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Marble Photo Filter Fun with Picasa

July 6th, 2014,

Among the many neat image processing filters in Picasa, the free photo organizing tool for Windows, is one called "HDR-ish" that I think brings out the essence of marbles. I applied the HDR-ish filter to this group photo (first upping the fade option on the filter), and I think the result really does capture the essence of each marble vividly while highlighting the best aspects of each marble's construction.
Group Photo of Marbles with HDR-ish filter close-up

You might disagree, but I recommend you try it--and other filters--on some of your own marble group photos. Here is the original full-sized group photo of these marbles and the full-sized HDR-ish version.

And of course for sheer novelty it is hard to beat inverted colors such as on this group photo of Peltier rainbos. Notice the lamp highlight now appears to be a black eye in the center of each marble.

Peltier Rainbo marbles with inverted colors


Morphy Auctions Marbles coming May 3rd

April 23rd, 2014,

Pink and White Opaque MarbleOnce again Morphy Auctions will be auctioning off hundreds of spectacular lots of vintage machine made and handmade marbles as well as some boxes and memorabilia.

The auction takes place at 9AM on May 3rd, 2014 in Denver, PA.

This time they are offering a digital PDF version of their excellent full-color catalogs (which I recommend you purchase). The PDF is nifty, but you will find much higher quality photos via their usual online catalog.


Historic Marbles Footage from British Pathé

April 20th, 2014,

When British Pathé uploaded its entire historic newsreel archive to YouTube this weekend, I confess that my first search was for marbles. With 85,000 films to search through, I knew I had a good chance to find footage new to me. Sure enough there were several and they did not disappoint.

My favorite so far is footage from 1938 of Headmaster George Briggs of Battle Ground Academy in Franklin, Tennessee, defeating students at marbles for the 10th year in a row.

You can visit the British Pathé YouTube archive and search to your heart's delight. Or if you just want to see search results in the archive for 'marbles' click here.


Alley Agate Book

April 14th, 2014,

Alley Agate BookLarry E. Alley III, grandson of L.E. Alley of the Alley Agate Co., tells me about his book which I have heard very good things about :

The book of 144 pages is about three generations of men by the name Lawrence Everett Alley, with a major emphasis on the elder member of the family, L. E. Alley, Sr.

Lawrence E. Alley, Sr. had a significant influence on the glass industry in West Virginia during his life. He made fine glassware, marbles and toy dishes. In addition to taking a glimpse into his personal life, this book chronicles his several attempts to start businesses during the time before the Great Depression and takes a detailed look at the products made by Alley Agate, his company that succeeded and still exists today with the name Marble King.

His son, by the same name, started his career as a partner in his father’s business, The Alley Agate Co. During World War II he also taught math in the St. Marys High School. He moved in 1948 with his family to Florida, and the company was sold. In Florida he owned the Clearwater Hardware Company for several years. Later he and his wife taught special education classes in the public schools. 

His grandson, Lawrence E. Alley, III, had a career as an electrical engineer, and is the author of this book. He left Florida to attend M. I. T. and stayed in Massachusetts to work for The Raytheon Company for 35 years. After retiring he worked at Bose in the home audio division. This section is more personal, as he reflects on how various events directed the path of his life.

You can order this important piece of history about the "Father of West Virginia Swirls" directly from Larry's website.


2014 Orange County Marble Show is March 15th

March 9th, 2014,

Orange County Marble ShowThe 8th Annual Orange County Marble Show will be held this Saturday, March 15th, at 9AM - 3PM at the Howard Johnson Hotel in Fullerton. This the only show of its kind in California.

More than 40 vendors will be selling vintage or contemporary marbles. Even if you do not collect vintage marbles there will be many unique glass arts and craft items that would make very special gifts.

Admission and parking is FREE and the weather looks to be sunny and gorgeous.

Howard Johnson Hotel
222 W. Houston Ave.
Fullerton, CA  92832
For room reservations, call (714) 626-7832


Marble Gallery

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Marble Trivia

According to a late 19th-century American newspaper ad, you could buy a 'flint' marble for 5 cents, a glass agate for 1 cent, a dozen Chinas for 5 cents, or two-dozen 'commons' for 5 cents.