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lightinawormhole's Shop Announcement

Selling authentic Glass Fishing Floats 'fished' from the 1920's on, plus authentic Glass Fishing Floats of the Gift Trade Genre produced from the 1940's, 50's and 60's, lightinawormhole is thrilled to have you onboard. Glass fishing floats, hand blown and hand molded antique collectibles, belong to the world of 'seven wonders'!

Authentic hand blown glass fishing floats were manufactured during the 19th and 20th centuries. Cork, wood, metal, and synthetic plastics have also been in vogue during different time periods in history, and produced in different geographical areas for the fishing industry. The majority were produced for use specifically in the fishing industry, though some were produced for oceanic or scientific research, other industrial purposes, and a smaller number were produced as gifts, decoration or souvenirs.

Hand blown or molded glass fishing floats were made in great quantity in Japan, Korea, some in China, Taiwan, Europe (Great Britain, Scotland, Germany, Italy), Russia, Greece, Czechoslovakia, Portugal, Norway, Finland, some were even made in the US pre- and post WW II for a short time, primarily for industrial or scientific purposes. But the vast quantity were Asian, the Japanese being the most prolific. I've seen rare floats that have sold for $800 to $2000 or more.

We know that a limited number were produced for a brief time in Japan for the 'Gift Trade' industry (1940's - 60's) - and who knows how many may have been produced here or there around the world as 'objets d'art'? There are contemporary glass artists who blow beautiful modern glass balls or round globes that pass, though pristine in appearance, as 'fishing' floats. This shop primarily offers authentic antique 'fished' floats (early 1900's - 1970's), a limited number of authentic antique Gift Trade genre glass floats (1940's - 60's), and a very small number of a third category that qualify as vintage 'curio' or 'decorator type' floats (1960's - 80's). My policy is to be absolutely clear about what is being offered. I do not put down other sellers, nor their 'opinions'. I believe there is room for everyone to be fair and engage in good business practices. Integrity matters.

The brilliant, brightly colored, high quality thick glass antique Gift Trade genre floats were produced by traditional Japanese glass blowing companies right alongside the floats made to be fished - largely as a result of Western interest and demand. The Hokuyo Company of Japan produced beautiful high quality Gift Trade glass floats in the 1950's. Though most were never fished, they are not easy to come by, as fewer were produced than those made to be 'fished', and owners naturally tend to covet and hang onto the bright colors of the Gift Trade era. While the brilliant, beautiful colors are nearly irresistible, there exists plenty of confusion among sellers and even seasoned collectors as to what 'real' or 'authentic' actually denotes - when referring to antique glass fishing floats. After years of analyzing the confusion, I mean to clear the 'air' on the glass!

Since most of the original master Japanese glass blowers and early Japanese glass manufacturing companies kept few records or no records of their production, it is difficult to say, but likely floats made to be fished far outnumbered those produced for the Gift Trade era. Much of the information given here can be generally substantiated from the research and writings of the foremost, recognized Western experts who took it upon themselves to travel, research, interview villagers, study and collect information by hand. I credit them and their extensive efforts for helping to teach me.

What I look for: Generally the antiquity or approximate age of the float, the 'movement' and 'special characteristics' in the glass, the way it has been blown, the crafting of the seal, whether or not there are any special 'marks' or 'signature' (about 80% are not marked), the availability or scarcity of a particular 'genre', and the color, surface wear and any unusual features are taken into consideration when I 'grade' a given float. I am not the 'quintessential expert' but have continued learning as I go. I believe that is the 'state of the art' for nearly any collector these days. Float collecting continues to be full of discovery and mystery as so few, if any, records were kept decades ago.

Misnomer: The gorgeous authentic antique 'gift trade' genre floats from the 1940's - 60's have been referred to in the literature as "Contemporaries" or 'contemporary' floats. This label is misleading and confusing for many. ** What is possibly 'contemporary' about vintage items produced during the 1940's - 60's? ** The term 'Gift Trade' more appropriately denotes their original purpose - which is why I refer to them as vintage or antique 'Gift Trade Genre' floats.

More on Colors: Authentic vintage glass fishing floats made to be fished were made of recycled, melted down glass from water or milk jugs, sake or whiskey bottles, old window glass - basically from whatever was inexpensively available. The generic colors that resulted were clears, blues and greens. While beautiful in themselves, exceptions occurred when special colored loads of glass to be melted down as end runs resulted from other, not so generic product lines - such as higher end glass products, perfume bottles, beer bottles, vases etc. This is how gorgeous, bright colors, or glass floats with different colored seal buttons occasionally show up, even as 'authentic fished floats' and tend to command a glitzy price.

A Third Group: There is a third group (mentioned in first paragraph above) that also qualify as 'authentic vintage', simply based upon their age and origin. Though they're distinctly different from Authentic 'Fished' and Authentic Gift Trade Genre glass fishing floats. These are often referred to as "curios" - basically decorator floats or inexpensive souvenirs that were produced primarily in Japan from the 1960's on. They also come in bright, beautiful colors however the glass tends to be thin, delicate and extremely light weight, not nearly so durable. These older glass fishing floats have less of an inherent quality feel about them, however some are quite pretty and satisfy the needs of many consumers who want to pretty up a corner of a room, or provide a colorful gift. The 'curios' would be the least expensive of the three varieties of floats discussed here. I refer to these as 'souvenir', 'decorator' type floats, or the term 'curio' is sometimes used to identify this type. lightinawormhole seldom sells this variety as there tends to be less demand and they are fairly scarce in vintage. However, very occasionally they may be offered - and they will be identified and labelled as such.

lightinawormhole's love: Lightinawormhole loves vintage glass - unique liquid matter temporarily suspended as time-space events for our enjoyment! Old glass glows with character & effervescence, exhibiting naturally etched scroll-like histories imbedded within the suspended 'liquid'. The beauty of the light and reflectivity working with this magical medium brings us inspiration, imagination, memory, and countless stories recorded in the glass.

Thank you for time. Thank you for reading.

***lightinawormhole sends heartfelt prayers, dedicated to the courage, dignity and endurance of Japan & her People.***