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Largest Ravenswoods?


Steph
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Oh what a big can or worms to open ! Are you talking about swirl type marbles or patch marbles ? From my expierence i have seen very few swirl marbles that i can be comfortable in saying was produced 100% for sure by Ravenswood. Did you know that the earliest Ravenswood marbles,maybe the first two years,were all hand gathered ?

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never seen a 1" swirl that resembled a Ravenswood in colors usually associated with them. And really need some more info on hand gathering at Ravenswood and what kind of marbles they were. I have read some wild stories by some old men but never seen any proof at all about the first couple years of production. Can you share. Never seen any handgathered marbles from any "Ravenswood" dig sites. Did you find some literature about the original factory site(also still in question)as to what was produced and how???? Sounds like some really interesting informqation that many would like to hear!!!!

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Hello all,seems like an interesting thread so far.These are some marbles from my collection I believe to be ravenswood,I am not an expert.No sign of handgathering but sizes are from left to right 31/32" 15/16" 1-1/32"

post-1768-0-95317300-1398106161_thumb.jp

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Steph,I think the middle one and the right one are Alley.Did I mention I'm not an expert? I realized my mistake about a moment after I posted,please ignore my input or delete if you'd like to.Actually they are some good examples of marbles that are not ravenswood.Embarrased but LMAO

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There are no known examples from the first two years of Ravenswood production. In a email a couple weeks ago from Mike Johnson he said. How nice it would be for both our wishes come true. That would be to find or have for sure 100% one of or a group of those early Ravenswood marbles. The Ravenswood marbles that have been dug are most or all from later years production. The factory doors were closed in March 1957. In the early 1970's the new owners wanted to rent the building for storage. They hired two men with a pickup truck from across and up the street to clean out or remove all the remaining marbles. The factory is near the end of a dead end street. The river bank is about 1/4 mile straight away from the factory,slight downhill through a grass hayfield. So for the next few days these two men hauled the ready to sale and ship marbles to the river bank. Then they filled in the water sump inside the building with floor sweeping dirt and marbles.The sump was probably used for the hot water from the shears. I have a few pictures of the sump and some of the marbles from it. You can find different older Ravenswood marbles in some original packages,at the Ravenswood cemetary grave marker,etc. But doubtful if any are from the first two years. Maybe someday years ahead,someone will be able to do some excavating close the building and discover some unusal marbles that do not look like they belong to Ravenswood production. The property was just sold again three or four years ago. The factory building is in decent shape and a nice lawn around it. The owners are younger,so it may be a lot of years before anyone will ever turn any dirt there.

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William Safreed worked at the Ravenswood marble factory for 25 years. Longer than any other person. He did about everything there,building the marble making apparatus,bagging sorting eqiuipment,running the machines,hauling cullet,about all the maintence work. I have a almost two full page local newspaper article from Feb.26,1992. In a inteview with Mr. Safreed he states,in 1929 a man named Ali,who we know for sure was Alley,came to Ravenswood WV to make marbles. Alley provided the marble making machinery. Safreed said."The marbles were gathered on a gathering rod and tripped into air shears.Safreed explained. He said he saw Russ Trowbridge making them that way through the window of the building. They were very particular,they wouldn't let you in the building to see anything. After two year operation someone accused them of patent infringment. These people came in and wrecked the machinery,tore it all to pieces,and destroyed everything. This shut Ravenswood Glass down. A short time later Turnbull purchased a marble machine from Akro Agate. However only a few marbles were produced before the operation was terminated again. In 1932 Turnbull ask Mr. Safreed to go to work for him and restart the marble factory.

When Ravenswood Novelty Works(1932) first began production. They made thier own glass from sand and chemicals. But Safreed said the glass making didn't last long. The company started using scrap glass from Fenton,from Port Marion and Columbus OH. Red glass was purchased for BUDDY marbles in Muncy IN. At this time the marble business was seasonal. Safreed said . "We operated only in the winter time for the Christmas sales." Mr. Safreed worked at he nearby Trenle Blake pottery factory by the same owner for the next six years. He worked 16 hour days. Eight at the pottery factory and eight at the marble factory. In 1941 Mr. Safreed was back at the marble factory full time. He built additional machinery,new rolls were cast at a New Martinsville foundry and grooved in Parkersburg. This machine made marbles at a rate of 200 per minute. A second machine was made by Safreed and it produced 270 marbles per minute. By 1944 a third machine was added and Ravenswood was in marble business for real. Selling all the marbles they could produce working year round.

Mike Johnson has always felt that the people who destroyed everything at Ravenswood was Akro Agate. My thoughts they were from Christensen Agate. Mr. Alley and Turnbull seemed to have good relations and connections with Akro. Alley always made swirl type marbles. This would have been competition for CAC.

So was Christensen Agate and Ravenswood Glass making hand gathered marbles at the same time frame ?

Maybe just some more wild stories by some old men ???

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OK, just another storie . I am not sure what Mr.Safreed would haved gained with a wrong storie or lie ? Even putting the mans name in print that was doing the hand gather. If i said that i had a hand gather Ravenswood. Would you or anyone else believe me ? Just another storie. What would a hand gathered Ravenswood look like ?

Proof is a big word for some and impossible for some others. Sorry all i have was a storie. As you said time to run. I can use my time better.

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The biggest I know of are the Paul Bunyan patches. Altough there may be some debate as to whether they were actually made at Ravenswood, the last I heard there was some eye-witness account suggesting they were. Perhaps they made them on the machine purchased from Akro? The patches do look a bit like Akro. Any idea when the Paul Bunyans were made/packaged?

In general, it seems many of the clear based swirls are a bit oversized at about 11/16" and I do have a 3/4" opaque swirl in a 15 count Playtime bag that I am pretty sure is Ravenswood.

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I agree with Ric. Only the Paul Bunyan patch if you consider it a Ravenswood. I also agree that they look like no other Ravenswood. They look like Akro or Master. All i have are stories or accounts from the company owners family,and past employees. All of these that i could talk with except one employee said that the Paul Bunyans were made at Ravenswood. I am still not convinced 100% who produced them. We know they are found in original Ravenswood packages. The very first three i bought was from Safreeds niece in Ravenswood. She would only let me have three. She said that her uncle Safreed brought them home from the factory and gave them to her. She said they were still warm when he put them in her hand. Safreed's daughter Faye had them and told me that she watched her dad make them. She said he made them on a seperate machine at the pottery factory. She said he only made these on a saturday or sundays and not often. Rae Weekly grew up in and around the factory,i ask her direct and she said they were made at Ravenswood. I ask a past employee about them and she never remembered seeing them. But she was there in the later years and in packaging only. I have written information or story that the Akro machine was retooled and used later. The Paul Bunyans were packaged in mesh bags and plastic bags by Ravenswood. Local women in town sewed up the mesh bags. I only got to talk with one of those and she did remember the Paul Bunyan marbles being put in the bags but knew nothing of the production. We know that Alox had mesh bags which also contain Paul Bunyan marbles. Alox had close ties with Ravenswood. We know that Alox bought marbles and cullet from Ravenswood. But there are documents that also prove that Alox bought one inch marbles from Master. Were they Paul Bunyans or the sparkler cat eye type ? I do not remember seeing any Paul Bunyans dug from Akro. Or seeing any in the Hardy's collection. I ask Charles Cox in person if the Paul Bunyans were made at Ravenswood,he said sure they were. He told Mike Johnson that the Paul Bunyans were in fact made at Ravenswood. I have seen and have the Paul Bunyan bags that have a paper attached to the header that says These marbles laid untouched for years in Akro Agate bins until recently. Was this true or was it a sales promotion done by a dealer/jobber/collector ? Years ago Ravenswood marbles did not sell well or for much money but Akro did. I have never found one or seen one in a original Master or Akro package. Who made the one inch Paul Bunyan marbles is nothing but interesting stories. We have the marbles and the stories but no proof of who made them. Probably will never have any more proof than what is above ?

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