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From Akronmarbles.com's Glossary of Marble Terminology:

GROPPER ONYX MARBLE COMPANY, THE: Of New York City, a distributor and sales agent for The Christensen Agate Company and The Peltier Glass Company. Often repacked marbles into boxes carry it's own company name.

Which company would have made these?

Opal Agates:

post-279-1182200091_thumb.jpg post-279-1182200096_thumb.jpg


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Top Assortment, High Grade, from the Gropper Onyx Marble Co., ca. 1933.

post-279-1182351109_thumb.jpg post-279-1182353602_thumb.jpg post-279-1182353612_thumb.jpg

They are fun to play with. Wind it up and let it rip. So easy a child can do it. :-)

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From the Gropper Onyx Marble Corp., Ebay Item #120063544502, Gropper Onyx Marble Game NY Litho Rufus Rastus Darktown, listed in the category of Black Americana.

The game, the rules, the box, the marbles currently with the box:

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From the auction description:

Vintage Groppers No.300 Popular Toy game, by Gropper Onyx Marble Co., Brooklyn, New York. It is a marble & card pinball type game, marbles have to be shot in certain holes to score points. It is in excellent condition in original cardboard box, with directions on back of game table. It has wonderful coloured lithograph of Black cartoon characters Rufus & Rastus Brown of Darktown Building fame. Also has ERUPTION & KING "HOBO" COLE. Made of wood, metal & paper - I don't believe that the marbles are original. The game board is 23" x 15" x 1 1/4".
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This 40-count box says

National Onyx Marbles

Manufactured by, M. Gropper & Sons, Inc.

Factory, Ottawa, Ill. U. S. A.

I asked the owner if there was any printing on the box other than on the side of the lid showing. She said there was not. She states their size as .666 to .680 inches.

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When I saw "Factory, Ottawa", I assumed they were Peltiers.

Then I noticed the row of white slags.

So, who made these?

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Reliable sources confirm that there is reason to question whether the contents are Peltier. That leaves me wondering about the significance of "Factory, Ottawa" on the box.

Since the owner says this box doesn't have any extra labelling warning people that those are glass marbles not actually onyx, one might hypthesize that these were packaged prior to 1931. (Gropper lost the lawsuit mentioned here, Misleading Naming Of Marbles, (didn't start with eBay). :o )

However I also hypothesized a Peltier connection for the contents based on the "Factory, Ottawa" statement, so I am now shy about all of these assumptions.

Where did Gropper's jobber enterprise begin?

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No apparent feathering, no readily visible seams...if anything the contents of this box look Akro. In the absence of compelling evidence that Peltier or CA made this type of nondescript slag it seems unlikely these are original but not impossible.

Probably under similar circumstances to this one: http://marbleconnection.com/topic/6162-whatcha-think/


The sentiment on that one seemed mixed. (I was rooting for vintage. :-)

This box doesn't have the looks-too-new problem. So it's basically a nice but worn old box from a company with somewhat unclear jobbering practices. With a nice set of basically matching yet nondescript slags in safe slag colors. Nice assortment of colors, beyond the basic MFC palette, but nothing fancy. Definitely no extra CAC colors beyond the Akro palette. (edit: I'm sure my summary shows my bias toward the possibility of authenticity, but is it about right?)

The marbles are between 21/32" and 11/16". Does that mean anything? Like how hard would someone nowadays have to work to backfill it with marbles of consistent size, coloration and swirl? and would it be worth the effort?

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As singles if they are Akro nothing in that box is worth more than a couple dollars each tops. Akro's at that size are very common, it would not be difficult to find as many as 8 and as few as 4 per color that were similar in size and appearance. Feathered Peltiers available in all the colors shown in the box (with the exception of clear) are significantly more expensive, particularly red, and far far more rare.


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Don't know if this says anything but I thought it might be interesting to look at the Gropper box up against a set of Akros.

post-279-1183090833_thumb.jpg . . (original akro photo)

I like how "standard" the contents of the Gropper box appear. If it is backfilled, then at least to my untrained eye it seems that whoever filled it did a good job of making the marbles look as if they belong together.

And I like the how roughly the same proportions of colors were used in both boxes, with the necessary exception of having to reduce one color to accomodate the aquas.

It's a romantic notion, but I want that box to someday be found to be entirely original. If those are Akros in the Gropper box, I want it to be learned someday that for some reason Gropper was also a distributor of Akros. Say, when Akro switched over to corkscrews and patches ... perhaps they still had slags onhand but no interest in distributing them ... so they sold the surplus to Gropper.

Just wishing ...

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More non-marble items which could be had from the Gropper Onyx Marble Co.:

  • Gropper Onyx Marble Co playing cards w/ box . . (that's the description in a Jerry Stichter auction announcement)

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------Gropper and Peltier disolved their partnership in 1931. They were together from the time Peltier started making marbles. It seems Gropper had an office at the Ottawa site. Except for possible stock Gropper had stored somewhere, Peltier removed the Gropper name from publications and packaging that year.

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White Pelts! oh yeah!

I believe the feathered slags came later.

Makes sense.

I still know relatively little about slags so that's a FWIW sentiment but the double compartment bag which I posted in a couple of threads yesterday has feathered slags and it seems to be from a post-Gropper time. Berry Pink filed for the patent on that bag in 1931. He was working for Rosenthal at the time. (I'll try to make this be the last time I post this bag this week. ;-)


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Love that ad!

And thanks for showing the top line! That was enough for me to figure out which company the ad was from. Been wondering about that for a long time.

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Is there anything else of significance we should/could know about Gropper?

Here's a bit from another site:

M. Gropper & Sons

Brooklyn, New York

M. Gropper & Sons was a toy maker who made a large variety of wooden paper litho toys. A catalog produced by them identified them as having their office and factory in the Bush Terminal Building #6 in Brooklyn, N. Y. Their catalog pictures 14 toy autos (non pull toys) including a Gravel Auto, a Grocery Auto, Doll's Auto Ambulance, and a Moving Van Auto. This helps to identify the M. Gropper & Sons catalog as being from the mid 1920's.

The pull toys made by M. Gropper are often confused as being made by Gibbs or Converse. See the chapter on Gibbs for similar toys. M. Gropper toys were found in Sears catalogs in 1918, but no toys were in the Sears 1927 catalog.

source: Antique Toy Archive

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Do we even know what the "M" stands for?

In 1917, the M. Gropper & Sons company was said to consist of Harry Gropper and Abraham S. Gropper. From a patent for a "Liquid Pistol".

Patent number: 1238733

Filing date: Sep 16, 1916

Issue date: Sep 1917

In 1901, the names given for the M. Gropper & Sons company were Harry & Samuel & Abraham.

The Trow (formerly Wilson's) copartnership and corporation directory of New York City, Vol. 49

p. 195

Harry had a son named Meyer. At least there was a young Gropper named Meyer, and Harry was listed as nearest relative on his draft registration from 1918. Meyer was a packer at M. Gropper & Sons.

(click to enlarge)


(So maybe Meyer was Harry's father's name?)

While I'm at it, Gropper appears to have been (re)incorporated in 1923. From the NY Times, 10/4/23, under the headline of "New Incorporations", one of the listings is:

M. Gropper & Sons, Manhattan, toys and novelties, $50,000; H. and S. Gropper, B. Liebow. (Attorney, A. Brill, 299 Broadway)

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