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The History of Marbles
The early Greeks played various games with nuts. One of these, called Omilla, was very similar to the game of Ring Taw which is still played today. There are frequent references to marbles and marble type games played with nuts throughout Roman literature. Ovid describes various nut games in his poem 'The Walnut Tree'. It is probably fair to assume the Romans took this popular form of entertainment with them to all parts of their empire. Children playing marbles appear in Roman murals in Bath, England. Clay marbles have been found in a settlement influenced by Roman culture in North Western India dating from the second century AD.
From Clay to Glass Marbles
China and crockery marbles were introduced around 1800 and were produced in increasingly large quantities until the end of the century. By the middle of the 19th century German glass blowers had invented a tool to cut marble canes more easliy. These specially adapted shears meant that production became quick enough to make the sale of glass mables for the public an economic propostition. These marbles became increasingly popular throughout Europe and America. An enormous variety of colours was used and intricate patterns were created within the glass.