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History Of Marbles Made Abroad


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Of course there's a lot known. A lot of notes elsewhere. Especially for marbles from Germany.

Just found an intriguing reference for marbles from Japan and needed a place to put it. Not sure what the credibility of a bartenders' union's publication would be for information about the toy marble industry, but I still found this interesting.


From the April 15, 1907 issue of The Mixer and Server. The context is the desire for tariff's to protect domestic U.S. industries. Just a tiny snippet about marbles among several other examples of imports from Japan:

Japanese glass marbles of much beauty sell for a cent apiece, . . .

Some more while I'm in the neighborhood . . .


Possibly a mention of export of toy marbles from Japan to different parts of the world, possibly including Europe, South-East Asia, Central and South America, .... Mentions "Glass marble". I can only guess it's the toy version.

Trade and Industry of Japan


A History of Glass in Japan, by Dorothy Blair, Corning Museum of Glass. The book at least mentions marbles, and it seems as if they might be early ones, as in circa 1900. I need to either get the book, or have some fun on Google ferreting out more of the passage.


The Glass Marble Industry of Hongkong, by SC Wu, in Vol. 20 of the Far Eastern Economic Review. Discusses marbles made in Hong Kong and Japan. I should get the book. However in this case I was able to read a lot just by playing around and teasing out extra snippets of the book. Here is a summary I posted last year of what I read. In particular, cat's eye production in Hong Kong seems to have started in 1954 in response to Japan's success.


In 1951 Osaka is a center for glass balls and marbles, according to The Oriental Economist, A Monthly Journal of Practical Finance and Economics.

Dorothy Blair's history also mentioned Osaka specifically.

Have found 1950 and 1949 references also:

1950, The Oriental Economist

1949, Foreign Commerce WEEKLY


Trade Directory of Japan comes up with a search for Osaka and "glass marbles" (in quotation marks). Not even a snippet view available on Google though.


Japan Trade Guide: With a Comprehensive Mercantile Directory. This appears to give a manufacturer for Azuma brand marbles. I can't see the company name in the snippet but it's nifty to know it's there. I thought we might never be able to find names of Japanese marble making companies. Just need to figure out how to get my hands on the full texts.

Other notes:

Seeing 1947 as what appears to be a founding date for a glass bead and marble company, unsure of location but mentioned in an Osaka trade directory. Seeing what looks like possibly 1967 for Camel brand marbles.

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