Thursday, March 10, 2011

Woo...Hoo!! A New Post About Floats!

Colors.....Seal Buttons & Floats it's been a while since I've done a post, but I am going to make a real effort to be a better blogger!! I have lots of great information stuck in my mind about the wonderful world of glass fishing floats that I want to share with everyone who is willing to listen! :) is a little lesson about glass fishing floats that are different colors & those that have different colored seal buttons!!

The example below is a float just a little larger than a golfball. It has what is known as the "cranberry dot" on the seal button. This particular float also has the "temple" mark embossed on the seal button. This is a beautiful example of what happens when a random color of recycled glass is used to make glass fishing floats!

The photo below shows examples of floats with cobalt blue seal buttons. They come in a variety of sizes. I happen to have a few in my personal collection, including one of the 12" diameter floats, which is about the size of a basketball!! I happen to have a small float with a cobalt seal button for sale in my Etsy shop at the moment.

Photo - Deborah Hillman

This is an example of a large 14" diameter float with an amber colored seal button. These tend to be quite difficult to come by. I don't have one just yet!

Photo - Deborah Hillman

Basically, glass fishing floats are hand blown from recycled glass. There are a few exceptions that are made in molds. The manufacturers wanted to use the cheapest materials possible. Typically they used water jugs, sake bottles, milk bottles, window panes, whiskey bottles & anything else that would work. When the assorted glass was mixed in the furnaces, the common blue/green color was the result.

Of course, occasionally, a truckload of beer bottles would be brought in. After the glass was melted in the furnace, the floats being blown would end up being brown!!

Here is an example of a beer bottle brown roller from my collection. Rollers were made in molds but were also made from recycled glass. I have one similar to this for sale in my shop. They are highly collectible.

Many glass factories produced other glass items such as vases, bottles, etc. If they had excess glass, this was often used to make glass fishing floats. It is believed that this is how the more beautiful colored floats were created. This is also the source of floats that had a different colored seal button from the rest of the float. The theory is that the extra glass used from other product lines was possibly used for sealing buttons. Some of the larger glass companies may have had many furnaces being used at one time with different colors of recycled glass. This explains the variations in the colors of the floats & seal buttons.

Here is a float that I personally beachcombed on the Bering Sea coast of Alaska. It is a 3-piece mold float thought to have originated in Korea. It has an amber seal button.

These are floats from my collection. You can see the assorted cranberry seal buttons, along with the shades of the cranberry floats.

These 2 glass fishing floats are from my collection. The float on the left was found on a beach in Alaska. It is about 14" in diameter & is a nice honey amber color. The float on the right is purple & is about 12" in diameter.

This is one of the rare examples of an authentic blue glass fishing float. Most of them are reproductions that were manufactured for the souvenir/gift trade. This float was beachcombed along the Oregon coast many years ago, along with 4 others like it. It was a rare occurrence. This is considered a Blodgett blue & was named after the woman that beachcombed them.

I rarely come across an actual working float that is such a vibrant yellow. I was lucky enough to get 2 recently. I added one to my collection & the float below is currently listed in my shop. Not only is it a beautiful shade of yellow, it has a kanji mark & the original natural fiber net is on it!!

So....that is just a small sample of the wonderful world of color when it comes to glass fishing floats. I hope this gives you a little insight & you can see why some of us are so drawn to their beauty & uniqueness!