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Greetings

I am new to this forum, only having found it today. I am hoping someone here can help me with this. I have a large glass marble, in horrible shape. It is chipped and banged everywhere! However,according to my Grandmother and her sisters (all of whome died decades ago), this marble originally belonged to my Great Great Grandfather. If so, that would likely place its origin beyond the middle 1800's. According to my family, the many chips etc. occurred as my ancestor rolled it across a prarie cabin floor on long winter nights in Illinois (Edgar county). His last name was Davis, and would have been an immigrant from Wales. I would love to varify the age and place of manufacture of this heirloom.....it's supposed to be one of the oldest things from my mothers side of the family, which i was entrusted with as a kid in the 1960's and have managed to hold-on to....

Anything anyone knows would be very thoroughy appreciated!!!

I'm including a couple of images, showing the two opposing ends where the colors come together. Sharpie is for size comparison.

Many many thanks in advance

Mark Hooten, Florida

post-3472-0-68626200-1366239317_thumb.jp

post-3472-0-87177700-1366239318_thumb.jp

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Hello Mark.

Great heirloom.

For some reason, the earliest date I associate with that style of marble is 1856. Not sure quite why that date sticks out in my mind, but it might be when a certain tool was invented related to the manufacture of glass marbles. Or maybe the beginning of one of the famous marble making factories.

It was made in Germany.

I'm less sure about the name of the style. I think maybe 4-panel onionskin. One of these days I really need to learn those names. Someone else should be by shortly to set that part of the story straight. :)

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yes a as Bob said but he also has a few books out there and at most local library's or can buy from Bob if that helps also looks like about 2 inches in Dia ?? . wash it and see now nice it looks wet , you will enjoy even more . nice with the blue across the green . Save nice piece . may be just put on some floor wax might look a little better . Mike

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Hello and Thank-you for all of your kind and enthusiastic information! I will have to look-up "four-panel onionskin" and find out how they're made. I assume this was new "technology" for the time period?

And yes, this marble has been passed-down thru my family with much respect. When it was given to me by my Great cousin (who is now 92), back in the '60's, he told me to not tell the rest of my family that i had it, lest they try'n take it from me!! The rest of the family had no idea what happened to it! It goes back further on my mothers side of the family than any other artifact in our collective possession. The many nicks and bangs make it all the more precious to me. I know it is supposed to be the only thing my great great grandfather had to amuse himself as a child their first winter pioneering in Illinois. His game was to roll it across the floor, attempting to get it stuck in a particular knot-hole. I wonder what he would have done with a modern superball?!! Today's kids would likely die of boredom if their I phones stopped working!

Does anyone have any idea what it might have cost when it was new?

Again, many thanks for everyone's help!

Blessings

mark

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I think it might only have been a few cents. The ad I'm looking at to make that guess was from a catalog for dealers from 1900 or so, so I'm fudging here, and I'll try to look for some better information. Or maybe Bob or someone has the information handy.

As awesome as it is, it might have been as inexpensive as candy. Very cheap labor in Germany from what I understand.

It was made by hand, not machine. There are modern videos available where people use what is probably a similar technique. And Paul Baumann's book, Collecting Antique Marbles, has some drawings and photographs showing the process -- at least in the 4th edition, which is the one I'm holding, and I bet in earlier editions.

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Thank's Steph...i said that because according to the website Alan's Marble Connection, "At first, German glass marbles were too expensive for most American children to enjoy, and archaeological excavations of working class residential sites dating to the latter half of the nineteenth century demonstrate that less than 5% of the marbles recovered were made from glass, with the balance comprised of the more common, and far less expensive, ceramic and stone marbles.

So this statement made me curious..... ;-)

mark

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FWIW, I think Alan's statement is a bit too broad.

Steph is 100% on the right track by searching for primary source such as advertising, including prices, from this time period.

Making a generalization about "most American children" over a period of 50 years does not take into account how very diverse were the circumstances of people in different geographic areas or how drastically things changed during that period. The items that might have been plentiful and inexpensive in a populated port city like Philadelphia or Boston, may have also been rare and dear in a small Midwestern town.

And finding few glass marbles in residential excavations may also be because, sometimes, beautiful German glass marbles were prized possessions and were treated as keepsakes long after their owners stopped playing with them. The nineteenth century Mom may have tossed Junior's clay commies in the rubbish pile when he grew up , but even a beat-up 4-panelled onion skin would have been pretty enough to put in a jar.

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Here is an 1896 ad from the Chicago Tribune.

25 glass marbles for 5 cents. I'm sure these would have been regular playing sized marbles and I don't know how the price would translate to very large marbles. Or how the price would compare to marbles sold 20 years earlier. But this a little something and I might still be able to come up with older and/or bigger. :)

1896_03_22_MBandCo_Marbles_Chica-3.jpg

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The date I wrote down for this ad was March 1892. I think from the Butler Brothers catalog.

This might be getting close to yours in size. "Extra Large Spangles .... big as a hen's egg". (Spangle was the old name for onionskin.)

If I'm reading it correctly, a dealer would have bought a dozen extra large marbles for 75 cents. So 6 or 7 cents per marble for the dealer. And then whatever the markup would be ....

ButlerBros_march1892.jpg

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well even at .06 or .07 each just think about the wages . every one was really in the money in the 1900 and went way over board by 1910 to 1919

The average American worker earned approximately $12.98 per week for 59 hours of work in 1900---$674.96 a year. Most workers did not earn that much money. There were no paid vacations, holidays or sick leave. A laborer worked and got paid, or did not work and did not get paid. During the decade 1910-1919 the average worker's salary increased to $750 a year.

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WOW STEPH!! what incredible research skills (and focus) you have! I can't thank you enough!!! And the points made by stacyw are obviously correct and insightful, as well as those of mmuehlba and BobBlock. What a dedicated and kind group you all comprise. This has been very enlightening and educational indeed. I'm afraid all this enthusiasm has sparked a new interest in my life! Not that i already collect antique Chinese writing/painting impliments, Egyptain ushabti's, handmade Chinese teapots and teas, fossils, rare shells, minerals and crystals and jemstones and rare variegated plants and books..... NOW you have to also pass on a love of handmade marbles......(and i already have a love of colorful glass objects).....so now i have no choice but to begin both researching the topic and going to our local flea-markets and estate auctions........SO I HOPE YOU ARE ALL VERY HAPPY WITH YOURSELVES!!! ;-) My wife is going to have issues!

blessngs

mark

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Almost all our wives or in my case ex-wife think we are crazy to be so enthralled with these little balls of glass. And there are a few husbands and boyfriends wondering what is wrong in the head of their other half. MARBLE ON!!!!!

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♪ Mark's in trouble! Mark's in trouble! ♪ :P

(The gibberish you see was supposed to be musical notes

indicating a "na-na-na-na-na" type tune.

Does anyone know why that doesn't work here?)

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