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Akro Timeline


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1911 - 1914, the Akron era. Akro started by jobbering MFCs.

The earliest known Akro box,  the mailer the box came in, plus an early Akro ad.

Not sure the source of the above ad.  Basically the same ad could be found in different publications.

Here's a series of ads George Sourlis sent dated from 1911 to 1915. (No similar one found for 1914 yet.)  


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1914, Akro made a very fast move to Clarksburg, WV and quickly went into marble production.

Possibly the first Clarksburg ad, from a December 1914 Playthings Magazine:





2015 edit to add Red Striped Carnelian box, courtesy of Jeff Lewis:

Red Striped Carnelian, Clarksburg


Red Striped Carnelian, Clarksburg

Old rambling continues here :) -->

Odd thing -- the white onyx wasn't in the MFC line at the time.

It is odd because Akro was using MFC glass formulas on machines designed by Martin Christensen. Horace Hill had modified the machines at Akro just enough to convince the patent office to award him a new patent. However, the machines were so very similar that that it was later decided that the patent should not have been granted. (if I understand correctly) Hill's version of the machine never worked very well -- it had a high error rate.

In any case, Akro's early marbles were basically MFC's made at a different location and it hardly seems possible to me that Hill would have had the time, much less the expertise, to roll out a new marble style.

The golden yellow is a bit of a puzzle since it seems to have been a low production item for MFC, perhaps even experimental. However the White Onyx was one of their regular production items and a specific date is known for its introduction -- Sept. 12, 1915 -- nine months after Akro first advertised it.

I need clarification on whether Sept. 12 is when it went into production or was announced, or what.

Another ad for the keystone box, from about 1916

It looks like the publication is called "Something To Do". Al's bibliography mentions an ad in a Sept. 1915 Something To Do, but this page shows a 1916 magazine. This time the box is said to contain five different colors of striped onyx, so apparently at least one additional color has been introduced:




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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...


All About Marbles, A Little Book for Boys

Published by Akro Agate, Clarksburg, W. Va.

(click to enlarge)

1926_AllAboutMarbles_Cover-1.jpg 1926_AllAboutMarbles_2_3-1.jpg

1926_AllAboutMarbles_4_5-1.jpg 1926_AllAboutMarbles_6_7-1.jpg

The 4 page advertisement insert starts here:

1926_AllAboutMarbles_8_I-1.jpg 1926_AllAboutMarbles_II_III-1.jpg

1926_AllAboutMarbles_IV_9-1.jpg 1926_AllAboutMarbles_10_11-1.jpg

1926_AllAboutMarbles_12_13-1.jpg 1926_AllAboutMarbles_14_15-1.jpg

A closer up shot of the Cardinal Reds and Cornelians. Impressive detail:

(click to enlarge)


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A folded pricelist from Akro, found with a 1926 letter advertising Cornelians. The pricelist is sealed with a 1 1/2 cent Warren Harding stamp.

(click to enlarge)



The Cornelian letter:

Akro_Cornelian_Envelope_1926_09_-1.jpg Akro_Cornelian_letter_1926_09_01-1.jpg

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Perhaps 1926 or 1927. The slags and the art make it seem like it could be a 1920's item. To the best of my ability to judge. We might learn a lot from comparing notes with a vintage fashion site, huh? :-)

O' Boy! gift box.

(click to enlarge)

th_post-279-1189804209.jpg th_post-279-1189804216.jpg

From the Marquee auction description:

Akro Agate Rare "O'Boy" Original Gift Box - Here's a rare find that will be a highlight in any collection. It's an "
O'boy Gift Box
" measuring 8" x 11" the likes of which has been featured in the book
"Complete Line of Akro Agate"
by Roger and Claudia Hardy, you can see an example on page 28. These contained different items, this one has a bowtie, a fancy note pad, and a metal "block" pencil which has a ruler stamped on it, all of which can actually be used or in the case of the tie actaullay worn. Each gift box came with a No.16 "blue sleeve" of marbles, this one is in practically pristine condition with vibrant colors and very crisp construction with no tears or wear, the five pretty slags inside appear original to the box and are in Mint condition with minor box grime. The graphics in the box of a boy dressed in clothing of the time is in excellent shape with no wear or fading, the bottom of the box does have a small tear in one side flap. The top of the box has seen better days with two corners torn with a very frayed flap along the side, the "wrapping" paper over the cardboard is torn and stained with an old Christmas gift sticker placed on one corner of the lid. So, the contents below the lid are in Mint condition, the lid itself falls in the Good realm.

I actually found many ads with ties being sold with various items. But usually only one item. Tie & marbles. Tie & harmonica. Tie & pencil. to name a few examples. So if those came all together I guess that was pretty special.

The tie could be silk or rayon. Maybe others materials. It might be a bow tie or a "four-in-hand". Or just a boy's tie without specifying. The earliest ad I recall at the moment was from 1926. One 1926 ad actually specified the Akro brand. That wasn't the usual practice. Another 1926 ad said the marbles in the tie set were imported.

Anyway, here are a 1926 ad mentioning Akro and a 1932 ad with a drawing of a gift set.

(click to enlarge)

th_1926_10_29_p4_SanAntonioTX_AkroMibs.jpg . . th_1932_12_06_BowTieGiftSet_RenoNV.jpg

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(in process of reformatting this one, bringing together material from multiple sources)

1929 and later -- "Imperials"

IMHO, and in the more educated opinion of some others, the original imperials were silver oxbloods. After that many different, premium types of Akros were distributed in the Imperial boxes. Perhaps the originals didn't go over as well as had been hoped and there were surplus boxes.

Letter introducing Imperials, dated January 23, 1929

(click the links below the thumbnails to enlarge)





Part of the progression of "Imperials":

(click the links below the thumbnails)







The 2nd to last box was Craig's but this is the marble Craig calls an Imperial. He had it for sale in December:


Edit: I think Craig's box was backfilled from marbles in a huge lot of new old stock he acquired.

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April 1929 -- Cracker Jack promotion

crackerjackads-2.jpg . . . crackerjackads2-2.jpg

a few extras. A coupon which might have come in a Cracker Jack box, and what is said to be a Cracker Jack prize from 1928. The wrapper says "Genuine Agate". Supposedly the "right" marble to find in the wrapper is a red and blue swirl. This is according to a Cracker Jack specialist, not an Akro specialist. I am not aware of a red and blue marble made by Akro in 1928.

th_CJAAGATE_016-1.jpg th_CJAAGATE_017-1.jpg th_1928_CJ_RedBlueSwirl.jpg

July 1929 -- Jobbers Price List

1929_07_01_AkroJobbersPriceList_-1.jpg 1929_07_01_AkroJobbersPriceList_-2.jpg

Sliding this in ... is 1929 the year of the pivotal lawsuit against Peltier?

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1929 - 1930, the birth of the corkscrew and the last days of the slag

1930, The Prize Name Naming Contest

Akro Prize Name box with contest coupons.

(click to enlarge)

th_post-279-1210639096.jpg th_post-279-1210639108.jpg th_post-279-1210639119.jpg th_post-279-1210639129.jpg


Some text from the enclosure introducing the prize names and explaining the contest:

. . .

In presenting to our juvenile customers this beautiful new line of marbles, we have been at a loss to find a suitable name to describe them, therefore we will put it up to our boy and girl friends to give this new marble a name.

. . .

Attached you will find ten coupons. Give one to each customer who purchases ten of these marbles. They will fill in his or her name and address with with their suggestions for a name for our new marble, and mail to THE AKRO AGATE COMPANY, CLARKSBURG, W. VA.

. . .

As soon as possible after the Contest closes, we will have three judges, men of national reputation in marble games, select the most fitting name from all of the suggestions sent us.

. . .

We now manufacture marbles under the following names: Akro Striped Onyx, Akro Cardinal Red, Akro Moonie, Akro Imperial and Akro Flintie.


Then came the contest rules. There were to be five prizes, ranging from $10 to $100. The deadline for entries was Midnight, May 1, 1930. And winners were to be announced in the June issue of Boys' Life. I have a copy of that issue but do not see anything from or about Akro.

Presumably the original color combinations:


I believe that some ads continued to list these combos even though more were available very soon.

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The 1930's

Don't know the year on this, but it's a classic.

Likely after Feb. 15, 1932 considering the size on the Glassies. See later post.

(click to enlarge)



I have some close-ups to add at a later date.


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Sometime in 1930, and I'll have to guess toward the end of the year.

This is from a reproduction of a 1930-1931 catalog, image sent by George Sourlis. It places Akro's original Tri-color agates in 1930 (Note, the original tri-color agates were corkscrews, i.e., the mibs we call "specials" today). And it calls 'em Rainbow!

(click to enlarge)

The marbles:




Dec. 1930

On p. 11 of The Complete Line of The Akro Agate Co. (1992), the Hardy's show an ad for "this new Akro Agate game called CLICK".

Also mentioned in the ad is a "new Akro Agate Prize Contest". (still waiting to hear the outcome on the old one!)

Also mentioned are "three new Akro Agate assortments with marble bags".

Click game, from a Block auction.

(click to enlarge)
th_post-279-1186783273.jpg th_post-279-1186783279.jpg th_post-279-1186783285.jpg th_post-279-1186783291.jpg th_post-279-1186783296.jpg

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Copyright 1931, The Akro Kings game

There is also Click. What year was that?

Sliding this in:

1931, Big Time Marbles Comic/Ads in Boy's Life Magazine.

Old-fashioned looking cartoon boys - I think the same cartoon boys used on the Ringer Marble Sets

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Early 1930's, Catalogs and other circulars of uncertain age

[coming soon]

lol - "coming soon". How long have I been saying that? Here's one of the pages I keep planning to incorporate. I can't seem to get them all together at once. So I'll just start here:

I have "1930ish" on these photos from Dani.  I have bigger copies somewhere.  






Here's one example of why they're of such uncertain age! WARNING: it's complicated. I'm still working on a better way to say it. It will likely become easier, or unnecessary, as I include more examples.

This illustration of the No. 32 and No. 64 display cartons was recycled into multiple brochures. This particular example came from the scan Dani posted.


In Dani's version, the descriptions of the contents do not match the illustrations.

The original descriptions might actually have been the ones shown in the catalog on p. 17 of American Machine-Made Marbles. Page three of the catalog. Here are the contents from that page:

No. 32:


Contains six dandy No. 1 Shooters and 4 No. 0 size assorted "Moss Agates," "Moonies," and "Flinties." Retails at 5c.

No. 64:


Contains 10 beautiful No. 1 Shooters and 8 No. 0 assorted "Moss Agates," "Moonies," and "Flinties." Retail price 10c.

If you are aware of Moss Agates once having been a swirled type of marble, you might recognize them through the windows in the cartons. These are the kind which have "exquisite patterns", as described in some ads. They include the Ades and the Blue Eggyolks. Here is a sample box of that sort of Moss Agate, with salesman's price label affixed.

(click to enlarge) (click the links below the thumbnails for the larger copies)









In post #10 here, Intriguing Akro Box, Clyde describes another box like this.

HOWEVER, though the contents listed on page three of the catalog in AMMM match the illustration on that page, there are several inconsistences between that page and the others. I won't try to be more specific at the moment because if you don't have the catalog in front of you, the comparison would shoot 18 light years past "complicated". And if you do have the catalog in front of you, then you might want to try to sort the consistencies out yourself.

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1932, Glassies Size Update

I sorta hope this is a clue to dating ads which mention No. 2 glassies. Hope it means they would have come after February of 1932, but there's some conflicting info still being worked out in one of those other ads with No. 2 glassies. It's at least remotely possible that Akro might have sent out a letter for completely different reasons. It's remotely possible that they said they were getting requests for an unadvertised item, when in fact they were failing to get requests for an advertised item, so they wanted to pump up interest. (Just brainstoming while I wait for word on some of those inconsistencies which seem to place at least one catalog with #2 glassies in the year 1931.)


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After 1932?

Possibly 1934 or later? When was the "new" Akro carnelian actually new?

(click links below the thumbnails for larger images - might need to doubleclick for full size)

AkroAgateCatalog1of4-1.jpg . . AkroAgateCatalog2of4-1.jpg

AkroAgateCatalog3of4-1.jpg . . AkroAgateCatalog4of4-1.jpg





In reference to a recent prize name discusion, at this point Akro definitely had white-based Prize Names, but the ad company wouldn't necessarily have known it.

There was an ad maybe from around this time which had the color combos dropped, but that was one where there were pix of the prize names. Pix which didn't match the description in the ad. The proofreader would have flagged that and finally the outdated text was cut. (that's my theory)

Close up of one of the more unusual parts of the ad:

I recently learned that all of these bags have been seen in modern times. The only ones I've seen pix of are Hotshots. It has been suggested that the Liberty bags were related to the advertisement bag at the bottom of this pic.

(click link for larger image)



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