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Bottled Ship Builder

Robin Hood's Bay in an Aspirin Bottle

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My second acquired SIB – Robin Hood’s Bay in an Aspirin Bottle

Here I present the second SIB that came into my life. In the 1960’s a local department store had a line of SIBs available that were made in Robin Hood’s Bay, England. One day as a child I had the privilege of watching a demonstration in the store where a fellow from England was inserting a model into a bottle and erecting its masts by the magical “pulling on strings”.  This modest example appeared under the Christmas tree that year for me to enjoy. The end cap has a label which is missing a piece which gives the exact origin as “ [Ship?] Models, Robin Hood’s Bay, England”.

The model is a statement of elegant simplicity. The bottle is of the type that aspirin commonly came in back then and measures 3 7/8” x 2”x 1”. The ship is a full square rigged three masted clipper with sails made from paper. The hull is simple and it is simply rigged with a shroud for each mast and one stay connecting the mast to the bowsprit which acted as the “magic string”. Notably the masts are not hinged to the deck and may have been pushed into place into little groves in the deck and then glued down after they were raised. Its little pendants are flying straight ahead showing the direction of the wind into its tiny sails.

It’s a neat little keepsake and I’ve had it for over 50 years.


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Hi There,

I thought it may have been an early SIB by Leon Labistour who with his wife lived in Robin Hood's Bay and produced many quality SIBS. Leon passed some time ago, however I know his wife through the European Association of Ships in Bottles. I've contacted her and this is the information Pat replied with.

"Hi Alan. No, it's one from the factory in the next village, Fylingthorpe. They made millions of aspirin bottle models, all farmed out to piece workers. They advertised as RHB because nobody had heard of Fylingthorpe. The factory was called Ship Models and was run by a guy called Milsom.
Glad the owner of the model likes it!
cheers, Pat."

Hope this helps you out.



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