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Undoing the Miller Machine myth.....


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This is to clarify the ongoing confusion about the use of “Miller Machine marble” for certain swirl marbles from the early 1920s made by Peltier.  It is best to end the use of the term “Miller Machine Marble” when describing those marbles as it incorrectly describes the process.  We hope this will help.

The Miller Machine was the portion of the marble making process that rounded and cooling the marble.  Its breakthrough was by automating that step.  That is its only purpose.  It is not responsible for the colors, designs, swirls, and other features of the marble itself. 


Discussion from collector: cheese

"It's an outdated name that just won't go away. I don't use it. There are some Peltier NLRs that have swirly action and Peltier had a marble machine made by William J Miller. This was in the late 20s. I think most of Peltier's early NLRs came off that machine. Some people decided the swirly ones came off that machine and it made them swirly. It did not. They and others came off that machine but it had nothing to do with them being swirls. That machine was used earlier by another company and later by others, and other makers used the same machine with different patterns. The miller machine as well as any other marble machine does nothing but make a glass ingot round. It doesn't make a marble a patch or swirl. The pattern is already in the ingot before it hits the rollers. The only pattern that would be made is a slight pull, a chevron or curl. That would happen when the ingot hit the rollers possibly. By the time it gets out of the first few rolls the marble has hardened too much for any more changes. The rest of the way down the rollers isn't for rounding, it's for cooling and the beginning of the annealing process. The miller machine is in occasional operation now and it's not making swirls at all. It's an outdated term and wrongly gives credit to a man for something he had nothing to do with. It's like crediting the trucking company for what they shipped instead of the manufacturer. Or the bag maker for the bread in it."


· Additional Post by wvrons …“Any marble machine can make a patch style, or a patch and ribbon, or ribbons only or a swirl or a cork pattern. The pattern all happens upstream before the hot glob hit the marble machine rolls. The marble machine rolls make the marble round and start the cooling, nothing else.”

The Miller Machine is not responsible for the swirls or other patterns seen on certain marbles.  It only rounds the marbles in an automatic process.

Here is a photo of the actual Miller glass marble making machine.  It can be seen that the function of the machine is to make the marble round.  It does not contain any of the glass or colors for the marble itself, nor any mechanism to make swirls, patterns or any other design element.  The glass glob drops into one end of the spinning coils and moves down, rounding and cooling as it goes to the end.  No design or modification of the marble design takes place at all.


Here is a photo of a rounding machine which is positioned under the furnace to round the glass globs into round marbles. 



Photo: JABO Marble Company



Here is a glass glob being feed manually into the rounding machine.


Photo credits: Brian L. Graham article on William J. Miller glass marble making machine and manual feed photo:




Here is the original discussion: 


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