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S O S To Historians And Cat's Eye Lovers ...


Steph
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Don't hurt yourself! ^_^

Just having to move some furniture around in my head to make those marble styles fit. Bumblebee thinks not cats -- which would be convenient for my brain blueprint -- since I would be astounded to learn of cats being made so early.

But still some other interesting marbles in the bunch.

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I doubt it would be foreign marbles, the cost of imported marbles would be much higher than marbles purchased closer to home, so it would only make sense to import high end hand mades, not common clearies and such. The four makers I know that were operating near PA, cac, akro, pelt and alox. Of that, akro had been making marbles the longest of those 4, so I think they are the most logical. Could be transparent corks you are seeing, which I'm sure could look like a cats eye in a black and white photo from the 20's. Another possibility is a mix of several companies, purchased through pressman or gropper or another seller

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I am 99.999999999999999999% sure those are not Akro Spirals. Not in 1929.

And I am reasonably certain that foreign marbles could be shipped very very cheaply.

I know that some people say it's myth that marbles were used as ballast, but I think they were used in a related way. Like categorized as "ballast" officially in order to get breaks in the cost of shipping, even if they weren't technically being used that way. The word "ballast" was used at least once in news reports in the 1950's in connection with American marble manufacturers trying to get Congress to put a tariff on Japanese marbles in an attempt to save the hard hit American marble industry. Japanese marbles were being shipped in a bulk way which undercut American costs.

The Japanese marbles we recognize were lower quality than MFC's, Akros, Peltiers and CAC's of the 1910's through early 1930's ... and I don't recognize any 1920's American marbles in that marble machine.

Alox was not making marbles in the 1920's.

Alley was getting started in 1929. Ravenswood in 1928.

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The first Akro corks were officially introduced in 1930, according to the earliest documentation I can find. It's possible that they were being made in 1929. However, the only styles I think possible at any time in 1929 were Prize Names, Onyx (including Cardinal Red) and Imperials.

Onyx and Imperials both appear in 1929 advertising, but it's not likely that they took corkscrew form yet.

The contest where Akro introduced their new line of marbles and invited children to help name them -- promising a prize to the best name -- was run in 1930.

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Could the price give a hint? I read in the other thread that the complete vending apparatus is tagged $15 including those 700 marbles. The apparatus takes its share for sure. I have no idea how much its manufacturing cost would have been around 1930. Neglecting this I estimate roughly 2 cents per marble and we are just below the break even point. My question is: 2 or even 3 cents per marble around 1930, is it a high price or is it pretty cheap for a boy or girl? What has been a realsitic price for a standard marble to buy at a shop in those days?

In my opinion such a vending machine needs to be produced and filled at the cheapmost price to earn money with. So might it be that the cheapmost marbles that were around have been put in? Maybe some of a manufacturer you do not know for some reason? Or already known companies sold their "scrape" for this purpose?

Sorry for using "scrape", but I think the marbles filled into the vending machine were not the pricey high end ones and they were also not the mid range ones. To consider their origin it might be that you need to dig deep into the trading habits around 1930 to figure out if foreign marbles could be an alternative even when shipped across the ocean?

Todays chewing gum vending machines do not include quality products. And the jewels and toy cars mixed in as special attraction to the boys and girls are really cheap scrap.

Just some ideas from a madcap...

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I haven't broken down prices yet. I have a pretty good feel for the marbles made in the U.S. in 1929.

Or I thought I did.

But either I don't have as good of an idea as I thought. Or those marbles are foreign. Those seem to be the two choices.

I did think about the possibility of them being scrap, but how much scrap would they have to have to decide to take out an ad promising marbles for vending machines?

Time for me to do some more digging.

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Did some checking. In 1955, news articles about the failing marble industry said that Japan could ship marbles for $10 a ton by labeling them as ballast.

Also worker's wages and taxes were said to be considerably lower in Japan.

Shorter of two articles I found: http://s119.photobucket.com/user/modularforms/media/History/1955_01_24_MarblesFromJapan_Vitro_c.jpg.html

So that doesn't necessarily tell me about 1929, but my working theory is that the situation was similar.

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Honestly I think that they most likely bought marbles from some sort of distributor, and could be a mix of several manufacturers

Could be. However, the patches and ribbons still don't fit American manufacturers from that time as far as I know. That's my main point. It's earlier than I thought of for Japanese patches, but Japanese patches are still somewhat mysterious, while dates on American marbles are fairly well pinned down ... or so I thought.

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