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Another SIB Investigation


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So a co worker came up so me today and should me a ship in bottle he picked up from the GoodWill.  It had a half off sticker and he got it for $3.00.  Here's some photos.  

 

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Sorry the lighting is really bad in my office.  Any how he was wondering if I could tell how old it was and what it might be worth.  I told him at this point not knowing much about it it's maybe worth $30.  I suspected it was built fairly recently 1970's at the earliest.  

 

I wondered every one else's thoughts on it though.  I thought I might find out more from the markings on the glass.  I'll post those too.  So far I haven't found anything but I haven't really started digging yet.  

 

 

 

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So it appears to have a Danish flag.  I have yet to find a four mast schooner called Sigrid.  Modelers name maybe?  The sea appears to be wood and paint.  The rigging was interesting because it looped around back and forth.  It's possible the masts were raised pulling just one line.   

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I think you are correct about a continuous line being used to rig at least the fore mast and jib stays, perhaps in a pattern similar to this.

 

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Rigged similar to this means that none of those stays are control lines and that the bases of the masts were not fixed to the deck with hinges, leaving one of the two variations of the "divot" method for erecting the masts - with or without a control line from the base of each mast through the deck. There doesn't appear to be obstructions around the mast locations to prevent either variation from being a possibility. I think it's safe to conclude that the builder was influenced by exposure to the work of Michel Bardet who favors the divot method with control lines from the bases of the masts. 

 

The only other lines I see that were control lines are the ones from the aft ends of the booms. There may have been four or eight control lines depending on whether or not the bases of the masts were controlled.

 

The lettering for Sigrid is excellent, but could be home made decals and not hand painted. Sigrid is a female name. Did the builder have a Danish girlfriend (or wife or other female family member) named Sigrid? Was he himself a Dane?

 

The twine and wax seal is more often seen on European SiBs than on American, but it is also a characteristic of the Philippine company that makes the cheap, tourist shop SiBs, however, the workmanship on the schooner is better than those so it does not seem likely that it is a product of that company.

 

Is there anything to be learned from the red bordered swallow-tailed flag with the letter S? It's displayed at the usual location for a company flag. Or does the "S" just a refer to Sigrid?

 

I Googled "four masted schooner" and looked at dozens of different images of them. The masts on all of them were equally spaced and the mast heights above the deck were consistently in the range of about 60% to 75% of the waterline length of the hull. The model has unequally spaced masts and they are less than half the hull length. This suggests that the hull was carved first to a length that appealed to the builder then the masts were cut to a length to fit the bottle (poor planning?). The unequal spacing may reflect difficulty erecting one of them (#2) or just another example of poor planning. These details are somewhat contradictory to the general quality of the rigging and the more sophisticated method of mast erection than hinges. I have no idea what the thread on the forward side of the masts might be.

 

It appears that the bottle markings include the volume (0,7L) and possibly a code for the date of manufacture of the mold (715 - May 1971? or July 15?). The triangle may be the bottle manufacturer's identification mark.

 

An interesting thought came to mind. The tentative date for this piece is early 70's - about the same time that Bardet started building SiBs. Now, put that fact with the very likely probability that the masts were erected by his favorite method. What does that suggest to you?

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David I think you nailed this one spot on. There are other evidences of poor planing or at least hurried building. I should have got more pictures. Any how what you can't see is the deck houses and hatches. Most of the deck houses were completely to one side of the ship which I've never seen. Also one of the hatches was at a weird angle like the glue dried before it was fully in place. At the very least it was made by some one starting out. The loose lines seem to suggest that as well.

The line on the forward mast spears to be where it was tied off or at least where the line starts before it starts looping around the ship. Kind of a weird place to start or stop. It was a hinged model to the masts did fold back.

That is interesting about Bardet. Would be interesting if it was one of his. Considering it was found in Colorado though makes me wonder if it's just to far away for that. Not impossible but less likely. I also think Bardet would have been more precise even in the begining. I wonder about the style of the rigging. I'm not as familiar with it. Is it possible that paticular style gained some popularity in the 70's? Like if a book came out explaining it and several builders started using it at the time?

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I suppose this may bring screams of anguish, but I do not think it is all that good! :wacko:      The masts, booms, gaffs and bowsprit are far too thick and the whole thing to me appears as a clumsy mess when compared with other SIBs displayed here.    I know one must start somewhere, and I know that I simply do not have the inclination or skill to put ships in bottles, but I do feel that this is a pretty poor example.   I would not have come out with the above comments if anyone here had built it!   

Bob

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Bob, I totally see your point. Compared to many ships in the forum this one isn't great. Especially coming from miniature back ground it is terrible. Almost all miniatures I've seen are very precise and accurate to scale. think though that ship in bottle building has a wider spectrum when it comes to folk art though. Since it gained popularity from sailors trying to make an extra buck a lot of scale details have been looked over and accepted among the ship in bottle community. I call it the folk art side of ship in bottle building. I think in the last few years there's been a shift toward building more scale ships in bottles. Probably because supplies are easier to get, there's more tools and a lot more information available. I do think the folk art side has its place so I don't discourage it. I like a fine artistic balance between the two but every one has their opinions and that's fine.

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Daniel, I thought the possibility the bottle was an early Bardet was so remote that I couldn't even say it out loud, but only presented the trail of a fact or two and a lot of conjecture that led me to the thought and let you draw your own inference. Now that I know the masts were hinged (which shoots down one of my conjectures) the possibility seems much more remote, perhaps even ludicrous. Put it down as a failed attempt at humor if you wish - I'll feel less foolish if you do.

 

For the most part I agree with Bob, but I also saw a couple things that show promise like the red stripe on the hull that appears straight, uniform and parallel to the sheer, at least as far as I can tell through the poor glass. Much of the rigging appears reasonably accurate given the limitations and compromises frequently forced on a novice SiB builder - and poor glass. Although I personally don't care for drawn-in seams in cloths of a sail, the ones here are very uniform through-out and not too over done. However, the spacing is way out of scale. Even the mis-located deck details Daniel mentioned could reasonably be attributed, at least in part, to poor glass and the builder being unable to see what he was doing through it. I'll at least give the builder some benefit of the doubt in that regard because I've done something similar myself because of poor glass. All in all it's a fairly typical novice attempt.

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The art world finds room for Rembrandt, Van Gogh, and Grandma Moses, the bottling community is ill served by adopting a single metric regarding the work of our members. Though it's hard to tell much about the mystery model from photographs, it appears to employ a novel rigging method quite different from the conventional umbrella method often employed in the "sailor" or "folk-art" model, and that's interesting.

 

TJ

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TJ raises an interesting point, but I wonder about what a single metric would be.  

How many of us sign our work?  I only started to when Mike Wall pointed out the importance of it. 

As for our standing in the world of art, that question, happily, is someone else's concern.  Getting a model to look half as well as the model I envisaged when I started is what I need to worry about.

 

Alex

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  Bottlers actually don't have much standing in the world of art. At bottom we produce puzzle bottles which are largely written off as novelties. Importing the standard applied in static modeling doesn't improve our situation; it merely creates a pernicious hierarchy within our ranks. Ship bottling isn't the red-headed step-child of static modeling and doesn't need to ape the staticist metric in an effort to win approval, duck a beating or achieve validity.

  Bottling, whether of ships, crucifixes, spinning wheels or yarn swifts is folk art. It's unfortunate perhaps that there's just a touch of prestidigitation in what we do. Van Gogh didn't paint sunflowers through a keyhole with a long brush; a bottler would, which in some eyes makes our humble art just a bit disreputable. We also sometimes create overly elaborate frames for our work, stuff our bottles to the bursting point with light houses, sea-side villages, breaching whales and gnome-like figures whittling little ship models, but that's bottling. There's much more to it than a slavish adherence to historical accuracy.

 

TJ

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Greetings All,

 

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Posted Yesterday, 04:04 AM

I think you are correct about a continuous line being used to rig at least the fore mast and jib stays, perhaps in a pattern similar to this.

 

fore and jib stays.png

 

I see a major problem with this idea/thinking, how could the line pass through mast, bowsprit and martingale spike with the jib sails attached?? Only way I can figure would be to glue the jib sails to the stays after the model was erected inside the bottle. Possible to course, but they look well aligned and glued to my eyes, so wonder??

 

Anchor's A Weigh!

John Fox III

Ladysmith, WI

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John, I hadn't thought of that. I think the sails were glued in after the masts were erected. If you look close the jobs are glued on straight but there's a wide gap between the edge of the jib and the line. Glued outside the bottle I think the gap would be smaller. Also there's a big drop of glue on the lower jibs. Must have dripped when gluing in the last one.

As far as art goes. I agree we should be careful with our critiques on this forum. We all build for different reasons and in different ways. I don't want any one to be afraid of posting a ship in bottle because it doesn't fit into a certain mold or criteria. We need to remember to be respectful. Myself included.

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In regard to the direction this topic has turned, right now we are doing the best thing we can by openly sharing our techniques and methods in order to shorten the learning curve for beginners and novices. Just seeing what can be done will inspire them to try it. This sharing can also inspire some of us old salts to attempt things we previously thought impossible and to learn from those same beginners and novices. For example, it took a talented novice to teach me that nothing is impossible just because it hasn't been done yet. This change in my own thinking has allowed me to attempt things I had previously thought too difficult or even impossible. He also taught me to not fear failure. Failure can be educational (even if it is a harsh teacher) that can lead us to some very inspired solutions.

 

I think the only way to improve the perception of ship bottling is to continue the way we are through our own personal commitments to making each project the best we are able and by helping those who show an interest in learning how to do it.

 

Getting back to the original subject of this thread, I think Gwyl hit the nail on the head with the link he posted. That company uses the same cork, twine and wax seal used on the example. Production methods in which one individual makes the hull, another makes the spars, another paints them and the hulls, a fourth installs deck details, etc. to completion would account for the apparent variation in skill level throughout the model. A rigging arrangement designed for ease of multiple reproduction also fits into such a production plan. I think Gwyl solved the question and this is an example of a model in their line that didn't sell well and is now discontinued.

 

Dave

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It is very similar and could very well could a mass production model.  The rope work around the cork does resemble other mass produced sib's I've seen.  I don't think it's a European Crafted model given the rose on the seal.  It looks like the European Crafted company uses a ships anchor in their seals.  It is similar to this one though which comes from a nautical decor place on Etsy.  Sells for $37.50.

 

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If it is a mass produced model it explains the hurried look of parts like the crooked and misplaced deck houses.  

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  Sigrid certainly has some of the hallmarks of a factory model, the bottle closure is suspect, even without the other models from a single manufacturer for comparison.  The boot topping looks dipped, the red colored wale applied, and the deck possibly routed. Cloth sails make sense in a factory model since the cloth would be more forgiving of a quick rough voyage through the neck than would paper. I hope they were printed, for I hate to think that there is some poor soul out there who spends his days hand drawing the things. That's as far as I dare go based on the photographs available.

  The rigging is a mysterious delight, and I almost hope the method by which it was done  remains a mystery. The triatic stay appears to serve no actual function, but seems an odd thing to employ as mere window dressing, perhaps it's a remnant from the rigging process. Reeving the jib stays back into the hull through a loop in the dolphin striker is delightfully Rube Goldbergian. The bits of line that appear to be rigged in isolation along the forward edges of the masts utterly perplex me. If the manufacturer indeed designed a model as simple as Sigrid to be mass produced with its rigging  raised employing a single down-haul, I take my hat off to him.

 

TJ

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That is definitely from the Philippine company that makes most of the tourist shop junk SiBs. The real Flying Cloud was a black three masted ship while this piece of junk is clearly a white four-masted barque. The three part spanker is in the German style from the early 20th century. You can see the same feature on the Gorch Fock family such as the USCGC Eagle. This company offers a lot of the famous clippers with a choice of matching hull and spar colors of red, blue or green. Their claim of "museum quality" is nothing but advertising hyperbole, which is a nice way of saying a blatant lie.

 

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The real Flying Cloud from Currier and Ives, 1852 

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