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Marbles--small spherical toys used in games of dexterity and strategy--have been found in cultures of the ancient Egyptians, Romans, Chinese, Mayans, and North American natives. Made of clay, agate, flint, nuts, wood, ceramics, or glass, marbles seems to be a near-universal toy. Artisans handcrafted the first marbles, but, in the 1840s, a German glassblower designed scissors for snipping off small pieces from glass rods which were then rolled and polished into marbles. By the 20th century, marble-making machines in Europe and the USA produced glass marbles of affordable prices for all. On playgrounds, sidewalks, and vacant lots, kids learned intricate games of skill and chance like long taw, pile game, and spans and snops. Most Americans remember a time in grade school when the marble fad consumed much of their playtime and each child carried a prized pouch of favorite marbles.

  • Material: glass | Agate
  • Origin: Idar-Oberstein, Germany?
  • Object ID: 85.7853
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