Monday, November 24, 2014

Authentic, American-Made Glass Fishing Floats

Many people aren't aware that glass fishing floats were produced in the United States back in the 1930's & 1940's.  This post will provide you with a little information about the manufacturers of these floats.

In the early 1930's, the "Made in Germany" floats were being used off the West Coast of the United States by American fishermen.  The Northwestern Glass Company of Seattle, WA, which was established in 1932,  saw a demand for these floats & began duplicating them in 1933.  They made them by hand, rather than with machinery.  After a short period of time, they discontinued this due to the small volume needed.  Below is an example of this type of float.  It is from my personal collection & one that I beachcombed on the Aleutians of Alaska several years ago.

In 1942, there was a rapid development of the shark fishing industry due to the demand for shark livers as a vitamin source.  {yum!}  The gillnets being used were submerged to considerable depths.  There was a need for a large quantity of floats that could be submerged & withstand high pressure.  The Northwestern Glass Company decided to try sealed beer bottles, but there was a lack of buoyancy & the seals weren't suitable.

Example of a sealed beer bottle from Northwestern Glass Co.

They developed an automatic manufacturing & sealing system for floats, which increased production.  These floats were made in 3 1/2", 4 1/2", 5" and 6" diameters.  They were made is shades of amber & flint colored glass.  Over 2 million of these floats were manufactured by NWG.  The are identified by their appearance, along with a NW on the bottom of the float.  Below are some examples from my personal collection, along with photos from the NWG plant taken from the book "Beachcombing for Japanese Glass Floats" by Amos Wood.

Northwestern Glass Co. 4 1/2" float with 1937 stenciled on it.

Bottom of the float above.  Notice the NW stamped in the center.

A 3 1/2" NWG float that I beachcombed in Alaska.
The bottom of the float above.  Notice how it resembles the bottom of a beer bottle.
5" Amber colored NWG float from my collection.  This float has darker swirls through the glass.

The bottom of the float above.

5" beer bottle brown NWG float.

The bottom of the float above.

Sometimes the seals of the NWG floats with have this mark, but it is very rare & only a few are known to exist.  Photo by Tom Rizzo.

During World War II, the Owens Illinois Glass Company of Oakland, CA began using bottle machines to manufacture 5" glass fishing floats.  At the time, supplies were cut off to Japan, Russia & Czechoslovakia because of hostilities.  Cork floats could not withstand the water pressure they were being subjected to & it was difficult to obtain Spanish/Portuguese cork then.  The Owens-Illinois floats are identified by the "Duraglas" near the bottom of the float, along with an "I" inside an "O" with a diamond that is stamped on the very bottom of the float.  The float bottoms also resemble the bottom of a beer bottle.  Below are examples from my collection.

5" Duraglas float from Owens-Illinois Glass Co.

In this same time period, the Crystallite Products Corporation of Glendale, CA were also making glass floats.  Below is an example of this type of float.

Crystallite Float.  Photo from Tom Rizzo.

Pittsburgh Corning developed a 6" float, which consists of 2 fused halves.  This was done by a machine & was 3 times more expensive than the more common American-made floats.  There were only a few hundred of these produced.  They were used for the soupfin shark fishery of World War II.  Below is an example from my collection.

Pittsburg-Corning float.

Northwestern Glass went on to produce another glass fishing float, which is very sought after & hard to find.  In 1949, they created the doughnut float.  It was experimental & machine made.  There were less than a dozen made.  The demand for floats began deteriorating, so the doughnut float never went in to production.  I know a few collectors with this particular float, but they command quite a bit of money.  Below is an example from Amos Woods' book.

Another American made float bears "Cincotta Bros" embossed on the top of the float.  The Cincotta Brothers floats were from Cincotta Brothers Hardware & Supplies in San Francisco.  These floats were machine-made, which leads me to the thought that they were made for Cincotta Brothers by Owens/Illinois Glass Co. of Oakland, Ca., which as you know, is right across the bridge from San Francisco.  These floats are not rare, but don't come around too often either.  They have eluded me for years!

Cincotta Bros float from the collection of D. Markley.

There were other American-made floats, but the information I was able to obtain about them is limited.  I am including photographs of these below.

American grooved roller from my collection.

These floats were machine made in the United States for Krabotrest, which was a crab fishing company in Vladivostok, USSR (at the time).  It is estimated that 690,000 of these floats were made by the Northwestern Glass Company in 1943.  They were lend-lease to the Russian company.  They were all delivered to a Russian ship docked in Seattle.  They are all 3 1/2" in diameter & are typically clear glass.  The examples below are from my collection.  The float on the left is a bit of an amber color & has the original net on it.  The float on the right is the more common example.

Krabotrest American-Made Floats.

There are a few additional American-made glass fishing floats.  I will add images & information once I have it.

Reference:  Beachcombing for Japanese Glass Floats by Amos Wood, 4th edition, 1985.

Thank you to Tom Rizzo for the photographs & additional information.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

2,500 Sales Giveaway!!

I am having a giveaway on my Facebook page in honor of 2,500 Etsy shop sales!!  Go here to enter!!

Thursday, September 18, 2014


My birthday is Sunday, so in honor of it I decided to have a sale!!!  Check out the info below & use the coupon code at checkout to get 10% off your order!!!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

3,500 Facebook "Likes" & a New Giveaway Soon!

Wow!  Glass Float Junkie now has 3,500 Facebook "likes" & almost 2,500 sales on Etsy!  48 sales to get to 2,500 & a new giveaway!  There are over 50 listings in the shop now, so there are lots of beautiful, authentic glass fishing floats to choose from!

Enjoy the rest of your week and..............

Monday, August 25, 2014


I am approaching 3,500 "likes" on my Facebook page & 2,500 sales in my Etsy shop!!  I just want to let all my customers know how much I appreciate their business!!

Thursday, July 31, 2014


FLASH SALE in my Etsy shop through August 1st!  Lots of gems to choose from!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Just a photo with a quote

This past weekend, we took a trip up to Anacortes, WA for Shipwreck Day.  We checked out several towns & areas.  The photo below is from Rosario Beach near Deception Pass State Park.  It's a beautiful area, so I took a few photos!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

38 Sales Away from Another Giveaway!

It won't be long & I will be having another float giveaway once I reach 2,400 sales in my Etsy shop!!  In the meantime, here is a photo I took at the Oregon Coast a couple of years ago.  Waves fascinate me......their power, beauty & the peace they can bring to your soul.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Heading to the Beach!

I am heading to the coast this weekend to take some float photos & catch up on some beach time.  I miss living at the beach, but life is good where I am!  I will have more new float listings in my shops soon, so be sure to check them out!  I will also have a cool, new blog post soon.  I am still trying to get some photos for it!  :)

Glass Float Junkie on Etsy
Glass Float Junkie on IndieMade

In the meantime...........

Monday, June 16, 2014


I don't know about you, but I am SO ready for summer!!  It's been so dreary here in the PNW lately & I am ready for some sunshine!!  In honor of Summer Solstice, I decided to have a sale.  Here's the info................

Click HERE to go to my Etsy shop.  Enter the coupon code (GFJSOLSTICE) at checkout & get 15% off your order.  There is NO minimum & NO maximum!!

Thank you & enjoy the upcoming summer!!


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

2,300 Sales Giveaway

I just hit 2,300 sales in my Etsy shop, so be sure & go to my Facebook page & enter for a chance to win an American made glass fishing float!  It's authentic & was made in the 1940's by Northwest Glass in Seattle, WA!  I will have a blog post about these floats soon, so check back!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

4 Sales Away from Another Giveaway!!

I'm closing in on a whopping 2,300 sales through my Etsy store!!  Every 100 sales I do a giveaway on my Facebook page!  I am also working on a new blog post & I should have that completed soon.  It will be very informative & have some great photos!

Friday, May 9, 2014

21 Sales Away From 2,300 & a New Giveaway!!

For those of you that don't know, every 100 sales through my Etsy shop, I have a giveaway through my Facebook page.  If you haven't "liked" the page, be sure to check it out!  I also post photos & information about floats on that page!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Win a FREE float!!!!

Every 100 sales through my Etsy shop, I have a giveaway on my Facebook page.  If you aren't already following Glass Float Junkie on Facebook, you're missing out on contests, discounts & awesome photos!!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

In honor of the day, use coupon code GFJSPD for 20% off all GREEN floats in my Etsy shop today!!!  Offer is valid until 12pm Pacific tonight.  Thanks!

Monday, March 10, 2014

My Favorite Floats

Here are a few photos of my favorite floats.  I beachcombed them myself when I lived in Alaska.  #glassfloatjunkie #glassfishingfloats

Assorted swirled floats found on remote
Alaskan beaches
by me!
Russian star float with a dot I found.
This is a beautiful float, but it does have a crack.
This is a tri mold float with 2 spindles inside the float!!  I found
this gem on a remote Alaskan beach, too!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Beachcomber's Fun Fair ~ Ocean Shores, WA ~ March 1st & 2nd

Many glass fishing float collectors congregate each March to Ocean Shores, Washington for the annual Beachcomber's Fun Fair.  This event was created over 25 years ago for those of us who love the beach & all things associated with the beach.  Clearly, my favorite thing found on the beach are glass fishing floats!  Below are a few photographs from the weekend, which include several examples of floats.

Author & long-time glass fishing float collector/researcher,
Walt Pich

Alan Rammer, author & long-time collector discussing
floats, I'm sure!

Alan Rammer's booth.

Items found on the beach are exhibited & judged
each year.  These were all found on the Olympic Peninsula.

Items found on the beach believed to be from the 2011
Japanese tsunami are placed on exhibit.

These items were just a portion of those found on the
Olympic Peninsula beaches by John Anderson.

Shannon is giving a little Float 101 to some folks.

Floats from John Anderson are entered into the glass fishing
float category.  Pardon the reflection of the overhead lights
on the glass!

Various floats entered into the glass fishing float category.

A Kanji roller from John Anderson's collection & display.

A spectacular cobalt blue swirled float from Mike Taylor's collection.

Another float from John Anderson's display.

That jumbo roller had many folks drooling!

"Colonel" Rich Richardson & Walt Pich.
Both of these collectors have been to Japan many times &
have done a great deal of research for our hobby.
Several of the collectors managed to be sitting at the same time,
so I snapped this shot.