Ade Mersfelder

Ade (“Aid”) Mersfelder, born in 1919, lived over 50 years on Monhegan Island, Maine. He ran a tiny carving studio on the side of the ferry docks where he carved birds and lobster buoys and was a fisherman. He went “off island” twice --once to serve in WWII. He spent three and a half years in a prison camp in Germany. After, he returned once again to Monhegan. He stopped carving birds but continued to carve the buoys until he went "off-island" for the second, and last, time to an assisted living community on the mainland.  Passing away in 2014, we're delighted to offer the last of his carved bouys.

The lobster buoy is a brightly colored float seen on the ocean’s surface used to identify and locate the lobsterman’s trap. Each lobsterman selects his own pattern and combination of colors to paint his buoys. These differently painted buoys make it easier to identify and locate each lobsterman’s gear from a distance. The lobster buoy is tied to one end of the rope, with another smaller float (called a toggle) party way down the line and finally attached to the trap. Traditionally the buoy was made of cedar wood or white pine. Shaped square or round with a point on the front end, with a drilled hole or leather strap attached to tie the trap line to. A spindle was added to the back end to act as a flag, or to assist in grabbing the buoy from the water. The practice of making buoys out of cedar or white pine became obsolete with the introduction of polystyrene floats. Each buoy has to carry the individual’s colors, branded name and registered number.