Where to Buy Postcards about Hooker Boats – the World of Sponge Fishing Diving

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Where to Buy Postcards about Hooker Boats – the World of Sponge Fishing Diving

Sponge fishing has a long history that can be found in the realm of Vintage Postcards.  Currently th Internet is the best place to search.  Many postcard dealers display their catalogs online.  Ebay, Amazon, and individual Postcard Dealers many times in their Selections this topic.

Here at Darlene’s Vintage Postcards we add each day postcards into our shop.  We list them into two categories for easy searching. Topic and Location.

 

Sponge Catch Hooker Boats

Sponge Catch Hooker Boats

    The history of sponge fishing in America begins, almost coincidentally, back in the early 19th century. A small sponge industry began with the settlement of Key West. Native Key West fishermen found sponges washed on the shores after storms. These sponges became the reason for the formation of a small fleet of “Hook Boats”.

Sponge Diving

Sponge Harvesting

    They were called this because they used a log pole with a three or four –pronged rake on the end to hook the sponges (hooking method) from shallow waters. These sponges were used only for local domestic use until the year 1849 when a sample shipment of sponges was sent to New York and found a ready market. Immediate expansion of the sponge industry began and, by 1890, Key West held almost an absolute monopoly of the sponge trade in the United States. The sponge fleet of Key West contains at that time 350 vessels. More than 1400 men where employed in the sponge industry. Nearly all of the sponges were collected from shallow water.

Sponge Auction Tarpon Springs FL

Sponge Auction Tarpon Springs FL

    At the end of the 19th century the sponge fishing industry, and later sponge diving industry, was established due to John Corcosis and John Cheyney. Corcosis, a born Greek, came to New York in 1895 to work in the sponge trade. There he met John Cheyney, one of the early settlers in Tarpon Springs who sent out the first “hooker boat” from Tarpon Springs.

    When sponge diving, the crew went out into the Mediterranean Sea in a small boat, and used a cylindrical object with a glass bottom to search the sea floor for sponges. When one was found, a diver went overboard to get itFree diving, he was usually naked and carried a 15 kilograms (33 lb) skandalopetra, a rounded stone tied on a rope to the boat, to take him down to the bottom quickly. The diver then cut the sponge loose from the bottom and put a special net around it. Depth and bottom time depended on the diver’s lung capacity. They often went down about 30 metres (100 ft) for up to 5 minutes.

Sponge Diving to Depths 100 FT

    Soft sponges for many purposes including padding for helmets, portable drinking utensils and municipal water filters. Until the invention of synthetic sponges, they were used as cleaning tools, applicators for paints and ceramic glazes, and discreet contraceptives.

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