Learn About Glass Floats

Sun Beach Glass FloatGlass Floats have been historically used in the fishing industry, to keep nets afloat. Floats were first made for fishing purposes in Norway in the 1840s. Japan became a top producer and user of floats by the early 20th century. As the floats were used, many of these broke off of their nets and were lost into the sea. After floating thousands of miles, for months or years, they wash up on beaches to be found by collectors.

Floats were originally hand-blown by a glassmaker and sealed with a button of glass. This is often called a pontil, although floats are not made with a true pontil mark like glass bottles. Other authentic floats are molded and these have a noticeable seam. Many floats, both blown and molded, have marks on them indicating the manufacturer.

Authentic floats are most commonly made of greenish colored glass. Other colors that have been used are clear, amber, darker greens, aquamarine, amethyst, blue, and (rarest of all) red. Sometimes a clear float has a colored seal button, and some floats are swirled with two colors together. They may or may not have ropes on them, since the ropes can rot or fall off during the long journey to a faraway beach. Some floats tumble in the waves once they reach a shore, becoming frosted by the sand.

As floats came to be popular collector's items, manufacturers began to make floats specifically for decorative purposes. Some of these were made by fishing float manufacturers but sold without being used on nets, while others are made entirely for decorations. These floats haven't served time in the sea, but they do come in brighter colors and at a lower price than authentic floats. They are still handmade, and each float has individual features (like occasional bubbles, swirls, and color variations) that make them unique pieces of glass art suitable for any decor.

Today, floats are used indoors and out to add a nautical theme with the elegance of glass. They can be hung from their ropes, piled in baskets or giant clam shells, displayed on stands or floated in ponds. (We do recommend removing the ropes if they are to be used in ponds containing fish.)

On the right, colorful decorative floats look great grouped together on display stands. Several floats like this make excellent centerpieces for parties and beach theme weddings. Below, authentic floats are gathered into a giant clam shell for display.

Unlike some other sellers, we'll always make it clear which floats have a nautical history and which were make specifically for home decor. Both are a great option for bringing a touch of the sea to your home, party, or event!

floats clam rope float clam no rope