Magic of Making - Glass Marbles

this is a marble shop where marbling is

a very serious business it's important

for a marble to be both round and

beautiful better still if you have

little colored bits in the middle but

have you ever wondered how the colors

got there and how a marble is actually

made well this man knows all about it

he's an expert glass blower and marble

maker he works here in the heat of the

Glass Works and people come from miles

around just to watch him in action

the glass is made by melting granules

mainly of sand the principal ingredient

the blowers oven uses an incredible heat

to reduce the mix to a liquid this is

definitely not the place for your Sunday

roast though because any food in here

would simply burst into flames and

evaporate and if you saw a glass blowers

gas bill you would understand why these

furnaces use masses of gas to make an

enormous amount of heat so it's not a

bad idea to close the oven door and save

some energy the marble maker is at his

glory hole this is the name of the glass

blowers gift they're warming hours he

begins by making a kind of colored glass



the melting furnace is ready with some

new molten glass the blowers assistant

uses his steel rod to gather up what

glass makers call a gob


marbles of wood or clay have been around

for thousands of years since the days of

the Egyptian pharaohs infection but

glass marbles are quite a new idea only

a few hundred years old watching them

being made has always been fun

perhaps because this is not the sort of

thing you can do at home the senior

blower is back at the glory hole he has

more glass on his rod and has been

warming it up

because glass blowers have to keep the

glass on their rods hot enough to fiddle

with and reshape


the blowers assistant has come off

furnace duty to health and the marble

makers have impaled the orb on another

steel rod called a Ponte


with great skill the glassblowers

stretch and twist the glass longer and

longer it gets until at last it looks

like a skipping rook

drops of cold water will shock the hot

glass and factor it

in the other corner of the workshop

another blower already has a piece of

the twisted glass on his rod


he takes it to the melting furnace for a

support more gathering


the VA is too lazy stalls a special cup

is relieved of a set of glass canes

spindles of color that will add to the

finished marbles glory

another vital detail a swirl in the

optic mold so much work just to make a

mob but everybody here agrees it'll be

well worth the effort


with a block mold made from graphite the

marble maker turns and shapes the end of

the glass rod into a bar that black

stuff is beeswax and it's a very

important lubricant for the blowers


a stroke with cold steel fractures the

glass so the mark wall can be broken

away the snapped end forms a lump called

to the nipple a marble with a nipple

would roll most erratically and so the

lump is flattened down under a jet of

burning gas


all that workers setup dangerous

stresses inside the glass but in the

annealing oven the marble is allowed to

cool off slowly releasing the stresses

without any danger of shattering outside

the heat of the workshop Rises into the

air through these magnificent old

chimneys and nearby the sound of

children playing rolling games that have

been handed down over a hundred

generations but for time being the only

rolling our lovely marble we'll see is

that of admiring eyeballs in the factory