Thursday, May 5, 2011

How Did Marbles Get Their Name?

I thought this would be interesting.. I love to play marbles as a child and I still do as an adult.. How many of your kids play or do you play marbles? Here is a little something to read..
How Did Marbles Get Their Name?thumbnail
How Did Marbles Get Their Name?
Children and adults have played marble games--or similar games--for hundreds of years. Even today, marbles are popular in many countries. Marble games range from simple ones for young children to more complicated games played by adults in tournaments.
  1. History

    • Clay balls were found in tombs of Native Americans, Aztecs and Egyptians. Ancient Greek and Roman literature contain references to games similar to marbles. The games were played with bones, acorns, nuts or olives. The earliest handmade marbles were formed of clay that was dried or baked, in addition to carved flint or stone. As marbles became more popular, they were made of wood, porcelain, marble stone, glass and steel.


    • Ceramic marbles are available in several colors and sizes.
      Marble stone was used to make the small balls in the late 1600s in Germany, and people in England began to call them "marbles." Before that marbles were called "knickers" from the Dutch game knikkers, or "bowls" from the French word "bille," which means "little ball."

    Mass Production

    • Marbles were made by hand until the late 1800s, when the first machine made marbles were produced in Germany. In 1884, Samuel Dyke started a factory in Akron, Ohio, to mass-produce clay marbles. The factory later produced glass marbles. The factory shipped out one million marbles a day--enough to fill five railroad cars. The price of marbles dropped significantly and children could afford to buy their own marbles, ensuring the popularity and spread of the game.


    • Ancient clay marbles were rolled by hand and dried in the sun or over hot coals. In later years, blue or brown crockery marbles were made from clay balls that were glazed and fired. When mass production began, manufacturers added dye to clay marbles or painted them. Glass and porcelain marbles became popular in the mid-1800s.
      An aggie is a marble made of agate or glass that looks like agate. "Alley" is short for "alabaster" and refers to marbles made of marble stone. Most marbles are made of glass now.


    • Marbles come in an array of bright colors.
      There are many variations of marble games, but all fall into one of three categories. In a hole-type game, players shoot their marbles into a series of holes. Players shoot at each other in a marked-off area in an enclosure-type game. In a chase-type game, two or more players shoot at each other on a defined course.

Read more: How Did Marbles Get Their Name? |


  1. I loved playing marbles with my brothers! We would run out to the middle of the road (obviously there was no traffic at the time). We would draw a circle in the dirt and shoot marbles for keeps. Wow. Thanks for the memory. I've forgotten; are the really big marbles called loggers?

  2. Hi Loretta thanks for stopping by.. I played a lot at school neighbor kids.. I don't remember the big ones called loggers?? We use ball bearings and tiger eyes... Have a great day..
    God Bless