The History of Glass Floats

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Glass Floats Oregon Coast


Glass floats have been around for a long long time after all in the olden days we did not have all the stuff petro chemicals have given us. Most people thing of Japan as the originator of the floats. Well here on the Oregon coast that seems pretty logical. We need to look north to Norway to find the origination of the glass floats. Christopher Faye, a Norwegian merchant from Bergen, is credited for their invention and fishermen started using them to hold up their nets in the 1840's. By the 1940s, glass had replaced wood or cork throughout much of Europe, Russia, North American, and Japan. Another sources list Birid Glasvaerk in Norway a business from 1762 to 1880. Hisis company may have been producing glass floats as early as the late 1700s. Well it"s a little murky at best but all sources point to Norway.

The Japanese started producing glass floats in the 1900's and those of us on the Oregon coast as way familiar with the Japaneses glass floats. By 1920 the floats started washing up on the Oregon coast. The currents run to Alaska, down the pacific coast and then back to Japan. To accommodate the many different fishing styles and nets, the Japanese experimented with lots of shapes for their glass floats, from as small as 2 inches in diameter to large like inches in diameter. Most floats
are shades of green because the glass used was primarily recycled sake (wine) bottles, but clear, amber, aquamarine, amethyst, blue and other colors were also produced.


There are still glass float out in the oceans caught in the circular currents. Glass floats have since been replaced by aluminum, plastic, or Styrofoam.


Hope this was helpful and hope to see you all beachcombing.


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Google Earth Image of the Glass Floats