Marbles are small round balls that have been used as a toy since ancient times. They are usually made from glass, but can also be made from steel, clay, plastic and agate (a type of silica). The marbles can be used for a number of games that have the same name. Marble collecting is also a popular hobby and some rare marbles can be worth considerable money. There are many types of marbles, including many with unique colorations and internal decoration. There are about 12 million marbles produced every day. The largest manufacturer of marbles in the world is Vacor de Mexico, which produces about 90% of the marbles in the world. Let’s find out more about how marbles are made.
How are marbles made?
In the past most marbles were handmade, but today the majority of marbles are produced by machines. The handmade marbles were mostly made by grinding hard material (such as stone and ivory) or by making pottery, ceramic, clay or porcelain balls. Glass marbles were also made by hand and were made from glass rods which were cut by marble scissors!
Modern glass marble making has come a long way from the past. The process begins with large lumps of glass (often recycled) and rejected marbles. This is added into a kiln, which super heats the glass until it is molten. It also mixes the colors and this is how the manufacturer creates different colored marbles. The molten glass mixture is released from the kiln and it is cut into small pieces that will eventually become marbles. These small pieces of molten glass are placed on groves in spinning rolls or cast iron. They are then sorted by size and any marbles that are too big or small are rejected. You can see how this works in the first part of the video below.
Decorative marbles are still made by hand. It is an extremely complex process that requires a master glass worker to create the marble out of multiple layers of glass. You can watch this process in the second half of this video below.