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Seams, cutlines and poles, and photo tips


Steph
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Here is the start of my long-promised replacement of the seam tutorial I accidentally deleted a couple of years ago. 

Some companies are known for more swirly marbles. Some are known for having lines or patches of colors which run from seam to seam or pole to pole.  If marbles have poles or seams it is helpful to show them when looking for IDs.

Rather than try to define the jargon I'll start by posting examples.  And rather than wait until I have all the photos ready, I'll post them as I take them.

So here I am starting with some Master-made marbles.  Masters often have relatively small U-shaped or V-shaped seams or "cutlines".   Some people might consider them to have "poles" where the ribbons come together on top and bottom. 

I took photos of both poles here.  Sometimes seeing both ends can help with the ID.  


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Here are some Peltier pictures showing the seams.  They could be called cutlines, but generally these are called seams.  Again both seams.  Note, I am using a gray t-shirt for the background material.  A gray background helps not-so-smart cameras get colors balanced.   And a smoother background helps the camera focus on the marble instead of background textures. (Since my camera is picking up the stitches clearly, it's possible I need a smoother background to help the marbles be more focused.)  

Again, I took pictures of both seams.  The top left marble was so busy that it almost looked like it had three seams, but that's a different subject.  I finally found the second true seam, and got that photo. :)

The top left one is a National Line Rainbo, aka NLR, from around 1930 give or take a couple of years.  The top right is called a Bloody Mary.   The rest are showing typical Rainbo patterns.  (Rainbos are later than National Line Rainbos, and span the mid-to-late 30's through the 1960's.  (Not sure if they were still in production in the 70's.)  

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To me, natural light sometimes leads to a lot of reflections which can make it hard to see marble details, so I took a second set of photos using a flash.   Your mileage may vary.  


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Another way to cut down reflections and get to the heart of transparent marbles is to take a picture of the marbles underwater.  At least that's the advice we sometimes give, and it can have dramatic results with old German handmades with cloudy surfaces.  

Here are some Peltiers.  One  thing I accidentally illustrated here is that different color settings may be needed for bright yellow marbles than are needed for not-so-bright marbles. :blink: And I needed to brush the bubbles off the surface of the marbles.  :) This will do until I get a better sample photo.

 

Transparent  Peltiers under water:

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This morning we have Marble Kings.  We call their cutlines "seams".   The two marbles on the right end are modern.  

The top left is a Rainbow Red.  The bottom is called "blended".  The four in the middle are Rainbows -- they are said to have a "patch and ribbon" pattern, which is a prime sign that you are looking at a Marble King. The brown and yellow one is called a Bumble Bee. The light blue with red ribbons is called a Robin.  The white-based Rainbow with the three different colored ribbons is called a ...wait for it .... Tri-Color Rainbow.  :)

Note the 'w' at the end of the Rainbow name with Marble Kings, while we leave off the 'w' with Peltier Rainbos.



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Next up is Akro.  Most of Akros cutlines will be called seams.  For the famous Akro moonie with the fisheye, we may speak of the cutline as a pole. 

Left to right, the top has two Moss Agates, a Royal, and a Tri-Color Agate.  The bottom has a sparkler, a Tri-Color Agate with oxblood, and two more Royals. 

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Still with Akro, here is a corkscrew.   I would tend to call the cutline here simply a cutline.  You could call it pole or seam just as well.   If you have a corkscrew, then that ribbon needs to have a start and finish, so to help get the corkscrew ID confirmed, it would be good to highlight one or both of those spots.    

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For some reason, my photo host Imgur decided to rotate this picture 90 degrees.  :) 

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Now for Akro Moonies.  Solid-colored marbles aren't generally considered to be special.  There are exceptions. One of the exceptions is the Akro Moonie.  They went through different styles.  The most easily identifiable ones have what is called "fisheyes" at the poles.  

Bud captured a couple of nice fisheyes on his fairly early Moonies so I'm borrowing his picture.  :) @budwas

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The Moonie I was trying to photograph was a later version, more opaque and the fisheye was almost closed.  Bud's version is much more desirable.  

Here's my barely visible fisheye after many attempts.  

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Finally for this Akro run is an example which might be Akro ... or might be Master.  It can be hard to tell between Akro and Master patches.   This is a larger marble. Close to 3/4", a tournament-approved "shooter" size.   My first thought was Akro.   It has the "eyelashes" some consider to mean Akro (though other companies did make marbles with eyelashes).   But on closer inspection, to me it seemed the seams were relatively short and the second seam could even be considered V-shaped.  This could point to Master. 

The lines get blurred, and so sometimes people attempting to ID might sit on the fence and say, "Akro or Master," and leave it at that. 

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Imgur also decided this view needed to be rotated: 

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Often with Vitros other features than the seams will be of interest, so more or other pictures may be wanted for ID.  

A Bull's Eye, Sweet Pea, Conqueror, Opal and Victory:

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The opalescent part of the Opal is nice to capture. 

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But when it doubt, start with the seams. 

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Here are some of the Vitros from the Anacortes, Washington plant, from around 1990. Just because they don't get as much camera time.  :)  I'll have to try again later to get less reflection.  That thready blue on the left really needs more love. 

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Some more Peltiers.  Patches this time.  With Pelt patches, sometimes  you won't focus on finding a seam, per se, as much as just trying to find the end of the patch, which can be a little wild.

Also, with the Pelt  Patches with a translucent white base, you may want a shot which shows the "fire" inside the base glass, to get an Acme Realer ID confirmed. The two marbles on the left are Acme Realers.  The top one shows glow without even trying.  The bottom does glow but it would need a special shot. :)  Also on the top row is a Pearlized Patch.   (The others would generally be called Peerless Patches, though I think some of mine may have been a little later than the official Peerless Patches, but I don't have a better name for them.)

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I have this one in my Pelt patch box and I'm not sure why.   The ends of the patches seem squared off enough for it to be an Akro.  I don't know what made me put it in with the Pelts -- possibly it was a gift from a Pelt digger.  I don't recall now.  I'll leave it in the box for now.  And  I do want to mention that while Pelt patches are famous for wild shapes, if you look at photos of the Pelt comic marbles, you can see that some Peerless Patches could indeed have squared off edges and look pretty much like Akros.  

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[Space reserved for a Pelt comic marble to illustrate]

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These are Modern Asian.  The type often called Imperial because  many were distributed in the U.S. by the Imperial Toy Company.    The turquoise one has threads of oxblood.  That's a popular thing to find, not uncommon. 

 

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This family of marbles  can be very pretty.  And there are variations you might never see more than once.  I _might_ have seen this combo one other time.  For awhile I hoped it was something other than "Imperial" but I can't think of anything else it could be.   :)   

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