case...reminds me of sails....perfect for showing treasures of the sea....
    thanks for a wonderful display of beauties...