Jump to content

Whaddaya Know About ... Industrial Uses For Marbles?


Recommended Posts

just learned a new one for me ... hope I have it right:

clay marbles used for ballast, i.e. to steady ships, on the way from Germany to America, where then they would be sold as toys

making their transport cost little or nothing

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not sure of the facts behind the ballast story. Sounds rather fishy to me. Some were found in the holds of sunk ships and assumed they were ballast. Even though mixed with other goods. And why would anyone import that many of something that could easily been made locally. We are talking many millions to make a ships ballast. And something heavier than fired clay would have to be used as ballast. To little weight to space ratio. Peace,Galen

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The story I read refers to a time before they were easily made locally. Well, the first story I read mentions it vaguely, but then I looked for confirmation and landed at an Akronmarbles.com page about Sam Dyke's patents. (here)

Here's the quote at the head of that page:

Akron Daily Beacon

Akron, O., July 25, 1888 - 1:3


Yesterday afternoon in this city S.C. Dyke, at his factory on South Main Street, for the little toy jugs that have helped make Akron known in all parts of the country, made the first marbles ever made in America for market.

At some potteries in this vicinity, the men have sometime made some marbles for themselves or their little folks, but these made by Mr. Dyke yesterday was the first "brownies" or "commies" so far as known ever turned out for the trade in this country, the marbles American boys play with being made by hand in Germany and brought here for next to no freight as ballast by the ship. Mr. Dyke tried his marble molding machine devised by himself and on this trial trip turned out several bushels of marbles in two hours, working at a rate that promises complete success for this new venture. Glad of it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What is a back-flow preventer?

Is that a type of valve? ... that's the keyword I was searching on yesterday when I found the marble guns. :blink:

I felt sure I'd heard of marbles used as valves somewhere. But as I only have a vague idea of what a valve is ... well, ... I haven't been able to target my search very well. lol

Link to comment
Share on other sites

sort of like the marble in the bottle stoppers. Except using a spring instead of gravity. . And yes, they have been writing to sell stories for a long time. Remember the old adage only believe half what you read. Back to the weight to space ratio for ballast. Peace,Galen

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey, how 'bout razor sharpeners??

I know of 2 rag dolls that had sulphides sewn into the bodies as weights... That's kind of an industrial use, but for a toy.... unsure.gif

The eyes of the horses in the "The Flying Horses" carousel.... All the eyes are sulphides.... Sounds cool, but they are actually really creepy looking!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How about PUMP BALLS?

They were used in well casings as check valves.

My guess is: They fit into a leather or rubber seal. when the water was pumped up.

The ball rose to let it pass. then settled back onto the seal trapping it in the casing.

when the casing was replaced with a more modern valve.

The glass pump balls were smashed with another pipe & let to sink into the well it's self

I have 2, one is 2 13/16" for a 3 in. pipe? transparent red & amber,

the other is 1 15/16".for a 2 in pipe? clear with a

transparent brown swirl thruthe center, like a twister

both look to be hand gathered.

I haven't seen or heard of anyone else having one?

I'd like to seem them if they're out there>

If I ever figure out where to store my pics I would take some photos

& let you look at them.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'll have to!

Thanks for the lead!

Valves are a mechanical notion I have a bit of a mental block over. :-)

Hmmm ... here's a patent from 1854 for a pump ball valve. I think this one is metal. The ball valve is labelled F in the figure. (there are large size pix of the whole thing at the patent office ... the small ones were the only ones I could do a screen capture with.)

That's probably as far as my research is going to get today ...

post-279-1204916461_thumb.jpg post-279-1204916140_thumb.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guess what! According to one of their ads, M.F. Christensen made



When I noticed that you said yours look hand gathered I immediately thought of MFC, but I discounted that because I'd just read the Cohill book and "pump valve" wasn't ringing a bell. But sure enough, there it is. VERY :cool sign: !

Btw, if furniture casters are hand-gathered, they're MFC's too. (or should I say "are most likely MFC too"? ... I'll doublecheck the text on that. There's no index so it may take me a bit to find it.)

late update: akro advertising in 1929 claimed they made them too. (pump balls and furniture casters both) still am not sure about the hand-gathered reference. :-)

Edited by modularforms
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...