American Made Glass Fishing Floats

Simpson Collection: American glass fishing floats

Simpson Collection: American glass fishing floats

We are very excited to announce the acquisition of a major collection of American made glass-fishing floats that will go on exhibit in June. Dr. Nick Simpson acquired this rare and varied collection over many years. He has donated it to the museum in the hope that it will be shared with this community, with our many coastal visitors and especially with glass float collectors and enthusiasts.

While many coastal residents are familiar with Japanese glass fishing floats, most aren’t aware that glass fishing floats were also produced in the United States back in the 1930’s and 1940’s. In the early 1930’s, American fishermen were using “Made in Germany” floats off the West Coast of the United States. The Northwestern Glass Company of Seattle, WA, established in 1932, saw a demand for these floats and 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.

Then, in 1942, there was a rapid development of the shark fishing industry due to the demand for shark livers as a vitamin source. The fishermen used gillnets that were submerged to considerable depths, creating a need for a large quantity of floats that could be submerged and withstand high pressure.

The Northwestern Glass Company developed an automatic manufacturing and sealing system for floats, which increased production.

Northwestern Glass Company floats, as well as floats manufactured by other American companies, will be featured in this exhibit. Please join us for a 2 pm opening reception on Saturday, June 4 th . Dr. Simpson will be on hand to answer questions while you enjoy refreshments and view these beautiful floats.

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