People have been playing
marbles and marble-like games for thousands of years. It is thought
that marbles started with the cavepeople playing with small pebbles or
balls of natural clay. Clay balls have been found in the tombs of
Egypt, they have also been found in Native American burial grounds.
They have also been discovered in the ancient Aztec pyramids. So,
guys and gals have probably been enjoying some kind of marble-like pastimes.
In 1815 the earliest book on marbles was written in England, it said that marbles were made of china, clay, glass or even real marble. In 1848 a German glass blower invented the marble scissors (a mold to make marbles) that revolutionized the process of making marbles. In 1890 the first machine made marbles were made in Germany and later that year in the U.S.
In 1950 several super marble extravaganzas occurred. First, in Japan the cats eye marble was created by injecting colored glasses into the normal marble. Then in the U.S. people found out that if you bake your marbles before they cool you will get a crackled effect.
Perhaps the biggest event in marbles occurred in 1960 when Neil Armstrong (the first man on the moon) described the Earth out of his spaceship window as a ìBig blue marble.î
These days marbles can be made of all sorts of materials. Glass is the most popular. Clay marbles are made inexpensively but are not as accurate as glass marbles. Almost all marbles are machine made. Glass marbles are made by melting glass in a furnace and poured into molds, then colored glasses are injected into the molten marbles creating designs like cats eyes and comics. Now the molds with the molten marbles in them are cooled and voila' youíve got marbles with funky designs in them.
There has been a National Marbles Tournament since 1922, for many of those years it has been held in Wildwood, New Jersey. The group of guys and gals that compete in the tournament are fourteen years and younger with male and female divisions. The tournament is four days long. The National Marbles Tournamentís official game is Ringer a game that originated from one of the oldest marble games Ringtaw. Prizes include scholarships worth thousands and cash prizes. This June 1999 will be the seventy-sixth annual tournament.
For thousands of years marbles have proven themselves to be one of the worlds most popular, interesting and entertaining games.
Created by the North Rose Elementary ThinkQuest Junior Team