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Cloud Vs. Onionskin And Definition Of Clowns

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Clouds are marbles that have designs consisting of mainly spots of frit color and not stretched out lines as in onions, a single pontil cloud is the first off cane, a cloud with 2 pontils would be the second off cane and does show some stretching of the colors yet still has spots present.

An onionskin can come from the same cane as clouds, I believe most were made from the same cane, they were just 3rd off or later giving them more stretching of the frit colors. Clouds are rarer than onions as only 1 or 2 could be made off the cane.

I think very few clouds if any were a one off type marble, it doesn't make sense to take the time to make a one off marble in the old factories, production was key and the time it takes to color and case would eat up valuable production time.

This also reflects my opinion of CA Guineas, I always believed they must have been made cane style and cut onto the rollers by hand, a single seam Guinea was a first off cane and does show individual spots opposite the seam, the rest of the Guineas had 2 seams/cuts and had more of a stretched design with less spots present. Bill Tow had a couple of my Sguineas I made using that very same method when I restored the old Vitro machine at Wheaton.

As for the argument about the black lines around the colors on clowns, most opaque red and yellow glass frit contain selenium, selenium will react with the tin in opaque white giving a brown to black color blend. note there is no black line around any green or blue, those colors do not contain selenium. So noting this fact, do the marbles being identified and sold as clowns that do not have a black line around all the colors must not be clowns at all, especially if they do not contain 5 colors.

A clown type is either an onionskin or cloud consisting of 5 or more distinct colors not including the base color. blends do not count as an individual color nor do specks of dirt on the white or yellow base color.

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What I have heard, is that those bright colors are from later, post 1900, and also called English style.

Very interesting about the colors reaction and causing the black lines. These two clowns (see attached photos) don't have the lines around the blue and green also.




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In an earlier post I had said the best (i.e. easiest) definition of a clown is a marble in which the colors are lined in black. Enough collectors told me they had not heard that definition before, so I asked the guy who I'd thought came up with it, but apparently I mistook what he'd said. From what I can gather, a clown is supposed to have many splotches of different colors.(As Galen puts it, "marbles with large rounded color spots that did not stretch pole to pole") The rarer ones have some colors lined in what looks like black. That's it. (Obviously the black is an incidental reaction between two colors, but it does seem to make the marble more valuable)

Sorry for the confusion.

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