interest in marbles began as a
Marble playing was a springtime tradition in our Vermont school (at
time--about 1970--the school was one building with grades 1-12).
We only played in the snow! Marble season corresponded with what
was--and is--called Mud Season in New England. The subsurface
was frozen and there was at least some snow, but the air was above
making it possible to hold a marble in one's bare hand. The warm
air also made the snow soft and packable to give a nice slick surface
the marbles. The best place to play was the dirt parking lot on
the snow was kept well packed by cars and plows. The ruts and
just made it more interesting! The game we played was a variation
on Conquerors, I think. We just called it playing marbles.
It was the only marble game we had. The first player would toss
marble out onto the snow and the othe player would try to hit it from
spot the first stood. If the second player missed his/her marble
was left where it landed and the first player would shoot at the
marble from where his/hers had landed. They continued taking
in this manner until one hit the other's marble. The winner kept
the marble he/she hit. We didn't have fancy "thumb" techniques
shooting, we just used underhand tosses. When the snow melted
Season was over (though Mud Season continued for a while longer)!
Sometimes we tried to play in the dirt, but it just wasn't the
I won more than I lost and by the time I "outgrew" playing I had about
800 marbles. I kept them and even scrounged out all the strays I
could find when my father sold the house (after I was
I also took the handmade Chinese Checker board my grandmother made when
my older siblings were young. It is one of my most prized
only because it is marble-related!
I did not
""officially" become a
until my daughter
was 3, although when I married and all my new relations asked "what do
you collect?" I would reply, "Nothing, but I do have a lot of
My daughter was fascinated by my marbles from infancy and when she was
old enough I thought it would be a fun hobby to share with her.
We enjoyed this hobby together for many years.
was just beginning to learn
marbles at the
beginning of my "official" collecting I got on the internet for the
time in my life. I found a website run by Bob Block and was
the size and organization of the hobby. I had had no idea that
were clubs, shows, and tournaments! I also had no idea that there
could be so many potential pitfalls for a novice: fakes, cheats,
honest mistakes, reproductions! AHHH!!!! I almost packed my
marbles away and stuffed them in the attic! But...I saw
to marble making using beadmaking techniques. I knew someone who
made beads--it couldn't be very hard. I went to the library and
Making Glass Beads by Cindy Jenkins. I read it. I could feel
the glass when I read her instructions even though I had never even
a rod of glass, much less heated and melted one. I understood
every technique she described perfectly. I dreamed about working
glass. I had to try this. Never mind that that our car died
and we had to buy a new one. I HAD to try this! I
online supply companies (after finding that there were no local
and asked questions, and made a list of what I would need. Then I
bought it. The biggest frivolous expense of my frugal life!
years I made marbles for
family and friends,
and to sell. I made many bad ones at first--lumpy, cracked, poor
and poor designs before I developed the coordination, skill, and "eye"
to make the marbles I wanted, but it was fascinating right from the
Check my link
list at right for websites and
storefronts that deal with marbles.