Glass Fishing Floats

fishing floats
© F H Powell 2010

As with many things once common sights, glass fishing floats have all but disappeared from the seashore. Occasionally you may be lucky enough to find one washed up on a beach (as these can remain afloat for many years carried on ocean currents), but they are more likely to be found in an antique shop or as a modern reproduction in a tourist shop.

Glass floats were originally developed in Norway in the mid 1800’s and along with wood and cork used to support the fishing nets of the fishing fleets. Most early glass floats were hand blown and were made from recycled bottles. The most commonly found colours being clear (Victorian times) and green (as these were the colours of the original bottles), although other colours were introduced in the early 1900’s. By the 1940’s most fishing floats were made of glass. Sizes varied greatly as did shape and many people are avid collectors of glass floats. The glass floats were eventually replaced by more durable plastic floats in the second half of the 20th century.

miniature fishing float kit
© F H Powell 2010

In order to protect the floats and attach them to the nets, the glass floats were encased in ropework. The patterning in the rope casing was often very ornate, but its main purpose was always to protect the float from being smashed against another float or the side of the boat as the nets were hauled in. Modern reproduction glass floats often have very thin ropework to show off the brilliant colours of the fishing float, whereas the working glass float had a thick protective cover of rope. When glass floats are washed up onshore the rope covering has usually rotted away and any replacement ropework will usually be more for decoration than use.

If you wish to decorate your miniature fisherman’s cottage (or make a fishing scene authentic) then we can supply you with either a kit to make a fishing float or a ready-made miniature fishing float. As fishing floats varied so greatly in size both the kit and ready-made miniature glass fishing floats will suit either 1:12th or 1:24th scale.