~*Glitter*~ January 24, 2020 8:51 AM   Subscribe

For those of you consumed by the mystery discussed in this FPP on the glitter industry—which (secretive) industry is the #1 purchaser of glitter?—the podcasters at Endless Thread appear to have uncovered the answer. It’s...below the fold.

IT’S BOATS! Glitter paint for boat manufacturers. (Kind of underwhelming, imo...)
posted by sallybrown to MetaFilter-Related at 8:51 AM (34 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

It's super underwhelming and also just so weird. Why would they not want anyone to know? And why would the industry think people would be dismayed? I am wondering if it's just a red herring and the REAL reason is classified or something. I still think it's some military thing.
posted by fiercecupcake at 9:08 AM on January 24 [4 favorites]


Yeah, it's bizarre because bass boats are ostentatiously glittery and the glitter is a feature, that's like saying gas stations don't want you to know they're buying petroleum products.
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:24 AM on January 24 [7 favorites]


Boats-feminine-entities.
posted by Oyéah at 9:30 AM on January 24


I never understood this as there is so much glare on the water to begin with. *squinty* I would be totally ok with no glitter anymore, full stop.
posted by wellred at 9:30 AM on January 24


It’s totally the radar-scrambling coating on stealth bombers.
posted by rodlymight at 9:32 AM on January 24 [2 favorites]


Also, the vegetable that a random internet gut doctor begs you to throw away immediately is corn.
posted by Jpfed at 9:33 AM on January 24 [29 favorites]


dang, and I thought it'd be the ink industry because glitter ink is the best
posted by scruss at 10:34 AM on January 24 [3 favorites]


It was Big Bass all along.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:40 AM on January 24 [4 favorites]


They don't want you to know that gut boats are made out of corn and the vegetable that a random bass glitter doctor begs you to throw away immediately is internet.
posted by nebulawindphone at 11:53 AM on January 24 [18 favorites]


Darn. I was sure it was Farrah Moan.
posted by xingcat at 11:56 AM on January 24 [5 favorites]


Oh my god, I was just telling someone about this not that long ago. I am so glad I am not the only one who kept wondering about that.
posted by jacquilynne at 12:01 PM on January 24 [1 favorite]


I like it when we get stuff right but for some reason I love that nobody guessed boat in the original thread.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:29 PM on January 24 [10 favorites]


I wonder if the boat manufacturers want to keep it quiet that it's actual glitter and not something else that is also sparkly because of fears that the customer base (which skews towards toxic masculinity, sorry fisherpeople) will not like the associations.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:40 PM on January 24 [8 favorites]


That's... alarmingly plausible, but also what else would anyone imagine that it was?

Some sort of not-plastic sparkly thing, I guess? Like, are dudes out there thinking their boat is shiny because it's made out of mica or little gemstones or something?
posted by nebulawindphone at 12:46 PM on January 24 [3 favorites]


Thanks for following up! I was curious at the time, but then I forgot, and it's nice to have that itch scratched.
posted by theatro at 12:57 PM on January 24


Or perhaps I was wrong about assuming the toxic masculinity aspect (I mainly said that because dudes on Facebook holding up fish in their profile pics are usually but not always complete tools). Maybe they don't want customers to know that one of the reasons they use so much glitter is that it can better conceal surface blemishes?
posted by Burhanistan at 2:00 PM on January 24 [3 favorites]


That's... alarmingly plausible, but also what else would anyone imagine that it was?

from At the Fishhouses
The big fish tubs are completely lined
with layers of beautiful herring scales
and the wheelbarrows are similarly plastered
with creamy iridescent coats of mail,
with small iridescent flies crawling on them.
Up on the little slope behind the houses,
set in the sparse bright sprinkle of grass,
is an ancient wooden capstan,
cracked, with two long bleached handles
and some melancholy stains, like dried blood,
where the ironwork has rusted.
The old man accepts a Lucky Strike.
He was a friend of my grandfather.
We talk of the decline in the population
and of codfish and herring
while he waits for a herring boat to come in.
There are sequins on his vest and on his thumb.
He has scraped the scales, the principal beauty,
from unnumbered fish with that black old knife,
the blade of which is almost worn away.
posted by pracowity at 2:16 PM on January 24 [13 favorites]


Another brilliant feint from those bastards at Big Sticker.
posted by Iris Gambol at 3:50 PM on January 24 [2 favorites]


Somewhere, a marketing analyst is regretting telling valuable secrets to Billy Bass and his Big Mouth.
posted by Maecenas at 5:15 PM on January 24 [3 favorites]


I've seen some glittery motorcycles but it had never occurred to me until now to consider that it's just glitter paint and not some other mysterious thing. I guess I just never conceived of something that I used in child crafts to appear on a vehicle.
posted by acidnova at 10:17 PM on January 24 [1 favorite]


Tis chipped mirror grindings, no keelhauling required.
posted by clavdivs at 10:40 PM on January 24


I seem to remember (from back in the day when I hung around with people who talked about such things) super-sparkly car paint being described as "metal flake", which does sound considerably more badass than glitter.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 6:15 AM on January 25 [6 favorites]


I would have called out the greeting card industry.

Plenty of cars have metallic finishes that feature embedded sparkly things. And surely they dwarf boats in the sheer surface area of painted panels, at a global scale. So when Mazda says my paint is Meteor Gray Mica, are those “mica” bits not some form of plasticky glitter? Are are they actually putting rocks in the paint formulation?

Things you think about when you smoke weed for breakfast, exemplified.
posted by spitbull at 10:21 AM on January 25 [4 favorites]


The issue with car paint (which was a popular guess in the original thread too) is it uses something called “effect pigments” that seems to be very similar to glitter but made by a different kind of company than the glitter companies the NYT article was based on, like Glitterex, so it couldn’t have been the answer to the mystery of Glitterex’s #1 customer. The podcast interviewed a car paint guy and he said no dice.

I do wonder if the boat paint companies have another, more secret use of the same material and that’s what led to the secrecy. But it’s funny to imagine the secrecy is sort of unnecessary / just a business practice, and inadvertently caused all this speculation.
posted by sallybrown at 10:31 AM on January 25 [2 favorites]


Don't they bake on car paint jobs? Metallicized plastic wouldn't hold up to enameling temps I wouldn't think.
posted by Rufous-headed Towhee heehee at 4:29 PM on January 25


From every 30 gallon drum of glitter that goes into a boat factory, about half a gallon goes into the paint and the rest of it goes into the keel because the real secret is that glitter is the only known material that floats (other than a duck).
posted by moonmilk at 7:01 PM on January 25 [7 favorites]


metal flake : glitter :: action figure : doll
posted by ardgedee at 4:49 AM on January 26 [8 favorites]


With that said...

> So when Mazda says my paint is Meteor Gray Mica, are those “mica” bits not some form of plasticky glitter?

No, it really is mica, per Wikipedia: " Consumption of dry-ground mica in paint, the second-ranked use, accounted for 22% of the dry-ground mica used in 2008.[...] Wet-ground mica, which retains the brilliance of its cleavage faces, is used primarily in pearlescent paints by the automotive industry. Many metallic-looking pigments are composed of a substrate of mica coated with another mineral, usually titanium dioxide (TiO2).[...] These products are used to produce automobile paint, shimmery plastic containers, high-quality inks used in advertising and security applications. In the cosmetics industry, its reflective and refractive properties make mica an important ingredient in blushes, eye liner, eye shadow, foundation, hair and body glitter, lipstick, lip gloss, mascara, moisturizing lotions, and nail polish. Some brands of toothpaste include powdered white mica. This acts as a mild abrasive to aid polishing of the tooth surface, and also adds a cosmetically pleasing, glittery shimmer to the paste. Mica is added to latex balloons to provide a colored shiny surface."

Mica! Your glittery, mildly abrasive friend!
posted by ardgedee at 4:54 AM on January 26 [8 favorites]


From every 30 gallon drum of glitter that goes into a boat factory, about half a gallon goes into the paint and the rest of it goes into the keel

I’m sure this is completely wrong because I know zero about boats, but I’m now picturing all boats as hollow and filled with glitter, like very large glitter piñatas.
posted by sallybrown at 6:00 AM on January 26 [8 favorites]


MetaFilter: retains the brilliance of its cleavage faces
posted by Huffy Puffy at 6:56 AM on January 26 [3 favorites]


Thanks for posting this, sallybrown, I missed the original post. I fwded the link to my father (boat type) who has responded

I am not entirely convinced that your motive for sending me this endlessly circular material was a continuing desire to present your ancient papa with stimulating material to help him while away his latter years. In fact you are more likely trying the devious trick of sending the mad king old, or tricking the mad old man into sending the king old, or some other mental muddle, Into which state I seem now to have foul fallow fallen with a great plop!!
posted by paduasoy at 12:52 AM on January 29 [3 favorites]


The secrecy is definitely masculinity-driven; has to be.
posted by Miko at 7:22 AM on January 29


> metal flake : glitter :: action figure : doll

I'll correct myself here. I was reading a thread about repainting guitar bodies this morning and found some people there using "metal flake" and "glitter" non-interchangeably, where "glitter" referred to particles and flakes large enough to be individually distinguishable from a moderate distance, and "metal flake" to be where the pieces are small enough to look like an iridescent surface unless you get right up close, and there were additional terms being used for paint with other sizes of glitter in them (such as "shimmer"). Since that's on a forum where there's no shortage of people... well, guys... being defensive of their masculinity, I'm going to accept that these are terms of art with distinct and different meanings, even if they frequently get conflated outside the trade.
posted by ardgedee at 8:12 AM on January 31


so, is the glitter why they're called watercraft?
posted by scruss at 5:45 AM on February 15 [2 favorites]


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