Estate Sale for the boatbuilder who built boats for the “Swiss Family Robinson” movie

Ahoy! Navigate to Gibsonia for a huge estate sale featuring 20+ sailboats and antiques from around the globe.

by Lindsay Patross
May 14, 2021

I saw a posting for this sale on the Instagram account for Turn Key Liquidators, one of several Pittsburgh area companies that manage estate sales. (If you are interested in seeing some of their upcoming sales, I recommend following their Instagram account @turnkeyliquidators.) I love browsing old stuff and our story on the Netflix Mindhunter prop sale from a few years ago was quite popular.

I am glad I stopped to read the caption on Instagram because this is a fascinating estate sale! This is a sale for John and Sheila Bridges. John has had a career in woodworking and forestry products and is an expert boat builder — including two boats that were used in the “Swiss Family Robinson” movie. Researching John Bridges’ work has taken me down a fascinating rabbit hole on boatbuilding.

Are there other boatbuilders in the Pittsburgh area? We’d love to learn more! Send an email to [email protected]

John Bridges & Boatbuilding around the globe

John Bridges career in wood and boat building. According to a post on the website for the Cleveland Amateur Boatbuilding and Boating Society, John has sailed boats around the world. In Trinidad, he built two boats that were used in the “Swiss Family Robinson” movie.

From the Cleveland Amateur Boatbuilding and Boating Society website:

“In Trinidad John took on his most ambition effort, creating a Chinese junk for the Disney studios. He worked from sketches by Disney artists to design a sailing junk built over the hull of another boat. The 90 ft. boat, carvel planked from pitch pine was featured in the 1960 movie Swiss Family Robinson. Also for the film John built two longboats using plans for those used aboard the BOUNTY sailed by Captain Bligh.”


According to a 2006 article from the Tribune-Review about the Lake Arthur Regatta, John was active with the Moraine Sailing Club.

John wrote about his lifetime of sailing and boatbuilding in this 2016 newsletter for the Moraine Sailing Club.

May 15 -John & Shiela Bridges Estate Sale Details

In addition to some handcrafted sailboats, the sale features antiques, woodworking equipment/tools, and a 1985 Ford F150 truck. You can preview the estate sale by looking at the 600+ photos that Turn Key Liquidators has shared online.

Here is a partial list of what is available:

  • 1985 Ford Explorer Pick Up Truck Standard Cab. Long Bed. Manual
  • Bobbin Turned Turner’s Chair
  • Wicker Bucket Tub Chair
  • South American Hand Made Leather Ottomans/Poofs
  • Spinning Wheels
  • German Erzegebirge Christmas Pyramid
  • Adjustable Wooden Candlesticks & Plant Stands
  • English Oak Joint Stool
  •  African Ghana Asanti Stool
  • Wooden Hand Turned Mushrooms
  • Cow Horn Cups
  • Brass Candlesticks
  • Hand Carved Wooden Plant Stand w Folding Legs
  • Chilean Leather Bookmarks
  • Danish Modern Teak and Ceramic Table Lamp
  • Whee-Lo Magnetic Spinning Wheel
  • Hot Wheels All Pro YoYo
  • Chad Valley Compendium of Games
  • Brass Bed Warmer
  • G. Schwechten Upright Piano- Original Tags from Horse & Carriage Delivery Still In Tact
  • Carved Lectern
  • 1913 Spode Copeland Pheasants Butter Dish
  • Elephant Bells
  • Sherries by Dema Stemware
  • Mikasa Annette Pattern
  • Pie Bird
  • Victorian Flatware
  • Hand Carved Bible Box
  • House Plants
  • Brass Etched Bowl
  • Hand Carved Wooden “Bedoya” Stirrups
  • A Chinese Export Blue & White Porcelain Tulip Vase
  • 1909 Royal Delft Large Ginger Jar Vase
  • Classic Heartwood Dondo Talking Drum with Stick
  • Moroccan Tbilat Pottery Drum
  • Peruvian Carvings
  • African Mangbetu Carved Figural Instrument
  • Irish Harp
  • Amethyst
  • Bamboo Angklung Instrument
  • Vintage Duke Kahanamoku Wood Ukulele
  • 19th C German Silver Mounted Violin Bow by R. Weichold
  • W.E. Hill & Sons Violin
  • Various Sized Dulcimers
  • Chilean Pottery
  • Pomaire Chilean Folk Art Pottery
  • 1914 Cyclist Training Booklet
  • WWI Cockpit Watch Mk II 8 Day Admiralty Royal Naval Air Service Military Issued by Thomas Armstrong and Brother Ltd of Manchester
  • Smiths Stop Watch
  • Pochette / Pocket Fiddle
  • Antique Elmwood Chest
  • Adler Bass Recorder
  • Scrapbooks & Photographs
  • Woven Rugs & Blankets
  • Wakamba Carvings
  • Antique Swiss Made Andenmatten Ice Axe
  • Wills & Lambert Cigarette Cards
  • Small Appliances
  • Pyrex “Spring Blossom”
  • Pyrex “Gooseberry”
  • Vintage Green Costco Stool
  • Kikuyu Simu- Fighting Sword
  • South American Folk Art
  • Dickinson Belskie Birth Atlas
  • Woven Baskets
  • Audubon Prints
  • Art Supplies
  • Sewing Supplies
  • Vintage Clothing
  • Hand Carved Yoke
  • Macramé Décor
  • Aneroid Barometer
  • Northumbrian Small Pipes by David Burleigh
  • Pair of Antique Copper Nautical Lanterns
  • Starburst Mirror
  • Big Loader Construction Set
  • Hand Tools
  • Clamps
  • Wood Planes
  • Universal Shop Smith
  • Craftsman Bench Grinder
  • Abundance of Rough Cut Hardwoods
  • Wooden Barrels
  • Craftsman Wood Chipper
  • Wooden Crates
  • Galvanized Watering Cans
  • T.A. Schmid Bandsaw Mill
  • Hand Crafted Sail Boats by Expert Builder
  • Heavy Duty Big-4 4-Wheel Wheel Barrel
  • Husqvarna Riding Mower with Plow

📸 All photos courtesy of Turn Key Liquidators.

Pittsburgh born and raised, Lindsay has been writing about the people who love Pittsburgh since 2008.

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