Fantasy Glass

The World is Full of Glass

Historical Glass in the US: Marbles

Marbles

Most Americans that were children predating the Internet and cable TV probably had a jar like this in their closet or on a bedroom shelf. Marbles were beautiful colored balls of glass that are a part of American history. Now, they’re being collected for their beauty and rarity. The marble is one of the most beloved forms of historical glass in the US.

Marbles

When Marbles Were Mainly For Kids

Marbles was a game that almost all kids played at one time or another. It was primarily played by boys, but there were girls that enjoyed it too and could give the boys a run for their money.

On nice days, kids would grab their jar (or bag) of prized marbles and head outside to find a smooth, level spot to play a game against friends. The game was usually played by flicking a marble to knock the opponents’ marbles from a circle drawn on the ground.

Rules were often made up and flexible. Some games were just played for fun. Everyone went home with their own marbles. These games were called “friendlies” or “fairsies“. Other times, the games were competitive and played for “keepsies” where the winner kept the opponents’ marbles. Losing a prized glass marble in a game of keepsies was a crushing blow.

Even with kids in the past, glass marbles were collectible. When one child had a super neat one they could often get a good trade. Adults that kept their glass marbles from childhood have American treasures.

History of Marbles

Glass balls

Marbles have been around for years and were part of a favorite kid’s game mainly during the mid 1900s. However, the first clay balls believed to be marbles were found in Egypt tombs and a 200-300 AD Indian mound. Handmade glass marbles from Germany were made that are still treasured by collectors today.

The glass marbles that Americans are most familiar with began to be machine produced around the 1900s. Marbles were produced in America for years until “cat’s eye” marbles from China came into production. Every child wanted those beauties and the end of the popularity of the American glass marble had begun.

Even famous presidents have been reported as being fans of the game of marbles. George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and other prominent figures were big fans. In fact if you visit the house of John Adams you can see why marbles were so popular, there was nothing else to do in the old days!

Tiny Glass Spheres of Art

There were hundreds of different kinds of glass marbles produced in America and around the world. While the original marbles were affordable to kids, selling for a couple of cents each, today’s collectors pay thousands of dollars for exquisite examples.

There were many types of glass marbles. Some were named for different purposes in the game (shooters, mibs), and others had names describing their look or materials (clambroths, sulfides).

A few examples of American glass marbles that are highly collectable are:

Rare marble Sandy

Comic Peltier Marble “Sandy”

This comic marble depicts Orphan Annie’s dog “Sandy” on a white marble. On the reverse side there is a milky royal blue patch. Comic marbles were made for a limited time and are fairly rare. This marble is valued by its collector at $125.00

Akro Agate Limeade Oxblood Ace UV

The unique thing about this glass marble is its ability to glow under UV light due to its uranium oxide content. This unusual marble is valued by its collector at $250.00.

Christensen Agate Co. Clear Guinea

A patchwork of colors of green, orange, yellow and brown swirl around this clear beauty with a white center. This marble is valued by its collector at $495.00

Oxblood Marble

Transitional Leighton Oxblood

From the period of 1880-1910, this highly collectible oxblood marble is valued at $1200-$2000.

The American Toy Marble Museum in Akron, OH is a great place to learn more about this historical American glass.

5 Best Stained Glass Pieces in the US

washington national cathedral

Stained glass is truly amazing. It has been the main features for churches, train stations, historical buildings and so much more. This interesting, and often expensive, art work is revered around the globe and people are willing to travel thousands of miles to see these intricate pieces. Here’s a list of the 5 best stained glass pieces in the US that you should see.

5. Resurrection Cemetery in Justice, IL

Stained Glass

Resurrection Cemetery is home to the largest stained glass window in the world. It is over 22,000 square feet and contains over 2,000 panels. It was created by Pickel Studio. At night the cemetery sometimes back lights the mausoleum and it looks stunning.

4. The Chicago Cultural Center in Chicago, IL

tiffany dome in chicago

Another Illinois feat of stained glass wonder, the Chicago Cultural Center is said to be home to the largest Tiffany dome in the world. If you look closely enough you can see zodiac signs embossed at the peak.

3. University of Kansas in Lawrence, KS

Stained glass American flag

This $200,000 American flag is 40 feet high, over 900 pieces and is the largest stained glass flag in existence. It’s located in the Dole Institute of Politics.

2. Christian Science Center in Boston, MA

mapparium

The Mapparium is a 3 story tall stained glass globe. Unlike most globes, you get to view this one from the inside. It depicts the country borders as the world was in 1935. The hard, spherical shape acts as a whispering gallery, where you can hear sound from across the room as if it were next to you.

1. Washington National Cathedral in Washington D.C.

washington national cathedral

The second largest cathedral in the US and the sixth largest in the world, the Washington National Cathedral attracts over 400,000 viewers a year. This cathedral features over 200 stained glass windows with the most famous being the Space Window – featuring a tribute to man’s first mission to the moon. In addition there’s a slew of memorial stained glass pieces dedicated to heroes and moments of the past.