Sunday, 11 April 2010


A marble is a small spherical toy usually made from glass, clay, or agate. These balls vary in size. Most commonly, they are about ½ inch (1.25 cm) in diameter, but they may range from less than ¼ inch (0.635 cm) to over 3 inches (7.75 cm), while some art glass marbles for display purposes are over 12 inches (30 cm) wide. Marbles can be used for a variety of children's games, and are often collected, both for nostalgia and for their aesthetic colors.
Marbles are often mentioned in Roman literature, and there are many examples of marbles from ancient Egypt. They were commonly made of clay, stone or glass and commonly referred to as a "Glass alley".
Ceramic marbles entered inexpensive mass productionin the 1870s.
A German glassblower invented marble scissors in 1846, a device for making marbles.
The first mass produced toy marbles (clay) made in the US were made in Akron, Ohio by S.C Dyke in the early 1890s. The first US glass marbles were also made in Akron by James Harvey Leighton. In 1903, Martin Frederick Christensen of Akron, Ohio made the first machine made glass marbles on his patented machine. His company, The M.F. Christensen & Son Co. manufactured millions of toy and industrial glass marbles until they ceased operations in 1917. The next US company to enter the glass marble market was Akro Agate. This company was started by Akronites in 1911, but was located in Clarksburg West Virginia. Today, there are only two American based toy marble manufacturers: Jabo Vitro in Reno, Ohio and Marble King, in Paden City West Virginia.
One version of the game involves drawing a circle in sand, and players will take turns knocking other players' marbles out of the circle with their own marble. This game is called ringer. Other versions involve shooting marbles at target marbles or into holes in the ground (such as rolly or rolley hole). A larger-scale game of marbles might involve taking turns trying to hit an opponent's marble to win. A useful strategy is to throw a marble so that it lands in a protected, or difficult location if it should miss the target. As with many children's games, new rules are devised all the time, and each group is likely to have its own version, often customized to the environment. While the game of marbles was once ubiquitous and attracted widespread press to national tournaments, its popularity has dwindled in the television age.
World championship
The World Marbles Championships have been held at Tinsley Green
, West Sussex, England every year since 1932. (Marbles has been played in Tinsley Green and the surrounding area for many centuries:TIME magazine traces its origins to 1588.) Traditionally, the marbles-playing season started on Ash Wednesday and lasted until midday on Good Friday: playing after that brought bad luck. More than 20 teams from around the world take part in the championship, each Good Friday; German teams have been successful several times since 2000, although local teams from Crawley, Copthorne and other Sussex and Surrey villages often take part as well;3] the first championship in 1932 was won by a team from nearby Hookwood.