|Home - City Guides|
|Lincoln City Area|
|Oregon Coast Notes|
|Lincoln City to hide Glass Floats and Glass Sand Dollars on the beach in February|
Begun in 1999 to celebrate the Millennium, the float project has become an annual tradition. Each year the Lincoln City Visitor and Convention Bureau has sponsored Finders Keepers. Select glassblowers on the coast make special handcrafted signed and numbered glass floats.
Volunteers called "Float Fairies" put the floats out on the beach of Lincoln City, from the sands north of Chinook Winds Casino, down to the Taft area. It's up to the individual volunteers when and where. They are set in plain site, sometimes hidden behind obstructions, but easily seen and accessed. The thrill of finding one of these floats adds additional excitement to beachcombing.
The floats are always placed on the sand, above the high tide mark, and below the embankment. Please don't climb the rocks or vegetation! It's dangerous for you, and can lead to erosion.
If you find one of the floats you can take it to the Visitor and Convention Bureau and they will issue a certificate of authenticity to accompany the ball.
Glass floats have been a sought after treasure on Oregon’s beaches for years.
The earliest evidence of glass floats being used by fishermen comes from Norway in 1844 where small egg-sized floats were used with fishing line and hooks. Around the same time, glass was also used to support fishing nets. By the 1940’s, glass had replaced wood or cork throughout much of Europe, Russia, North American, and Japan. Japan started using the glass floats as early as 1910. Today, most of the remaining glass floats originated in Japan because it had a large deep sea fishing industry which made extensive use of the floats; some made by Taiwan, Korea and China.
The earliest floats, including most Japanese glass fishing floats, were hand made by a glassblower. Recycled glass, especially old sake bottles, was typically used and air bubbles in the glass are a result of the rapid recycling process. After being blown, floats were removed from the blowpipe and sealed with a 'button' of melted glass before being placed in a cooling oven. A later manufacturing method used wooden molds to speed up the float-making process. Glass floats were blown into a mold to more easily achieve a uniform size and shape. Seams on the outside of floats are a result of this process. Sometimes knife markings where the wooden molds were carved are also visible on the surface of the glass.
They still make and use glass floats. The Japanese don't make nearly as many as they did in the past, but they are still in use. Large molded floats, made in China are actually more common in recent years.
In a new twist on the Finders Keepers promotion, the City of Lincoln City will be hiding handcrafted glass sand dollars on the beach -- although not at the same time.