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Vitro Du-Lites


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Does anyone know what they are?

I remember seeing the name on some Vitro item from the 1930's.  Maybe it was an ad.  Maybe it was a sample box.  But I don't remember seeing accompanying marbles.  Pretty sure the Du-Lites were mentioned alongside Tri-Lites.

 Possibly the item was photographed in the Vitro book.  But my guest is using my office and I wasn't able to lay my hands on the book quickly when he nicely stepped out for me to have a look around.  So I'll have to do a deeper search later.    Does anyone here have their book handy?  


About 15 years ago Tri-LIte wasn't a name in common usage. Now  "everybody knows" what they are.   Du-Lite remains a secret from me.   

 

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I think Du-Lites were similar to Tri-Lites but without as many colors. FWIW, these are some of the marbles I found in my Du-Lite drawer, but I think some of them may actually be mono-lites. I wonder if Vitro would have made that distinction though. 😊

Ric805.jpg.4146c6214b8d30dd24c1a745b9d43aac.jpg

I am guessing they were referring to marbles with clear, white and two colors - or maybe, just one color. In other words, marbles that were similar to but not as fancy as Tri-Lites.

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I looked in the Vitro book and there was no reference to Du-Lites in the index nor could I find any "Du-Lite" on the pages that had Tri-Lites.  However, I did find the following that I had saved from an email from Chuck Brandstetter (RIP).

Vitro Tri-Lites, Du-Lites and Others

This is from an email from Chuck Brandstetter on November 6, 2005:

YES, Craig’s box is a Tri-lite gift box.  Our box is a 100 count Tri-lite stock box.  Of course, neither box had the name Tri-lite so we are both just guessing.  Usually, the marble companies used better marbles in their gift boxes, although the marbles in our stock box are also nice.  In my opinion, most of the better older Vitros made at the Vienna plant are Tri-lites and most of the real bland older Vitros are Du-lites.

The definition of a Tri-lite is up in the air somewhat.  Cooper and Johnson in the Vitro book on page 9 say “Tri-lite patch marbles can be described as being a combination of one or more colors on an opaque or translucent base and a translucent base with white filaments …”.  That statement was the first time that we knew that Vitro called these attractive marbles Tri-lites.  Several of the people we hang with at marble shows have been discussing another definition.  As we continue to think about it, we maintain that Tri-lites need at least three distinct colors.  It would probably be something like “at least three distinct colors …”.  The questions we have been asking ourselves are:

Can white be one of the three colors if the base glass is clear?  Yes, if it’s a solid white, not just a wispy white.  What if there are three distinct colors including white; but, no clear?  Yes, this would include the “early All-Reds”.

The Vitro book doesn’t say this; but, we are sure that Vitro also made Du-lites, at least in the 1940’s because we have seen the name Du-lite on a Vitro price list.  We have some Vitro mesh bags with two small color patches on white (red & blue on white, etc. - some have a hint of clear).  Are they Tri-lites or Du-lites?  Conquerors have a color patch & a white patch on a clear base.  My opinion is that the first are low end Tri-lites and that Conquerors & some other marbles with only two colors are Du-lites.

The key might be, what did Vitro intend?  Who knows?  But, they certainly expected three distinct colors.  They probably did NOT consider clear a color.  They used at least some clear or clear with wispy white as a base glass in many of their early marbles.  However, there are some early Vitros with different base glass – it probably depended on what cullet they got cheap the day before. 

So, a simple definition of a Tri-lite might be “A TRI-LITE SHOULD HAVE AT LEAST THREE DISTINCT COLORS, NOT COUNTING CLEAR”. 

Fisher was smart.  Using a lot of clear base glass probably saved Vitro money in manufacturing.  Calling marbles Tri-lites sends a subtle marketing message.  Vitro marbles have three colors.  They are better than other company’s marbles.  At that time the most common marbles they were competing against were slags, one & two color corks, two color National Line Rainbows and two color swirls from Christensen and West Virginia companies.  They may have felt that they had a slight competitive advantage by calling these marbles Tri-lites. They did sell a lot of them.  They also had Du-lites for the less discriminating marble players.     NOTE:  We believe that Tri-lites were only made at the Vienna WV plant, NOT Parkersburg.  Most Parkersburg marbles are veneered on white or clear base glass.    

In an article in the first WVMCC Newsletter Tankgrrl (Chris Carrington) called these better older Vitro Tri-lites “Elites”.  She was “right on”.  In my opinion Tri-lites and Elites are the same thing.  Elite is the modern name collectors used before they knew the name Tri-lite. 

While clear should not be considered a color, transparent colors are, in fact, colors.  Therefore, marbles commonly called Helmets by collectors which have a transparent color base are a sub-type of Tri-lite. 

Tri-lite is a generic name for a large class of early Vitro marbles made in Vienna, WV.  Within the class of Tri-lite are a number of different styles such as Helmets.  There are also some really attractive different Vitro Tri-lite styles that have been called Buttermilks, Superiors (formerly called Mystery Patches) and Aquamarines by marble players & collectors.  There are some other examples that have extra colors.  I think that all of these are just Tri-lites with pizzazz.  That is, high end or special Tri-lites.     

So, in conclusion, there are basically four types of these early Vitros:

·         Clear-lites – Clearies or transparent single color marbles

·         Chinese Checkers – Opaque singe color marbles

·         Dul-ites – Various lower end marble styles

·         Tri-lites – Marbles with at least three different colors, not including clear

This is my opinion.  I was thinking of an article for the WVMCC Newsletter along these lines to make it easier for people to understand what a Vitro Tri-lite is.  What do you think?  Does this make sense?  If any of you have any comments, please share them with me.  Maybe we can get this issue clarified a bit.

cwb  

 

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33 minutes ago, Al Oregon said:

I did find the following that I had saved from an email from Chuck Brandstetter (RIP) . . .

Thank you for posting that bit of history, Al. It's probably as good of an explanation as I've heard and I can't imagine a much better source. What I take from it is that Du-lites are the "real bland older" Vienna marbles, and it does seem like the marbles I posted fit this description. But then, it seems Chuck thought "that Conquerors & some other marbles with only two colors [including white] are Du-lites", and that seems to describe what I referred to as mono-lites in my post (I wasn't counting white as a color), and what I referred to as Du-lites are in reality Tri-lites. And before reading this post, I would not have referred to any of the marbles I showed as Tri-lites. I guess they all seem a little too Conqueror-like to me.

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6 hours ago, Steph said:

Does anyone know what they are?

I remember seeing the name on some Vitro item from the 1930's.  Maybe it was an ad.  Maybe it was a sample box.  But I don't remember seeing accompanying marbles.  Pretty sure the Du-Lites were mentioned alongside Tri-Lites.

 Possibly the item was photographed in the Vitro book.  But my guest is using my office and I wasn't able to lay my hands on the book quickly when he nicely stepped out for me to have a look around.  So I'll have to do a deeper search later.    Does anyone here have their book handy?  


About 15 years ago Tri-LIte wasn't a name in common usage. Now  "everybody knows" what they are.   Du-Lite remains a secret from me.   

 

What book are we talking about and is it still out there for purchase?

Marble--On!!!

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Du-Lites are labeled in the Vitro Salesman sample set. I have only seen two of these Vitro Salesman sample sets. If I remember correct, one belongs to Chuck and Diane Brandstetter and the other belongs to Gary Traugh in Parkersburg WV.    

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That is a Vitro Salesman Sample case.  That is what I call rare.  I have no proof of exactly what a Vitro DuLite marble is or looks like. It may have been a certain type style or group ?  Good chance of a lesser Tri-Lite or less colors than a Tri- Lite.  I have never found seen or heard of one of these Vitro Salesman Sample cases being for sale. So for now I assume there were not very many made. It is very high on my marble wish list. I better buy some more lottery tickets. Both about the same odds.  

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  • 3 weeks later...

Someone had posted pictures  on Facebook of some marbles that I had hoped could possibly be the mysterious Du-Lites.  That's what prompted this thread.  Someone else has now posted similar ... or maybe it's the same person posting a second time.    

Here's the new post -- the group is set to private so that means you need to be a member pf the group to see it:

Vitro Marbles : Anyone have any info on this box | Facebook



Here's a screenshot.  So this is what I had been hoping were Du-Lites.


image.png

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I have not seen this box before and I research boxes to the max. It looks totally legit to me.

I have sorted many of these marbles and as a matter of fact they seem to be in line, content wise with what I have found. I have always wondered about the maker on these because they look more Akro than Vitro to me.

Almost like a Helmet without the stripe. Deep for a patch, color vs. clear, almost a two plus two clear vs. color wispy on the edges.

I wish that I could say more. The three right rows on the right are for sure the most common, orange, white with a bit of darker orange/red streak.

If you can get more images of the side panels it would be a great thing.

Marble—On!!!

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