Who Invented Marbles?

By Cicely A. Richard

It is hard to determine who invented marbles because--like many games--incarnations of this activity has existed for centuries. Various cultures participated in games in which they played with tiny balls that resembled marbles. In the 19th century, though, men from around the world played a hand in inventing marble-making technology to mass-produce these balls.

Ancient Beginnings

Archeological evidence concludes that people have played marble games for centuries. Marbles have been found in such distinct areas of the world as Egyptian tombs, Native American burial grounds and Aztec pyramids.

1846

In 1846, a German glass blower named Elias Johann Christoph Simon Carl Greiner invented marble scissors, which was actually a mold that standardized the marble making process.

Samuel C. Dyke

In Ohio, Samuel C. Dyke modernized marble making when, in 1884, he invented machinery that could inexpensively mass produce marbles.

1891

Dyke founded The American Marble & Toy Manufacturing Company, becoming the largest toy company in the United States at that time. He inspired others to get into the business of marble making.

1905

In 1905, Martin Fredrick Christensen received a patent on a machine that increased the production of glass marbles to more than 10,000 a day.

1950

Japanese marble makers invented cat's eye marbles by infusing colored glass into clear glass.

About the Author

Based in Tucson, Ariz., Cicely A. Richard has been writing since 1996. Her articles have been published in the “Arizona Daily Star” newspaper and “ForeWord Magazine.” Richard earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in English and journalism from Louisiana State University. .