While most styles of vintage floats can be reproduced using the same techniques as more recent traditional floats, the iconic tapered quill floats made in London up to the early 20th century were made using goose and swan quills that had been treated using a special patented process.
They were very expensive to buy, being described by the early 20th century author H.T. Sherringham as costing twice as much as a good cork float. Whether this was because of the time and difficulty making them, or due to scarcity as the process was kept secret is not recorded.
These floats are known by several names such as ‘tip-capped float’, ‘London roach float’, ‘London patent quill’ and more recently, ‘Naiads’ from a description of them by H.T. Sherringham in his book ‘An Open Creel’.
Information about the special process used to prepare the quills is hard to come by as these floats have not been made commercially for over a century. There is some information in old fishing books and it is also hinted in some sources that processes similar to those used to temper quills for writing, such as ‘dutching’ were used.
Aafter several years refining techniques for the preparation of quills, I am now able to produce replicas of these floats with some consistency. Click any picture on this page to see a larger image of some of the tapered quill floats I have made recently.
HOW TO BUY
The cost for a single float is £7.50 plus my usual postage and packing charge of £1.50. Postage and packing is free for orders over £10. I appreciate that this is higher than my usual price for floats, but the price reflects how much time and work they take to make.
I cannot list these floats for immediate purchase as availability is subject to having suitable quills in stock, but I do have some for sale from time to time and may be able to make them as special orders, so If you wish to enquire about availability, you can contact me using the contact form or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.