No one really knows when the game of marbles first began, or when the first marble was made. It is probably fair to say that in one form or another they have been around almost as long as mankind. We know that 'marbles' was played throughout Europe. There are mentions of the game in Shakespeare. The Czech educationalist Johan Comenski talks of them in his book of 1658 and they are seen in a painting by Pieter Bruegel. The earliest marbles were made of common stone, in some cases real marble and clay. Colored glass marbles are mentioned as early as the fifteenth century in German literature and were known to have been made in Venice and Bohemia at this time. It is assumed that these early glass marbles were not made commercially, but were made by glass workers for their own children at the end of the day.
China and crockery marbles were introduced around 1800 and were produced in increasingly large quantities until the end of the century. By the middle of the 19th century German glass blowers had invented a tool to cut marble canes more easily. These specially adapted shears meant that production became quick enough to make the sale of glass marbles for the public an economic proposition. These marbles became increasingly popular throughout Europe and America. An enormous variety of colors was issued and intricate patterns were created within the glass.
This wonderful "shooter" marble, circa 1880-1900, has a ribbon core swirl design, composed of white, blue and pink ribbons with narrow yellow bands and measures 1 3/4" in size. The condition is good or better with overall light scuffs and numerous bruises of various sizes; there are no cracks or deep chips. Original unpolished condition as found.