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Idle Question For An Expert


ann
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Among other things, I already had a very nice small collection of Peltier slags before I stumbled over the Joker run on ebay - - and got hooked there too, obviously. As I was playing with -- er -- looking at both the other night (not simultaneously) it occurred to me to ask those of you on this board who know or have had marble / glass conversations with Dave McCullough: has he ever speculated about, or have any of you ever asked him (as today's master of machine-made marbles) how the heck Peltier managed to produce those crazy-fine featherings in their slags?

Feel free to direct me to the archive file if it's been discussed before -- I go there and scratch around pretty regularly anyway --

Thanks,

Ann

(not the one with the iphone game!)

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Hi Ann,

I'm not a real expert, and I didn't ask Dave about it, but I suspect they just tossed a bunch of crunched up white into a tank of transparent colored glass, and that's what happened, slightly simplified.

mike b.

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Mike, your answer is provocatively simple.

Does that mean you don't attribute the feathering to any particular processes described in any particular patents? Is it still on the level of unsolved mystery for you?

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Nothing in the records describes the actual process used to make the feathery slags, but they are a single stream marble, and not really that mysterious. If they threw a scoop of white chunks of glass in the far end of a tank of colored transparent, the white would stretch out into long, thin threads as it flows toward the discharge end of the tank. When the hot viscous gob of glass is cut, it would elongate some as it drops to the chute which leads to the rollers, and would, upon hitting the chute, immediately roll into a ball, wrapping the white-threaded drip around. It would just happen, with different results depending on the temperature of the glass, the distance of the drop, and other variables. Daves marbles are also single stream, with a different set up, where he has three crucible tubes above the funnel at the discharge end of the tank. They don't have to do anything to get that nice folded pattern, it just happens due to the way it's set up.

The super feathered slags made my Mike E.and other contemporary artists are a completely different process than the machine made marbles.

mike

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I think Pelt slag feathering is more than just white strings, it's more like white vanes. The optical chatoyancy comes from stacking wide, flat ribbons of white, something like window blinds. The wider and closer together the vanes, the more chatoyant they are.

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hey Ann...personally, i think the feathery Pelt slags were made using the process described in US Patent #1927650. there was a discussion over on LOM where i suggested this idea. most people don't care to read through details and imagine the method and device described in the patent paperwork. (i applaud anyone who can make it through the entire thread on LOM.) :)

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There's was a patent submitted in 1928 which talks about transparent base glass and it talks about controlling the ribbons somewhat. Mentions "one or more" openings through which ribbon glass could go. I don't know whether this patent was for slags or for more multi-color marbles or whether it was even ever used. It's one which has been mentioned before in possible connection with feathering because it talks about jiggling the glass somehow.

As curious as I am about it I'm reluctant to talk about it 'coz it's a patent - for a machine *shudder* - and it could be years and years before I understand it, at least without some help.

So, my general question right now, which I hope is connected enough to Ann's question, is/was something like Are those patents worth studying for figuring out feathering. Or have the people who know Pelt stuff well gone through them and ruled them out for feathering? Maybe ruled them in for other types of mibs?

And Mike of course knows the Pelt stuff.

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uh sorry, Paula. I was too busy shuddering over machinery to reload before I posted. I've only just now recovered enough to see that you posted minutes before me.

(now that I'm back from a therapeutic session of playing with kitty cats)

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My unpopular thought is that the set up described in that patent, or a variation of it, was used for the early wildly swirled "Millers".

For the slags, white chunks of cullet would melt onto the surface of the tank of base glass, and spread out some as it stretches to the other end of the tank, becoming thin, flat threads, I'm thinking. I know nothing about their chatoyancy.

thanks,

mike

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Thanks to everyone -- this has been really interesting. I DID go over and read the entire thread on LOM, and printed out the 1928 patent last night before I left work, and read it at home, at my leisure. The patent was actually a model of clarity in comparison to some of the things I've had to read over the years (try early and mid-20th-century archaeological excavation reports from the Near East and southern Russia, for sites dating to the 1st millennium BC. That'll get you going!). And I have to say that if you do take the time to read the patent and locate all the reference points on the drawings, like marblemover says, it actually seems obvious that the machine, if built, would produce the feathered slags Peltier is famous for.

In general, overall operation, it worked essentially as migbar describes. And referring to the thread on LOM, it also could probably have produced at least the early wildly-patterened "Miller" swirls, and with some adjustments (also provided for in the patent) even the earlier multicolored swirls. But going only by the language used in the patent itself, it seemed clear to me that the intention was to produce the machine-made slags that Peltier did, in fact, produce. The descriptions of the "striating" materials and the "striations" and their distribution sounded exactly like the close-packing of "vanes" on edge (mentioned in this thread by semdot) rather than lines -- in transparent glass, so that the special effect would be very noticable. I'd also like to thank semdot for giving me a great new vocabulary word in chatoyant! It's also exactly that right word to use when speaking of the "Shadow" mib by Mike e that I have, even though the effect was produced by an entirely different method --

Ann

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"I DID go over and read the entire thread on LOM, and printed out the 1928 patent last night before I left work, and read it at home, at my leisure."

The first Peltier slags were apparently made in 1924 and the experts don't seem to be able to prove one way or the other whether regular slags were made first or the feathered ones were or some combination. Does your reading of the 1928 patent give any indication of which came first or how the patent changed the way Peltier made slags?

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The first Peltier slags were apparently made in 1924 and the experts don't seem to be able to prove one way or the other whether regular slags were made first or the feathered ones were or some combination. Does your reading of the 1928 patent give any indication of which came first or how the patent changed the way Peltier made slags?

No, unfortunately. There was no mention, for instance, of this patent being an "improvement" over an earlier machine. One could "read into" it that this machine had been developed to do that, but I've been well-trained to not "read anything into" anything. I think the best that can be said (and it's not really any help with the early slag issue) is that it's clear from the patent that the "feathering" was an effect that thay were or had been striving for, and that this machine had solved the problem.

Whether or not there were (1) Peltier hand-gathered slags, then (2) Peltier machine-made slags with no particular distinguishing characteristics, and then (3) Peltier's very distinctive feathered slags -- or whether -- well, any other scenario you might want to imagine. Are there very many slags that have been identified as pre-fethered Peltier? I'd assume they would have to have been found in original packaging for the ID to be made?

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Would this be considered feathering?

Yep. But there are some really extreme examples of the "stacked-blinds-on-edge" feathering where the vanes/blinds are unbelievably thin and unbelievably close together. Keep an eye out for them! No, don't. I want them. They're remarkable.

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No, unfortunately. There was no mention, for instance, of this patent being an "improvement" over an earlier machine. One could "read into" it that this machine had been developed to do that, but I've been well-trained to not "read anything into" anything. I think the best that can be said (and it's not really any help with the early slag issue) is that it's clear from the patent that the "feathering" was an effect that thay were or had been striving for, and that this machine had solved the problem.

Whether or not there were (1) Peltier hand-gathered slags, then (2) Peltier machine-made slags with no particular distinguishing characteristics, and then (3) Peltier's very distinctive feathered slags -- or whether -- well, any other scenario you might want to imagine. Are there very many slags that have been identified as pre-fethered Peltier? I'd assume they would have to have been found in original packaging for the ID to be made?

So many questions... I can't answer and am not aware of who can. My hope for you and us that these questions create more questions that leads to appropriate documentation. I have been told that the first Pelt slags were hand gather, machine made hence "transitionals." It seems to me though that no one is sure, but I plan on asking a lot more questions of many. You may prove that what is "known" now is "bibliographic echo" or it is true.Either way, we all win and get to learn from your journey. Thank you

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The 1928 patent would not make feathered slags. The striping would be one irregular thick and thin line from the side port to the well, or two irregular lines if both side ports are used. It would not create the multitudinous parallel lines of the feathered slags. Neither am I convinced that the early multi-color swirls were made by this method, or even that they are single stream marbles. Despite the patent mentioning clear or transparent glass, I believe in actual practice, they used primarily opague glass with this patent, to make marbles such as zebras, tigers and wasps, ruby bees, cub scouts, spidermans, rebels, and even christmas trees, etc.

The first Peltier slags were hand gathered, and then they made them in several different ways. I believe the feathered ones were later.

(All strictly my conjecture, not to be taken as fact necessarily.)

mike

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The little bit I know is that the date seems funky for new slag developments. Not impossible, but in competition with other developments at Peltier.

Mike what do you know about when NLRs were made?

My best guess is that they were on their way out in 1932. The mibs I think of as "tweeners" seem to be popping up in packaging from about that year.

On the other hand, I think that slags and tweeners have been found together in the same 1932-ish packaging.

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As I remember, the marble inventory reports suggest that by 1928, Peltier was making less of the "onyx" marbles, and more of the "agate" types.

The patent for making the NLR type marbles, using a funnel with usually six holes, and 3 channels from each side of the forehearth to the funnel, was filed February 6th, 1931. I don't know how long they were made.

I don't know nothing 'bout tweeners.

mike

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The 1928 patent would not make feathered slags. The striping would be one irregular thick and thin line from the side port to the well, or two irregular lines if both side ports are used. It would not create the multitudinous parallel lines of the feathered slags.

The only thing I'd contest is that the 1928 machine wouldn't produce the feathering effect. It's hard to explain or describe, but the "striating material" (note also that the word chosen is "striating," not "striping") introduced through either one or both side ports would not necessarily produce just one or two irregular lines if the striating material (let's just call it the "white") was cullet or batch glass broken or crushed into very small pieces, just like that used in the new video of one of the special marble runs at Jabo. That could easily form multiple small or thin lines right there. But the main point of the patent was to (1) lengthen the distance from the tank (if some white had already been introduced from the back) but especially from the ports, to the first "drop" towards the shears, in order to draw out or thin the white more than was customary, and (2) induce the thinned white to fold over itself multiple times (the two sets of slanted bushings, plus the slow-down or little "pile-up" just before the final drop), thereby forming the striations. The plunger doohickey at the top would allow even more variations.

But I agree that it wouldn't necessarily make a lot of sense to go to all that trouble to get just a swirl, or even a "Miller" type swirl, when most or all of the colors would be opaque. There would be no point in striving for visual depth to that extent even if one of the colors used WAS transparent. But the addition of the ability to control the heighth of the two drops (the adjustable vertical extension blocks) and the thickness of the striating material COULD have produced them. I just doubt very seriously that the machine was developed and patented to produce swirls. It would only really make sense if it were developed to produce a distinctive slag.

But hey. Who knows? Any machinists out there who'd like to give re-creating the thing a shot? Is the patent still in force, and still owned by Peltier? Sure wish I had more disposable income!

Ann

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Using all opague glass, the surface pattern would be zig-zaggy, folded, loopy, or flamey, which is fine by me. The striating material in the 1928 patent was added only through the two side ports, and dumped in one spot for each port. This material would melt together and form only one ribbon from each port, I promise, and I doubt that it would fold into parallel lines. The base glass was added from further back, not the striating glass.

I maintain that in order to get thin parallel lines as in the feathered slags, they would have to broadcast chunks of white from further back, and not simply dump it in one spot. Not much different than what Peltier did with the First and Second Run marbles awhile back.

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As I remember, the marble inventory reports suggest that by 1928, Peltier was making less of the "onyx" marbles, and more of the "agate" types.

The patent for making the NLR type marbles, using a funnel with usually six holes, and 3 channels from each side of the forehearth to the funnel, was filed February 6th, 1931. I don't know how long they were made.

Thanks. That's cool. Meshes with and fleshes out my general impressions. "Agate" types. Yes, I know that vocabulary. Good distinction from the Onyx types.

I don't know nothing 'bout tweeners.

mike

LOL. Anyway, here are pix of a possibly 1932-ish package containing feathered slags together with tweeners, i.e., "marbles which some call rainbos and some say look like they might be from the NLR era" . . *inhale deeply*.

LookAtTheCompartments.jpg

LookAtTheMarbles.jpg

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