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A Short History of the Ships-in-Bottles Association of America

- by Donald Hubbard

image001.jpgIn 1979 I became the North American correspondent for the Ships-In-Bottles Association of France. During the three year period after that contact the French organization became lopsided as the American and Canadian roster grew out of proportion. In addition the production of a multi-lingual newsletter became a burden on Max Truchi who spent a lot of time in the translation of his newsletter, Rose des Vents.

In 1982 I suggested to the San Diego Maritime Museum that they host the First International Ships-In-Bottles Exposition (August 1 to September 30, 1982) at the San Diego Maritime Museum. We formed the Ships-In-Bottles Association of America at the end of the International Show when Jack Hinkley came to San Diego from his home near Pittsburgh. Our reasoning was that with so many American and Canadian members it would be easier to produce our own newsletter and plan our own events without all the international correspondence (there was no E-mail then). Jack agreed to become president and I became the newsletter editor. One of our members in Pennsylvania, Harold Gile, suggested the name, BOTTLE SHIPWRIGHT for our newsletter. Ray Handwerker, in Florida, has been our editor for most of the years we have been in existence.

We began with about 35 members, but that number soon increased as we began getting publicity about our action. Sometime a few years later I listed the Association in the American Encyclopedia of Associations, in the World Almanac and in Model Ship Builder Magazine. This was a great help in getting new recruits. The listing in The Encyclopedia of Associations also helped reporters and writers find us so that they could write articles about the art. Since I also kept the membership roster I was able to find SIB builders near the writer's home to assist in the article writing and provide material for photographs. These newspaper/magazine articles and one television show australian online casinos pokies entitled, What's My Hobby, also helped with recruiting.

We are now in our 23rd year and membership is holding steady at about 175-200 members. Our membership is worldwide and not restricted to builders in North America, so we have members in India, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina and scattered across Europe. In November 2006 Robert De Niro will be releasing a motion picture entitled The Good Shepherd in which two of the actors build bottled ships. One of them is Matt Damon and the other is Eddie Redmayne, who plays Damon's son. One of our lady builders, Terry Butler was hired by the producer of the film to make models and teach the two actors how to insert the model in the bottle. I was contacted by the producer, who found out about us through the Internet and our web page. I put him in touch with Terry, and she will be visiting the set in New York again for the final scenes. This motion picture will also be a recruiting tool when the vast number of people around the United States and the world see the activity.

- by Commander Donald Hubbard, USN (Ret.), Author of Ships-In-Bottles