Marbles that is. Haven’t come across them for a long time, but there they were, preserved in a bowl! I’ve got to admit, I didn’t really know how to truly follow this game. I think as a group of local kids, we made up our own rules on how to play the game. But to be quite honest, I used to spend more time marveling at the color and intricacy of each marble and wondered how the colors got inside. So of course, now that I have been re-acquainted with my marbles (as if I would have ever lost them), I checked out Wikipedia and discovered when it comes to the design of a marble, there’s more to it than meets the eye. For example some of the different varieties are called:
- Toothpaste – Also known as Plainsies in Canada. These have wavy streaks usually with red, blue, black, white, or orange.
- Ade – has strands of opaque white and color, making lemon-ade, lime-ade, orange-ade, etc.
- Onionskin – marbles are antique, handmade German with a swirl, with many closely packed surface streaks.
- Cat’s Eye looks exactly like that, with one central eye-shaped colored insert or core (injected inside the marble).
So how are marbles actually made? Well, they can be fashioned through glass rods stacked together to form a particular pattern; cutting the rod into marble-sized pieces using special scissors, and rounding the glass into the desired shape. Color is added to the main batch glass and/or to additional glass streams that are combined with the main stream in a variety of ways. For example, in the “cat’s-eye” style, colored glass veins are injected into a transparent main stream. Applying more expensive colored glass to the surface of cheaper transparent or white glass is also a common technique. For more information check out Wikipedia for Marbles. It’s marble-ous!
For further examples of glass, see my Decorative Arts – Glass category.