Alley Agate Book

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.

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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.