The Vallø marking

the amazing Vallø float

The Vallø marking represents glass floats from Vallø Glassverk in Norway.

As a personal information, I can tell you that only once in my life I have actually seen a Vallø marked glass float. I found it in Skodje municipality in Møre and Romsdal, and bought it from the owner at the time; A local fisherman.

It was almost a miracle! From a production periode of 4 years (1875 - 1879), one of these beauties found it's way from the factory in South-Eastern Norway to North-West coast, where it was still safe and sound in 2005.

After some time it was sold on to a collector in the USA.

In the 1860's and 70's there was a strong growing in the brewery-industry in Norway. As a result there also was a constant lack of bottles.

This was the time of the first part of industry revolution in Norway, and the times were good for the industry. Foreign investors looked to Norway and all sort of industry expanded.

In 1875 there was a new glass factory opened in Vallø in Norway, not far from Larvik. Most of the workers came from Sweden. The same year about 75 - 80 people was working at the factory, and in the time from august 1875 to april 1876 there was aproduction of 4716 bottles a day.

Later on this numbers were increased to 5436 bottles, until the top in 1878 with 7000 bottles per day.

The products were extremly good, and in 1875 the factory received both silver and gold medal at the world exhibition in Paris. In spite of that, there was problems selling the products, and in december 1878 the factory had 849 848 unsold bottles.

The production of glass fishing floats at Vallø Glass factory is not mentioned, but we assume the glass floats was a secondary production. During the summer and fall of 1879 it is clear that there is no hope for the factory, and on sept. 16. in 1879 the factory is closing down.

The population in Vallø about that time was as follows:

1865: 263 persons, 1875 : 478 persons, 1900: 282 persons

I found this information at, in norwegian text, in an historical view over Vallø by Ulf Erichsen og Jon Erik Berg-Hansen.

Even if this glass float information does not tell you much about glass floats itself , it is telling you about the producer of one of the most wanted glass floats, in the World of Glass Float Collectors: The Vallø.

In August 1875 started the first production of glass in Vallø Glassverk. The man behind was mr. Ernest Christopher Frølich, born i 1836, and son of a wealthy financier i Christiania (now Oslo). He was well educated and was living the life in the top high society.

He was living in Vallø Estate, and even had a Coat of Arms with "Vallø Castle" in it.As mentioned before, there was a serious lack of bottles in the 1860 - 1870's because of the many new breweries in Norway.

Ernest Frølich had calculated good profit on this production, and succeeded in getting other wealthy shareholders in with him.

When the company was established there were 37 shareholders, and the trading possibilities was very good.

To get started the company had to get skilled workers, which was not well represented in Norway at that time. So the professionel glassblowers came from Sweden, 20 of them.

When the production started there were totaly 78 workers in the fabric, among them 26 carriers, who was young boys still in school age. To be able to keep so many kids at work, the company established a scool with the companys book-keeper as a teacher.

There was many glass factories in Norway at that time, and difficult to keep the workers. When somebody heard that another company paid better wages, workers quitted and left. This was a big problem, even if the companys agreed to keep the same wages.

Vallø Glassverk build two melting ovens, and 8 cooling ovens for each melting oven. The cooling oven was for slowly downcooling the glass. Later a third melting oven was build, a forge came too, as well as a new office building.

The production started in August 1875, and in the period from august 1875 to april 1876 the average production was 4716 bottles a day, The daily production increased to 5436 bottles, and reach a top of 7000 bottles a day in 1878.

In spite of the large production it was well known for its high quality, and at the World Exhibition in Paris in 1875 the Vallø Glassverk won both silver- and bronzemedal for their products.

The problem was selling it, and in december 1878 there was 849 848 bottles in store. The trading conditions was getting worse, and the sales price on bottles had sunk to its half already in 1875.The company has to get more investments from outside, but the situation is getting from bad to worse.

During the spring and summer 1879 it is getting clear that the Glassverk is going down, and on December 16. 1879 the Vallø Glassverk is bankrupt.

As you can see, this information does not mention Glass Floats at all, and if I did not see this float myself, with that extreme clear marking, and getting a photography of it, I believe I would have no indications that they produced glass fishing floats in Vallø at all.

I am still looking for Vallø floats, and hope to find more of them. If I do I will let you know! Promise!

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