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Transitionals Marbles Or Handmade Single Gather Marbles?


jeroen
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Hello,

I promesed. to post an article about this subject, so here it is.

Transitionals marbles or single gather handmade marbles.

I hope with this article to start a discussion about the group of marbles that are known as transitional marbles, such as those from Leighton and Navarre. But in this group are also marbles that in my opinion, and I spoke with other collectors also, do not belong to the Transitional marbles. I want to call them single gather handmade marbles.

The Leighton transitionals are in my opinion the true transtitional marbles because they were produced in the period that can be seen as a transition from hand made to machine made glass marbles. (although handmade marbles were produced in Germany until the 1920’s, long after the start of the Leighton transitionals)

But if you read Paul Baumann’s Collecting antique marbles 4th edition, page 116-121, one can read that it is not clear what kind of Marbles Leighton made, because he worked for many glass factories. Perhaps he did not make any marble at all!

The single gather handmade marbles that I speak of are different.

Some features of the single gather handmade marbles are:

- often a nine pattern, and a strong twist of the colored glass

- often as made blowout holes at the surface

- very well made faceted pontils. These pontils are often so well made that they are hardly visible. Showing that people back than took a lot of time and effort, to finish off these marbles as nice as possible. Probably because these glass marbles had to compete with the agate marbles from Idar Oberstein, which were very popular in those times.

Another evidence of the old age of these marbles is, that they are glowing greenish in the dark when hold under a black light. This phenomenon I caused by radio active particles in the glass. These particles affect the glass after a long time period. Usually this start after 100 years. It can be seen with the earliest hand made marbles. You won’t see it with Joseph coats, because they were produced in the 1910-1920 period, and are not old enough to glow under a black light. The single gather handmade marbles glow very strong, indicating that the glass is old.

Before these single gather marbles, there were stoneware marbles, like those from Rearen and Frechen. They started to produce them from about 1550. So after a very long period, the single gather marbles were the first glass marbles that were produced after a very long period. So transitional is not the right name for these marbles.

There is strong evidence these single gather marbles were produced in Germany, probably as early as 1820. A single gather marble was found in the Netherlands in the ground together with a coin dated 1837. These single gather marbles have been found in the ground in the Lauscha area in Germany as well. This is a strong indication that they were produced in Germany, and not in the USA.

On the website http://www.knikkerwereld.nl is more information about these old single gather marbles. The next part is an translation from Dutch into English, made with google translation, so excuses for the errors:

The Romans invented them (probably the Egyptians), but the "breakthrough" was in Thuringia. Around 1830 they tried to create marbles from a resource that is literally for the taking: glass. They wanted to compete with the agate marbles from Idar Oberstein, which were very popular at that time, but had one major drawback, they were expensive.

The first marbles were made in a way in which the tip of a glass rod is heated, so that it became viscous. The viscous mass was then pushed in, specially made wooden molds. By slightly turning the rod, the mold was well filled. Then, the mold was separated from the rod and allowed to cool. Then the mold was removed and the glass marble was created, which, however, still had to be updated manually, because this method left many bumps on the marble. All this took far too long, the production was too low, there must be created an alternative. These early marbles are now very rare and therefore very popular with collectors.

In 1848 Elias Greiner invented the marble scissors. This was the end of these handmade single gather marbles.

After the Romans made glass marbles about 2000 years ago, probably the single gather marbles from the Lauscha area were the first marbles that were produced at larger quantities. There are some 15th century glass marbles from Venice. A few of those marbles can be seen in the Murano glass museum.

As far as I know Leighton transitionals don’t have a faceted pontil, but a melted pontil. The Navarre marbles have the same kind of melted pontil. If there are Leighton marbles with a faceted pontil, the check with a blacklight can show if the glass is old or not.

The single gather handmade marbles come in several sizes, ranging from 5/8 to over 1-1/2 inch. The more colors the more valuable. I think this is a very nice group of marbles, and because these are the earliest German handmade glass marbles, they deserved to get the correct name, which is derived of how they were made.

Perhaps I have overseen things that might be of influence of my ideas, that these old marbles are indeed single gather handmade marbles. Things that might be in contradiction, or support these ideas. I hope to hear it from you.

So I hope to start a transition as to speak, to change the name for those old handmade marbles from transitional marbles into single gather handmade marbles. Because that is what they are in my opinion!

Jeroen

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You will find this interesting....Baumann even references my old web page:

http://web.archive.org/web/20061004093426/http://www.akronmarbles.com/elias_greiner_vetter.htm

and yet another page from my old website...

http://web.archive.org/web/20061004093643/http://www.akronmarbles.com/pontil_variations.htm

faceted pontil = german made earliest glass marbles

melted pontil = James Harvey Leighton made marbles

both of these marble types are made identically - gathered one at a time - just finished differently

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Hello,

Thank you for this interesting information. I have discussed about my artible with Jeroen van Valkenburg, who has a lot of knowledge about old handmade marbles. He told me that years ago he had conversations with late Alan Basinet about these kind of marbles.

It would be interesting to know if there is indeed not only a difference between faceted pontils for the old single gathered handmade, and non faceted for the Leighton types, but also if there is a good difference between them, on how they react under a black light. I hope there is someone with both Leighton, and the old faceted types, and put them together under a blacklight. If this is done in a dark place, the old one should glow greenish, and the Leighton not.

Jeroen

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Hello,

Thank you for this interesting information. I have discussed about my artible with Jeroen van Valkenburg, who has a lot of knowledge about old handmade marbles. He told me that years ago he had conversations with late Alan Basinet about these kind of marbles.

It would be interesting to know if there is indeed not only a difference between faceted pontils for the old single gathered handmade, and non faceted for the Leighton types, but also if there is a good difference between them, on how they react under a black light. I hope there is someone with both Leighton, and the old faceted types, and put them together under a blacklight. If this is done in a dark place, the old one should glow greenish, and the Leighton not.

Jeroen

Jeroen,

Marble collecting is replete with terms that are meaningless or inaccurate and hence confusing, especially to newer collectors. Some examples: end-of-day, submarine, chinas, indians, line crockery, lutz, clambroth, corn-husk, peppermint, butterscotch, onionskin, mist, handmade slag, handmade corkscrew, single gather paperweight, mist, transition, etc., etc., and that's not counting any names of machine made marbles!

The hobby needs crusaders like yourself to develop a better nomenclature. However, it's ironic that you've picked on transitions, because ever since akronmarbles published evidence that Leighton did not make leightons, few serious collectors use the term 'transition' or 'leighton'.

Instead, the definitions given in post #4 are currently used, and if necessary with the prefix 'hand-gathered':

faceted pontil = german made earliest glass marbles

melted pontil = James Harvey Leighton made marbles

A couple points about your initial posting, so as not to add to this confusion:

Leighton certainly did made marbles - reference to documentation can be found in the links provided by akronmarbles above.

Light green flourescence seen in soda glass under ultraviolet light has nothing to do with radioactivity nor age, although radioactive glass is highly flourescent and old glass usually does contain manganese, which I think is primarily responsible for the greenish glow.

(I don't understand flourescence in glass - google it, if you want to risk getting really confused.)

You're proposing the term "single gather handmade marble". Since all marble gathers are 'single', the word may be redundant.

Keep up the crusade - the hobby needs keen collectors like yourself - just try not to add to the confusion.

regards, Hansel

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Hello Hansel,

Thank you for your wise words. I have asked Jeroen van Valkenburg, if het can explain the blacklight issue and the glowing in the dark. I have seen that difference myself at his home between an old faceted swirl, and a Joseph Coat. He is an archaeologist from profession, and has a lot of knowledge about old glass. He can explain it better than I can.

As for the right name for this group.... The main difference between the Leighton marbles is the type of pontil. So faceted pontil hand gathered would be a good name. And if the Greiner were the only ones who made glass marbles in that period, we could also call them hand gathered Greiners. After the invention of the marble scissors, most marbles were cane cut marbles, but single gathered were still produced. I think the single pontil end of day marbles were also a kind of single gathered. Made from glass that was left over at the end of the day? Gatherd together to create an single gather marble. Correct me if I am wrong.

So a name is not so easy, but if a name covers 99% of all the marbles that were produced, I think we made good progress.

Any other suggestions for names ar welcome of course.

Jeroen

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Hello,

I got information from my friend, who told me that manganese is the cause of the clowing under a blacklight. Just like Hansel said. Until about 1880 manganese was a compontent of the glass. Afterwards it was no longer in the glass, at least not enough to have that glowing effect unde a blacklight.

Jeroen

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Manganese can a glow but not the greenish glow produced by uranium dioxide. Manganese is the clarifying agent that turns some earlier glass a beautiful purple when exposed to UV(sunlight) over a length of time. Or heavily bombarded with medical type UV lights for short periods.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well after the discussions seems to come to an end, what shall we call them? They are all single pontils. They have all faceted pontils, and they are handmade. What combination of these features can give a correct name?

Faceted pontil single handgathered? Or just faceted single handgathered. And is this "hand" necessary? It it possible to, as to speak "single gather" glass (collect glass), other than by hand? I think everybody knows what the faceted is referred to? No other part than the pontil on a marble has been faceted in tha past right?

So if somebody says I have a faceted single handgathered, than everyone should understand, that it is referred to those German marbles from before the invention of the marbles scissors that were made one by one by hand.

Just because of my lack of knowledge of the English language. Must it be in the situation without the word "hand", gather or gathered? So is faceted single gather right, or should it be gathered?

Regards,

Jeroen

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Vetters.jpg

Source: Official catalogue of the New-York exhibition of the industry of all nations. 1853. "Imitation agate marbles in glass"

The marble scissor was used to make both the cane cut marbles and the punty rod gathered examples Jeroen.

This is from an unpublished manuscript in my collection from Herbert Kühnert, titled “Elias Greiner – Vetters Sohn. (1793 – 1864) Ein Lebensbild ”. I believe this was penned in 1966.

“Nun griff Elias Greiner die herstellung der glasmärbel auf und fabrizierte sie in allen möglichen varianten bald in marmorierung bald in achat, Bernstein, lapis-lazuli, topasfärbung. Seinem farbenwerk gliederte er eine schleiferei an und hatte bald mit seinen märbeln schönsten erfolge. Da sich bei den von Elias in den handle gebrachten kugeln ein grosser teil des hertsellungprozesses vor jedermanns augen in der gemeinsamen Dorfhütte abspielte, und da gerade in jenen jahren der missernte, der teurung, der sozialen und politischen wirren sowie des schlechten gangs der althergebrachten hüttenerzeugnisse jeder noch so kleine technische und kaufmännische fortschritt in der Lauschaer glasindustrie bald in den die preise hinabziehenden strudel des erbittertsten ond kurzsichtigsten.”

Translation

“Now Elias Greiner took up the production of glass marbles and produced it in all possible variants, imitating the veining of agate, amber, lapis lazuli, and topaz. The colored glasses were made into a marble that was then taken to a grinding shop and finally a most beautiful marble was completed. With the introduction of the glass balls by Elias, and the manufacturing process he brought forward, everyone’s eyes in the common village glasshouse fixed upon this idea, and in those years of the harvest failure, the social and political confusion as well as the bad course of the traditional products of each glasshouse, would be benefited and saved by such a small and technical innovation. The Lauscha glass industry soon heaped praises upon this new idea and swept away all bad feelings and short sightedness.”

Some German glass terms that might be used to describe marble attributes.

In German, ‘Schleiferei’ means grinding shop.

A ground pontil mark on a marble in German might be called ‘schleifgebirge’, as a description of the ground surface. ‘Facettenschliff’ is facet cut.

Shear mark is ‘Schnittmarke’, ‘Schnittnarbe’, or ‘Shnittmarkierung’.

Pontil or punty is ‘hefteisen’. Referring only to the metal rod. Scar is ‘narbe’. Pontil scar would be ‘Narbe gebildet durch einehefteisen’.

A ‘Kugelschere’ is a tool for making glass marbles.

Brian Graham

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Jeroen, in your post #7 you talk about end of day scrap glass as being single pontil. If it was scrap glass it would look all scrambled with no discernible pattern. Have you ever seen a handmade whether cane or transition or any type of old hand made that is like this? The glass would have cooled. Reheating the glass and making a single marble would jumble all the colors and pattern where it wouldnt be consistent. Most of these pieces were thrown away but not collected together to make one marble.

What you are thinking of that type is beginning or end of cane. There are going to be 2 of these for each cane. One begin and one end. The ends has already been rounded off from making the cane. Most of these are your "clouds", or "hot air ballons'. Some are looped. Some have very little pattern or color at all. These as you know are rare because a cane can be many feet long. As example you make a cane and out of that cane you make 10 marbles. Two of those are going to be single pontil by being one at the begin and one at the end of the cane. That's 20%. It can be less even by how long your cane is. In Baumann's 3rd edition it shows Contemporary artist Mark Matthews demonstrating on how they made the cane.

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Vetters.jpg

Source: Official catalogue of the New-York exhibition of the industry of all nations. 1853. "Imitation agate marbles in glass"

The marble scissor was used to make both the cane cut marbles and the punty rod gathered examples Jeroen.

This is from an unpublished manuscript in my collection from Herbert Kühnert, titled “Elias Greiner – Vetters Sohn. (1793 – 1864) Ein Lebensbild ”. I believe this was penned in 1966.

“Nun griff Elias Greiner die herstellung der glasmärbel auf und fabrizierte sie in allen möglichen varianten bald in marmorierung bald in achat, Bernstein, lapis-lazuli, topasfärbung. Seinem farbenwerk gliederte er eine schleiferei an und hatte bald mit seinen märbeln schönsten erfolge. Da sich bei den von Elias in den handle gebrachten kugeln ein grosser teil des hertsellungprozesses vor jedermanns augen in der gemeinsamen Dorfhütte abspielte, und da gerade in jenen jahren der missernte, der teurung, der sozialen und politischen wirren sowie des schlechten gangs der althergebrachten hüttenerzeugnisse jeder noch so kleine technische und kaufmännische fortschritt in der Lauschaer glasindustrie bald in den die preise hinabziehenden strudel des erbittertsten ond kurzsichtigsten.”

Translation

“Now Elias Greiner took up the production of glass marbles and produced it in all possible variants, imitating the veining of agate, amber, lapis lazuli, and topaz. The colored glasses were made into a marble that was then taken to a grinding shop and finally a most beautiful marble was completed. With the introduction of the glass balls by Elias, and the manufacturing process he brought forward, everyone’s eyes in the common village glasshouse fixed upon this idea, and in those years of the harvest failure, the social and political confusion as well as the bad course of the traditional products of each glasshouse, would be benefited and saved by such a small and technical innovation. The Lauscha glass industry soon heaped praises upon this new idea and swept away all bad feelings and short sightedness.”

Some German glass terms that might be used to describe marble attributes.

In German, ‘Schleiferei’ means grinding shop.

A ground pontil mark on a marble in German might be called ‘schleifgebirge’, as a description of the ground surface. ‘Facettenschliff’ is facet cut.

Shear mark is ‘Schnittmarke’, ‘Schnittnarbe’, or ‘Shnittmarkierung’.

Pontil or punty is ‘hefteisen’. Referring only to the metal rod. Scar is ‘narbe’. Pontil scar would be ‘Narbe gebildet durch einehefteisen’.

A ‘Kugelschere’ is a tool for making glass marbles.

Brian Graham

Hello Brian,

This is very interesting information. I can read the German language very well, so I understand it. But I think hefteisen is the metal rod, not a pontil. And schleifgebirge, is possible reffered to the area where the water mills where situated, where they ground down the marbles. Such local names where not uncommon in Germany.

Jeroen

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Jeroen, in your post #7 you talk about end of day scrap glass as being single pontil. If it was scrap glass it would look all scrambled with no discernible pattern. Have you ever seen a handmade whether cane or transition or any type of old hand made that is like this? The glass would have cooled. Reheating the glass and making a single marble would jumble all the colors and pattern where it wouldnt be consistent. Most of these pieces were thrown away but not collected together to make one marble.

What you are thinking of that type is beginning or end of cane. There are going to be 2 of these for each cane. One begin and one end. The ends has already been rounded off from making the cane. Most of these are your "clouds", or "hot air ballons'. Some are looped. Some have very little pattern or color at all. These as you know are rare because a cane can be many feet long. As example you make a cane and out of that cane you make 10 marbles. Two of those are going to be single pontil by being one at the begin and one at the end of the cane. That's 20%. It can be less even by how long your cane is. In Baumann's 3rd edition it shows Contemporary artist Mark Matthews demonstrating on how they made the cane.

Hello Clyde,

What is the definition of scrap glass? Perhaps it were the very thin glass rods, they used to make the bands on the swirls. There are marbles made of this scrap glass. See the examples.

Jeroen

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post-2911-0-61159000-1353881663_thumb.jp

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